Udall and Lowenthal Lead Charge to Break Free From Plastic Pollution

The Senator and Representative introduce bold new federal plastics legislation

Last week, Senator Udall (D-NM) and Representative Lowenthal (D-CA), joined by Senator Merkley (D-OR) and Representative Clark (D-MA), announced that they were introducing federal legislation to combat the plastic pollution crisis.  The Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act will go beyond past Congressional efforts to address plastic pollution, such as the Save Our Seas Act, …

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Lessons of the Little Ice Age

What can we learn from the climate disruptions of the previous millennium?

The Little Ice Age wasn’t actually an ice age, but it was a period of markedly colder temperatures that began in the 1200s and lasted into the mid-1800s, with the 1600s a particular low point. It was a time when London winter fairs were regularly held on the middle of a frozen Thames river, glaciers …

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Valentine’s Day and Climate Change

Global warming will change much of our everyday lives. Even Feb. 14.

How is climate change connected with Valentine’s Day?  In many ways, as it turns out. That’s an indication of the myriad ways in which climate is entangled with our lives.  Whether it’s roses and chocolate, or courtship, nothing will remain quite the same as global temperatures go up and up. What about climate change and …

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Tracing Trump’s Trillion Trees

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The president's embrace of massive tree planting has a remarkable -- and questionable -- backstory

During last week’s State of the Union address, US President Donald Trump said: To protect the environment, days ago I announced that the United States will join the One Trillion Trees Initiative, an ambitious effort to bring together government and private sector to plant new trees in America and all around the world. Astute regular …

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Bold But Realistic Climate Actions

Here’s what a new President could actually do.

What options are available to a new President taking office in 2021?  Let’s assume a favorable scenario for climate action in which Dems take unified control of the government (White House, Senate, House) in 2021.  What then? The first theme to keep in mind is that the Democrats will still be subject to some significant …

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From the Grand Canyon to Contaminated Cantaloupes – and More

Five books with fresh perspectives on environmental issues.

Law reviews make little effort to track new books, unlike other journals in other disciplines . So it’s pretty much hit-or-miss whether you learn about relevant new books.  I wanted to share some interesting finds that have crossed my desk, joined a growing pile of unread books, and then slowly left the pile. The subjects …

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New Roadmaps for Negative Emissions

Two reports try to figure out how to scale carbon removal

Last week saw two exciting reports released which examine how to remove carbon at scale. Getting to Neutral: Options for Negative Carbon Emissions in California was led by a team from Lawrence Livermore National Labs (LNLL), and assesses pathways for California to remove 125 million tons of CO2 /year from the air by 2045, in …

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Election 2020: The Battle for the Senate

Whatever happens to the White House, control of the Senate will be crucial.

It’s natural that the Presidential election has soaked up all the attention.   But control of the Senate may be equally important — some might say even more important. If a Democrat wins in 2020, there will be little or no chance of passing significant legislation without control of Congress.  It seems very likely that the …

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Substantive Due Process, Climate Change, and Flint, Michigan

Toward substantive constitutional protections for the environment

The past few weeks have been eventful for environmental issues and constitutional law. On January 17th, a panel for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals threw out Juliana v. United States climate litigation for lack of standing. A few days later, the U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari on a ruling from the Sixth Circuit, Guertin …

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Charging Consumers for Imaginary Power Needs

FERC is distorting energy markets in the name of perfect competition.

Last year, the GOP majority on FERC decided that state clean energy policies were distorting energy markets in the country’s largest grid region.  Because they provided incentives for power producers, FERC ruled, those policies should be considered subsidies. It directed grid operators to introduce new policies to counter those subsidies and halt the dreadful onslaught …

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