Region: International

Un-Inventing Fire

After many eons, reliance on combustion for energy is ending.

To head off disastrous climate change, we need to radically transform the modern energy system. We must largely move beyond the use of fire, the first and most important of inventions. The core energy technology used by humans has always involved, in one form or another, burning things up. To a large extent, combatting climate …

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Today’s Vaccine Cases: Implications for Climate Change Regulation

Today’s ruling are (somewhat) good news in terms of West Virginia v. EPA?

Today, the Court’s conservative Justices split the difference in two cases involving vaccine mandates, striking down OSHA’s mandate but upholding a more limited mandate for healthcare workers. The cases also split the conservative Justices themselves, with three hardliners (Thomas, Alito, and Gorsuch) seeking a more activist ruling in the OSHA case and dissenting in the …

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2021: The Year in Review

After the dark days of the Trump Era, environmental policy had a very good year

The continuing pandemic sometimes makes it feel like time is frozen. But 2021 was a big year for environmental policy. Politics. The biggest news of 2021, for the environment as well as other reasons, was the replacement of Donald Trump by Joseph Biden. On the regulatory front, the change in White House control instantly stopped …

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Everyday Christmas: The Gift of the Commons

Clean air. Clean water. We receive these public goods every day without payment

One of the Christmas classics is the Jimmy Stewart movie, It’s a Wonderful Life. George Bailey, Stewart’s character, is despondent about his life but then learns how much he has unknowingly helped others and how grateful they are. It’s heartwarming, if also a bit corny. There’s a flip side to that story: the need to remember …

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Remembering Electric Vehicle Pioneer Ryan Popple, 1977-2021

Former Proterra CEO was a major contributor to UC Berkeley/UCLA Law EV report

Ryan Popple, former CEO and co-founder of electric bus company ProTerra, venture capitalist for transportation electrification, early Tesla employee, Iraq War veteran and father of three, passed away on Wednesday night at the age of 44, for reasons unknown. I had the good fortune to meet Ryan back in 2012, when UC Berkeley Law and …

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COPs as Three-Ring Circus

Reflections on Glasgow a few weeks later

It is often hard to make sense of what happens at the annual climate meetings, and easy to get cynical. For two or three weeks, climate politics gets intense worldwide news coverage. Acute pressure mounts over the two weeks to get some announcable achievement, which almost always happens after all-night negotiations on the final day. …

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Arguments over Solar Geoengineering Research

Science Magazine weighs in

Doing research on environmental issues or responses is usually an easy call for policy-makers and gets wide political support, even if there’s disagreement what to do about the issue. But there is now one big exception: research on solar geoengineering (SG).  SG would cool the Earth, temporarily and imperfectly offsetting some of the climate effects …

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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 two days a year on Legal Planet.  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 struggling to deal …

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Making Sense of the US-China Joint Glasgow Declaration

One small step for climate action, one modest leap for US-China relations

Yesterday, China and the US announced a “Joint Glasgow Declaration on Enhancing Climate Action in the 2020s” (En/Ch) What to make of it? The short answer is that it only offers slight forward progress on climate action. Increased climate ambition from China and US in the short-term remains the critical metric and in this regard …

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The Fuss about Methane

Part 1: Science and weird facts

Methane is getting a lot of attention in climate debates. There was even a “Methane Day” last Tuesday at the climate conference in Glasgow. Several new regulations controlling methane emissions have been adopted recently, including two new rules for the US oil and gas sector announced last week. There’s a new informal international agreement to …

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