Since the Industrial Revolution, growth in human numbers and economic activity has dramatically transformed our planet. Rapid economic development has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty and raised the standard of living and life expectancies of many more, but these forms of growth have also deeply eroded the natural capital embodied in […]
Has California climate policy succeeded? Yes, but it’s complicated.
California’s climate policy have been a success, but quantifying the effects is complicated. It’s harder than it might seem to determine whether a climate regulation has succeeded. California has clearly hit or exceeded its target for overall carbon emissions reductions under its method of carbon accounting. But if we ask how much global emissions are […]
The story behind a recent news article reveals how activist groups—with the media’s help—cause misleading and false assertions to arise, persist, and spread.
Much of my work concerns solar geoengineering, a set of proposals to block or reflect a small portion of incoming sunlight in order to reduce global warming. Unfortunately, the discourse is rife with specious, misrepresented, and outright false statements – many of which are consistent with intuition – that are repeated until they acquire a […]
Fix the City’s new lawsuit challenges a key transit-oriented housing program
Last week, a Los Angeles slow-growth group, Fix the City, filed a lawsuit challenging a West Los Angeles development project on Santa Monica Boulevard. The project, a seven-story, 120-unit apartment building less than half a mile from the Century City mall, was approved using density bonus, height, and setback incentives through the City of Los […]
India’s legal moves on water put Pakistan on edge
A month after India’s move to exert more direct control over Jammu & Kashmir, the Indian state that occupies part of the larger Kashmir region, the country is also now in a position to exert control – in both illegal and legal ways – over important river waters that Pakistan relies upon to sustain people […]
Join my KALW radio conversation tonight with newly appointed High Speed Rail Authority board chair Lenny Mendonca at 7pm
The future of California’s high speed rail system has arguably never been as perilous as now. Otherwise-supportive legislators are now openly mulling raiding high speed rail funds meant to complete the first leg in the Central Valley for rail improvements in the more densely populated parts of California, namely the San Francisco Bay Area and […]
Is there any legal basis for the Trump Administration’s actions?
Prompting rage by President Trump, California and several carmakers entered a voluntary agreement on carbon emissions from new cars that blew past the Administration’s efforts to repeal existing federal requirements. Last week, the Trump Administration slapped back at California. Although there’s been a lot of editorializing about that response, I’ve seen very little about the […]
Threatening letter, investigation in addition to waiver revocation
Today in the Trump spite wars against California and the four auto manufacturers, we learn that the threat to revoke California’s waiver was only the first salvo from the administration. As I blogged last night, the Administration is considering revoking California’s federal waiver to issue pollution standards for cars without simultaneously rolling back tough auto […]
Move Motivated by Spite, Not by Policy Considerations
A White House official today confirmed to Politico that the Administration is considering revoking California’s permission (called a “waiver”) to set its own greenhouse gas emissions and zero emission standards for cars and light trucks. Rumors are that the waiver revocation could happen as early as tomorrow. The news in this announcement is that the […]
The regulatory process can take forever. Here are some possible responses.
Some years ago, Tom McGarity coined the phrase “regulatory ossification” to describe the increasingly slow and cumbersome regulatory system. Since then, the situation has only gotten worse. As a recent article by Bethany Davis Noll and Richard Revesz points out, significant regulations take an average of four years to issue, and judicial review adds another […]
If it’s Trump, we’ll see more of the same. But what if a Democrat wins?
Under executive orders dating back to Reagan, regulatory agencies like EPA are supposed to follow cost-benefit analysis in making decisions. Under the Trump Administration, however, cost-benefit analysis has barely even served as window-dressing for its deregulatory actions. It has launched a series of efforts to prevent full counting of regulatory benefits, as well as committing […]