The Kavanaugh Court and the Environment

A new appointment would make Justice Kavanaugh the swing voter.  Here’s what that would mean for environmental law.

A new appointment by Trump would shift the Supreme Court well to the right, making Brett Kavanaugh the swing voter in many cases. Kavanaugh has clear views about the powers of agencies like EPA. With him as the swing voter, the main strategy used by Obama to make environmental progress would be off limits for …

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Battle for the Senate: Alabama

Losing this seat would make it much harder to build a pro-environmental majority.

By all accounts, Doug Jones is the most endangered incumbent Democratic Senators. He won in something of a fluke in a special election, after reports surfaced that his opponent had stalked teenage girls. Now he faces a tough reelection battle. If he loses, it becomes that much more difficult to slip enough seats for a …

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Large-scale carbon removal: How do we phase out big industries?

While we're designing policy for scaling up carbon removal, we should think about the eventual need to ramp it down.

Authored with Edward A. Parson Just a few years ago, carbon removal wasn’t seen as something that could be realistically scaled, observed Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).  “It is now becoming clear that technologies to permanently remove carbon dioxide from the air and the ocean are not only real, but they are needed and they are …

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California House Races and the Environment

Control of the House isn't in play, but some California seats are up for grabs.

Control of the U.S. House doesn’t seem to be in play this year, but there are a lot of individual districts across the country that could flip.  Cook Political lists 28 toss-up races and another 28 that lean one way or the other but are still competitive.  Obviously, I’m not going to try to talk …

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“Knocking on Our Door”: Wildfires Threaten Mt. Wilson Observatory and San Gabriel Foothill Communities

Mt. Wilson Observatory tweet

On Sept. 15, Angeles National Forest reported the Bobcat Fire was within 500 ft. of historic observatory in San Gabriel Mountains

The Bobcat fire blazing in the San Gabriel Mountains is threatening lives and homes, forcing evacuation of communities in foothills clogged with acres of brush dried out by the hottest August ever recorded in California. For flatland Angelenos like me, the fires are both omnipresent and distant, sensed only by the hazy skies and smell …

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How can California make water data work for decision makers?

by Alida Cantor and Michael Kiparsky

California produces immense amounts of water-related data.  Yet, California also struggles to adapt its water systems to pressures such as climate change and population growth. To meet these challenges in an informed way, decision makers need data that supports their needs. In 2018, spurred by the Open and Transparent Water Data Act of 2016 (AB …

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Battle for the Senate: Iowa

The Iowa race features two candidates with very different views about climate change.

The Senate race in Iowa pits incumbent Joni Ernst against Democrat Theresa Greenfield.  Climate change is the area where the two contrast most strongly. Greenfield accepts the science and calls for action. Ernst is still in the “maybe it relates to a little bit to humans” phase of climate denial. She also says she’s “so …

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When Republicans Supported the Environment: Bush 41

The GOP wasn’t always the sworn enemy of environmental protection.

Younger people today probably know about George Herbert Walker Bush (R) as the father of George W. Bush and (perhaps) as the architect of the first Iraq War. But he also had some notable environmental achievements to his credit. Here are some of his accomplishments: Air Pollution Law. The 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments were …

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California’s Burning. What’s the Link to Climate Change?

Dark orange skies above San Francisco, at 10am on Sept. 9 2020

Answering your denialist friends

It’s a hard day to work in California, what with all the burning.  Those closest to the fires and smoke are evacuating (or being rescued), or are among the brave men and women fighting in inferno-like conditions to increase fire containment.  But even those of us far away and physically safe from the fires are …

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Rebuilding Environmental Protection

It will take years to fully recover from the damage of the Trump era. We will need some new ideas.

After almost four years of Trump, federal environmental protection is in about the same shape as Western Europe at the end of World War II, filled with bomb craters and destruction.  If the election turns out in Biden’s favor, he will be faced with the task of rebuilding from the smoking ruins. Here are some …

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