2023: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Here’s what happened in the world of energy and environment.

A lot has happened this year, with political turmoil in the House of Representatives, indictments of Donald Trump and associates, and a close scrape with default on the national debt.  In the world of energy and environment, the picture has also been mixed, but with more good than bad.

The Good.

  • California enacted two major laws requiring corporations to disclose their carbon emissions and financial risks relating to climate change. Similar regulations are under consideration at the SEC.
  • The Inflation Reduction Act launched with billions of dollars for renewable energy, electric vehicles, and hydrogen power.
  • EPA issued ambitious regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks, while green-lighting California’s authority to move even more quickly with emission cuts.
  • The Supreme Court allowed lawsuits against major oil companies to return to state court, where they are more likely to get a fair hearing. The lawsuits claim that the oil companies deceived consumers, investors, and the public about the risks of climate change.
  • The Supreme Court also eliminated a judicial restriction against state regulations that prevent harmful conduct outside their borders. This removes a possible threat to state climate and renewable energy laws.
  • The Biden Administration continued its campaign to undo the over-100 environmental rollbacks of the Trump years.

The Bad.

  • In one of its most anti-environmental rulings in history, the Supreme Court gutted federal protection for wetlands.
  • 2023 was the hottest year since meteorological records began, with extreme weather events rocking the globe.
  • Republican states continued their campaign to punish banks and investment funds that consider a company’s risks relating to climate change.
  • After three weeks of turmoil, Republicans chose a climate denier as Speaker of the House in October.

The Ugly.

  • The House GOP took the nation to the brink of default, seeking draconian budget cuts and rollbacks of environmental laws, but gained only minor tweaks relating to environmental impact statements.
  • Climate-denier and indicted-felon Donald Trump retained a strong lead for the Republican presidential nomination.

Berkeley’s Center for Law, Energy, and the Environment (CLEE) seeks pragmatic solutions to urgent environmental problems in California and around the world. You can help support our efforts here.

Reader Comments

One Reply to “2023: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”

  1. Dan, For 2024 I Hope and Pray for:

    IMPLEMENTATION OF YOUR REORGANIZATION RECOMMENDATIONS

    “Where Berkeley falls short, in my view, is that there’s little leadership from the top and little structure at the campus level to organize climate efforts.”

    AND

    Universities around the world unite to make the right things happen in time during 2024.

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About Dan

Dan Farber has written and taught on environmental and constitutional law as well as about contracts, jurisprudence and legislation. Currently at Berkeley Law, he has al…

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About Dan

Dan Farber has written and taught on environmental and constitutional law as well as about contracts, jurisprudence and legislation. Currently at Berkeley Law, he has al…

READ more

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