Principles of Climate Governance

We need to address the procedures and structures for climate policymaking.

There’s a lot of discussion about the substance of climate policy today.  That’s obviously critical, but we also need to think about the procedural and institutional issues involved in making climate policy.  For instance, we need to think about how to divide authority between the states and the federal government.  I thought it would be […]

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A Letter to My Fellow Boomers About Climate Change

We have met the enemy and he is us.

Polls show that a great many members of our generation oppose taking action against climate change.  I want to try to explain to that group why you should rethink your views.  Let me start by explaining why climate action would benefit you yourself and then widen the focus to include your grandchildren and their kids. […]

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Trump Administration Attempts to Eviscerate the Endangered Species Act

Rather Than “Improve” ESA, Newly-Adopted Regulations Dramatically Erode Its Historic Protections

The Endangered Species Act, enacted in 1973, has for most of its history been the most controversial and politically-charged of all the foundational environmental laws adopted by Congress in the 1970’s.  But despite its contentious history, opponents of the ESA have been unsuccessful in their efforts to weaken the law, either through significant Congressional amendments […]

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The LA County Sustainability Plan

An innovative approach to ambitious goals

Last week, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the LA Countywide Sustainability Plan. Along with my colleagues Sean Hecht and Nat Logar and other faculty across UCLA, I assisted in the drafting process and witnessed the shaping of the Plan from the ground up. The final Plan provides a best practices model […]

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Elections Matter – Even More Than You Thought.

Three ultra-close elections put us a dozen years behind in climate policy.

I don’t know about you, but I’m finding it hard to keep focused on November 3, 2020, given the confusing welter of candidates on one side and the daily bombshells issuing from the other.  So maybe this is a good time for a reminder of a why elections matter.  In fact, they not only matter, […]

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Risky Business

Risky Business

Last week, the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis issued a report criticizing BlackRock, the world’s largest fund, for making bad bets on the fossil fuel industry that cost the firm billions of dollars.  What I found significant was less the plight of Blackstone’s shareholders than the fact that the energy firms weren’t doing […]

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Get Ready for Phase 2 of the Deregulation Wars

Air quality standards are next on the chopping block.

The first phase of Trump’s regulatory rollbacks has been directed against Obama’s climate change regulations.  Those deregulatory actions will be finalized soon.  What happens next will be in the hands of the courts. But the Trump EPA is now beginning a new phase in its attack on environmental regulation.  Having tried to eliminate climate rregulation, […]

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Perfection – Public Enemy Number One, or Straw Man?

We don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Is that always a good thing?

“Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” How many times do you think you have heard that phrase? Many people attribute the concept to Voltaire, so as advice goes, how bad could it be? It’s darn good advice in many situations – such as selecting a checkout line to stand in at […]

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The Expanding Gap Between Business and Trump

Big business was happily married to the GOP. But there’s trouble in paradise.

The GOP used to be synonymous with big business.  But there seem to be growing divisions – divisions that may open the way to new environmental initiatives. In April, the Washington Post ran a story about the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s decision to loosen its ties to the GOP and move toward a more bipartisan […]

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The Flight of the Bumblebee

The Trump Administration loses an environmental case. Again.

Last Friday, the Fourth Circuit halted efforts to build a natural gas pipeline because the Administration had done such a lousy job of showing its compliance with the Endangered Species Act. This was one of the Administration’s many losses in court. The case involved a perfect example of “arbitrary and capricious” decision making, to use […]

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ACE or Joker? Trump’s Self-Defeating Climate Rule

The ACE rule adds costs, achieves little, and disempowers the states. Nice job.

The Trump ACE rule violates all the Administration’s own deregulatory principles.To hear Trump talk, the point of deregulation is to reduce the burden of regulation on industry.  But weirdly enough, that doesn’t turn out to be true of Trump’s effort to repeal Obama’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) and replace it with his own Affordable Clean […]

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