Region: International

Engineering Biological Diversity

In a new paper, I introduce the international governance of synthetic biology, gene drives, and de-extinction for conservation.

In addition to climate change — the primary topic of my academic writing — biodiversity loss is the other major global environmental challenge. Like climate change, efforts over the last three decades keep failing to meet agreed-upon objectives. And like climate change, scientists and others are considering novel technologies that would intervene in natural systems …

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The IPCC Misses the Mark on Solar Geoengineering

Cover of IPCC's special report on 1.5°C warming

The Intergovernmental Panel Climate Change poorly portrays the “institutional and social constraints to deployment related to governance”

Not long ago, I re-read the top-level messages from the Intergovernmental Panel Climate Change (IPCC) on solar geoengineering’s governance issues. The Summary for Policymakers of most recent broad report, Global Warming of 1.5°C (SR1.5), says, in full: Solar radiation modification (SRM) [i.e. solar geoengineering] measures are not included in any of the available assessed pathways. …

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What’s At Stake

Here’s a quick crib sheet on the climate change and the election

Here’s a quick reminder about the environmental stakes in the election.  I’ve tried to stick with the facts here — you’re free to decide which way the cut. ISSUE TRUMP BIDEN Problem of climate change ” I don’t know that it’s man-made… I don’t wanna give trillions and trillions of dollars.” Biden “has long appreciated …

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How Climate Disruption May Undermine Climate Policy

The long-term harms from climate change over the next decades may undermine support for efforts to reduce emissions

Almost two straight months of wildfires and smoke in California are a tangible sign of the impacts of climate change on our lives and our world. This article from the New York Times a couple of weeks ago does a good job of laying out why the wildfires in California are only one example of …

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China’s New 2060 Carbon Neutrality Target

New climate pledges from China and the EU make the U.S. the only jurisdiction among the top three emitters without a carbon neutrality target

The biggest climate policy announcement of the week was not California Gov. Newsom’s Executive Order to ban the in-state sale of gas-powered passenger cars and trucks by 2035, although this move is a major advance for climate policy. Rather, the most important climate news was China’s announcement of an “aim” of achieving carbon neutrality by …

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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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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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Gene Drives, Biodiversity Conservation, International Law, and Emerging Politics

gene drive inheritance

My latest article is published by Global Environmental Politics

A set of new biotechnologies are being developed that will force many of us, especially those concerned about biodiversity loss, to re-examine how we understand the relationship between biotechnology and conservation. These are “gene drives,” which would be used to genetically modify, reduce, or eliminate populations of species. My paper “Governing New Biotechnologies for Biodiversity …

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Taking Technology Seriously in Global Environmental Politics

Global Environmental Politics cover

A special issue on new technologies is now available

I am proud to announce a special issue of Global Environmental Politics on new technologies, edited by Simon Nicholson of American University and me, is now available. We write in the introductory essay: Human beings are at once makers of and made by technology. The ability to wield tools was an essential ingredient in propelling an …

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Time to Get Serious about Climate Change and Oceans

Science can unlock powerful tools to fight climate change and ocean acidification, but only if we fund research and govern it well.

  In the Before Time, I spoke with a few ocean scientists on climate issues, and I heard a common refrain. Climate change receives little attention or funding, considering the magnitude of the problem; climate impacts on oceans get even less; and marine carbon removal gets almost none at all. Humans are short-lived terrestrial creatures. …

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