China’s Distinctive Approach to Emissions Trading

It’s getting harder for the U.S. to use Chinese inaction as an excuse.

China’s emissions trading program is slowly forward toward implementation.   It’s by no means a perfect program, but it should result in significant emissions reductions. The Chinese program has some features that make it less cost-effective. Nonetheless, researchers at RFF concluded that the climate benefits will be three times the cost of emission reductions. They didn’t …

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The Kudlow Inversion

Trump's key advisor on the economy, the coronavirus, and regulation, with a gift for getting everything wrong.

“Only the best people,” Trump said. Let’s talk about his chief economic advisor, Larry Kudlow. Kudlow seems to live in an inverted, upside-down world. He somehow manages to be wrong about everything — wrong about the economy, wrong about deregulation, wrong about climate change, wrong about the coronavirus. A full sweep, in other words. It’s …

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Members of Congress Oppose Trump Administration’s Attempt to Revoke California’s Clean Car Standards

UCLA Law’s Frank G. Wells Environmental Law Clinic files a brief on behalf of 147 members of Congress in the D.C. Circuit

California has long led the fight against pollution from passenger vehicles, setting its first car emissions standards in 1966 before federal rules were established. After the Clean Air Act was passed in 1970, California retained authority to establish a series of more stringent vehicle emissions rules—with the most recent iteration of greenhouse gas emissions standards …

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Yes, It’s That Time of Year Again

If you read Legal Planet, you know why the work we do matters.

Like everyone else, I’m sure you find fundraising appeals annoying. That’s why we only do them twice a year.  But there couldn’t be a more important time for the work we do, given the urgency of the climate crisis and the ongoing policy disaster in D.C. Yes, we’re in the middle of a pandemic and …

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Fighting to Preserve California Vehicle Emission Standards

Ted Lamm and Sean Hecht Co-Author Amicus Brief on Behalf of National Parks Groups

Last week, Sean Hecht and I filed an amicus brief with the DC Circuit in the legal challenge to the Trump Administration’s attempt to eliminate California’s authority to apply its own automobile emission standards under the Clean Air Act. (We filed the brief in our individual capacities and not on behalf of our respective institutions.) …

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July Fourth at Mt. Rushmore: What about the “unalienable rights” of the Lakota?

In the limbo game of the 45th presidency: no matter how far the bar descends, Trump clears it by going under. Just two weeks after political furor over a planned Juneteenth support rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma—site of the 1921 Race Massacre, in which white mobs killed up to 300 Black people in 48 hours, and …

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California Appellate Court Upholds Water Board’s Broad Drought Response Authority

Court of Appeal Rejects Water Users' Legal Challenge to Board's Emergency Regulations, Temporary Curtailment Orders

California’s Court of Appeal for the Third Appellate District recently upheld the State Water Resources Control Board’s temporary emergency drought response regulations–enacted in 2014-15–as well as related curtailment orders the Board issued to specific water users to implement those regulations.  In doing so, the Water Board rejected a legal challenge agricultural water users brought against …

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Jefferson’s Bridge

Anticipating modern environmental views, Jefferson viewed nature as a public trust.

Saturday being the Fourth of July, it seems appropriate to think about how the author of the Declaration of Independence felt about nature. A revealing example involves some land Jefferson owned between Lexington and Roanoke, which he sought to preserve. Two years before the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson purchased 157 acres of land  from the …

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California’s Spiking Coronavirus Cases

Clearly, it's not just increased testing. We have a real problem.

The number of reported COVID-19 cases in California has risen dramatically.  What’s going on, and what should be done about it? The situation has changed so rapidly that I’ve had to rewrite this story repeatedly since I began work on it last week. Early Last Week When I started work on the story a week …

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The Danger of Climate Change Deadlines

deadline, by geralt at pixabay

Essential targets set by some of the world's leading climate scientists and policymakers just passed. Now what?

Seven prominent figures in the global climate change policy discourse published an opinion essay in Nature. In “Three years to safeguard our climate,” they set a deadline for key targets to be met in order to stay on track to meet the Paris Agreement’s global warming goals. The notable thing is that the essay was …

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