BP’s Surprising Pivot

An oil giant decides to face the future instead of fighting it.

With all that’s going on, it’s easy to miss what would in normal times be major news. On Tuesday, BP announced it was beginning to turn away from the oil business. The most significant thing may be this: BP stock rose after the announcement. BP has already sold its petrochemical business. It also announced that …

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The Whipsaw Effect

Get ready for a rough ride, with sudden weather reversals and climate shifts.

Steady predictable changes in climate and weather would be easier to adapt to.  Instead, we may well see some very sudden shifts, both in terms of short-term weather and longer-term climate regimes.

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When does a groundwater recharge project NOT need a water right?

Shows rainwater dripping off the edge of a roof

by Kate Fritz and Nell Green Nylen

Groundwater recharge projects already play an important role in California. That role is about to expand rapidly, as local groundwater managers begin to take more concrete actions to meet their responsibilities under California’s landmark Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). As we mentioned in our last post, an important part of developing a successful recharge project …

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Election 2020: Three Months till Election Day

The environmental are high: Trump has axed one regulation every two weeks for four years.

Since taking office, Trump has waffled on some issues and shuffled personnel, but on one thing he has held firm: eradicating legal protection of the environment.  His motto seems to be: No Regulation Left Standing. Something to keep in mind, as we head toward Election Day.  That’s three months away, but some states begin early …

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Election 2020: Update on the Senate

Senate control will matter a lot, regardless of who’s in the White House.

Control of the Senate will determine the environmental views of new judges and whether any environmental legislation can pass.  In August, I’ll start looking at the environmental stakes in specific Senate races. Here’s why Senate control is so important and where things stand right now. Basically, the question is whether Mitch McConnell retains his grip …

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Planning a Green Recovery

Don’t let the opportunity for a green stimulus go to waste.

The economy crashed during the lockdown. Although a recovery has begun,  government action will probably be needed to sustain it. We should seize this opportunity to make progress on sustainability. It’s hard to know the long-term economic impact of the pandemic. As Nobel-prize winning economist Robert Schiller has said, “Big events like a pandemic have …

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The Mystery of McConnell’s Litigation Shield

Why is he investing so much in something so draconian and so unnecessary?

As part of their proposed stimulus package, Senators John Cornyn and Mitch McConnell introduced a bill that gives almost complete immunity protection to businesses that fail to take precautions against the coronavirus. It’s called the “Safe to Work Act,” but really should be called the “Work at Your Own Risk Act.” McConnell says he won’t …

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Water right permitting options for groundwater recharge: Avoiding unintended consequences

by Kate Fritz and Nell Green Nylen

Efforts to boost groundwater recharge are critical to making California’s limited, and increasingly volatile, water resources go further. Recharge is playing a growing role in maintaining groundwater as an effective drought reserve and in slowing or reversing the effects of years of unsustainable groundwater pumping. But implementing recharge projects is not easy. Water managers face …

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Election 2020: State Legislatures

The Outlook for State Climate Policy Might Improve

The key political races aren’t just about the White House or Congress.  Control of state legislatures will also be important in shaping climate and energy policy — not to mention their ultimate effect on the composition of the U.S. House due to redistricting. One of my themes is the importance of state government to climate …

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Guest Blogger John Graham: California Court Decision Will Affect Future Use of Carbon Offsets to Mitigate Emissions of Development

Aerial view in San Diego, California, looking roughly north toward San Diego State University.

The California Court of Appeal Rules San Diego County’s Climate Action Plan Violates CEQA

The challenge to San Diego County’s Climate Action Plan (“CAP”) in Golden Door has been closely watched by many interested in the use of carbon offsets to mitigate GHG impacts in California. Simply put, carbon offsets are mechanisms that reflect off-site GHG reductions—from activities like reforestation—that can, in some cases, compensate for a project’s GHG …

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