The Governance of Solar Geoengineering Managing: Climate Change in the Anthropocene

My book is now available!

I interrupt my ongoing blog series on new biotechnologies and their governance (1, 2, 3) to announce that my book The Governance of Solar Geoengineering Managing: Climate Change in the Anthropocene is available today from Cambridge University Press. The brief description is: Climate change is among the world’s most important problems, and solutions based on […]

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EPA’s Magic Disappearance Trick

The Trump EPA has come up with a way to hide hundreds of deaths in plain view.

According to press reports, EPA is preparing to ignore possible deaths caused by concentrations of pollutants occurring below the national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS). This is a key issue in a lot of decisions about pollution reduction.  For instance, there is no NAAQS for mercury, but pollution controls on mercury would, as a side […]

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Genetically Modifying Wild Populations

Gene drive inheritance. Image from the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine.

The third in a series examines powerful new gene drive tools

In my previous two posts, I introduced what I call first, second, and third generation genetically modified organisms: (1) GM bacteria for diverse, mostly indoor purposes; (2) GM crops and agricultural animals; and (3) GMOs that would be intentionally placed into natural environments, where they would live, reproduce, and transmit their modified genes to offspring. […]

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Getting to 2050

A roadmap for achieving an 80% emissions cut.

To do its part in keeping climate change to tolerable levels, the United States needs to cut its carbon emissions at least 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.  That’s not just a matter of decarbonizing the electricity sector; it means changes in everything from aviation to steel manufacture, and reducing not only CO2 but also […]

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Sen. Portantino Spikes California’s Critical Housing & Climate Legislation

Will Gov. Newsom and Sen. Atkins Rescue SB 50?

California faces a dual crisis: a massive housing shortage leading to displacement and spiraling economic inequality; and an increase in driving miles and related greenhouse gas emissions which threaten to undermine the state’s progress achieving its climate goals. Both of these crises were solidly addressed in Sen. Scott Wiener’s SB 50, which seeks to ease […]

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California Housing Reform Goes Into Suspended Animation

NIMBYs Win A Battle, But Trench Warfare Continues

  The NIMBYs have won a battle: A high-profile bill that would have increased home building near mass transit and in single-family home neighborhoods across California has been killed for the year, ending a major battle over how to address the state’s housing affordability crisis that has attracted attention nationwide. Senate Bill 50 by Sen. […]

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U.S. Supreme Court Declines to Revive Challenge to Oregon Clean Fuels Program

Legal Challenges to Oregon & California Vehicle Fuel Carbon-Intensity Standards Close to the End of the Line, Clearing Path Forward to Transformative Reductions in Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Transportation Sector

This past Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court denied review of a federal appeals court decision upholding the legality of Oregon’s Clean Fuels Program. That decision finally frees Oregon’s program from uncertainty from what was seen as a significant legal challenge. The program, modeled after the similar California Low Carbon Fuel Standard developed by the California […]

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Phase Changes in Public Opinion

Public opinion on an issue like climate change can sometimes flip quickly. Here’s why.

You might think that the public’s view of an issue – climate change for instance – would evolve continuously as events occur and information becomes available. That often may be the case, but sometimes public opinion can change relatively quickly. A prime example is the legitimacy of same-sex marriage, which went from being a weird, […]

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In Defense of Live Carbon

Why Stopping Deforestation May be the Hardest and Most Important Part of the Climate Change Challenge

When contemplating the enormous challenge of global climate change, it is sometimes helpful to think about a simple model of the global carbon budget (see figure below).  These admittedly reductionist schematics distinguish between sources, sinks, and reservoirs.  Fossil hydrocarbons from the geological reservoir–call this dead carbon—are extracted and burned to generate energy, emitting vast amounts […]

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Could Genetically Modified Organisms Help Conserve Biodiversity?

Oxitec GM mosquitoes are released in the Cayman Islands. Photo by Taneos Ramsay of the Cayman Compass.

The second in a series examines GMOs intentionally released into the wild

Last week, I introduced what I call “first generation” genetically modified organisms (GMOs) – altered bacteria for diverse, mostly indoor purposes – and “second generation” ones – GM crops and agricultural animals. Here, I describe third generation GMOs, which are those that would be intentionally placed into natural environments, where they would live, reproduce, and […]

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