One problem is that we’ve pursued optimization rather than robustness.
Scientists are warning us that even comparatively small changes in average temperature may have disastrous results. If you turn up your thermostat 2 ºC (about 3.6 ºF), the difference may be noticeable but it’s no big deal. So why is that a scary increase in global temperatures? Some reasons are physical, particularly the difference between …CONTINUE READING
Vicious attacks on climate progress are on the rise.
Presumably, no one actually wants rising seas, dangerous heat waves, severe droughts, runaway wildfires, and floods. Nor, I assume, are there many who want those climate disasters for their children and grandchildren. Still, there are all too many politicians and public figures who act as if their goal was to foment climate change. No doubt the …CONTINUE READING
There are twenty and the list is growing.
Many law schools consider public service a key part of their missions. More than most people appreciate, they play an important role in public policy in areas as diverse as intellectual property, criminal justice, and environmental law. Research centers are an increasingly common institutional setting for that work. With that in mind, I’ve tried to …CONTINUE READING
Some thoughts for Environmental History Week.
An international agreement in 1992 committed the world’s nations to addressing climate change but contained few specifics. The US ratified that agreement, but there was little concrete action here through the end of the 20th Century. As this century began, things looked optimistic, with both presidential candidates favoring reductions in carbon emissions. Promptly after taking …CONTINUE READING
The standards have gotten tougher. Compliance still lags.
The goal of the Clean Air Act is to achieve national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS), with the primary requirement being protection of public health. As our understanding of the health effects of air pollution has improved, there has been a general trend toward tightening the standards. However, it’s very hard to keep track of …CONTINUE READING
“The Empire Strikes Back” or “The Return of the Jedi”? Either is possible on Election Day.
We’re now a year away from Election Day, but things are already starting to heat up. And the outcome couldn’t be more important. The next election could transform U.S. environmental policy, for better or worse. A GOP trifecta in 2024 would put Trump in the White House with GOP control of Congress. That would be …CONTINUE READING
Fracking consumes enormous amounts of water, pollutes aquifers & is contrary to our climate goals
Recently, the New York Times published an important and disturbing expose’ titled, “‘Monster Fracks’ Are Getting Far Bigger. And Far Thirstier.” The Times article focuses on the alarming intersection of three current environmental crises–water supply shortages, groundwater contamination, and excessive greenhouse gas emission levels–that threaten California and other states across the nation. Fracking (the shorthand …CONTINUE READING
“The Truth is Out There.” Or maybe not.
Conspiracy theories about climate change are widespread. They cover a wide range, but the theme is generally that the world is run by some elite that is secretly using climate change as an excuse to take over the world. My favorite conspiracy theory is that the world is run by the Lizard People, evil reptiles …CONTINUE READING
Pretty or scary or brave? There’s a climate costume to suit all tastes.
Children will be roaming the streets tonight dressed as Superheroes, Princesses, and Evil Villains. But really, these invented figures can’t hold a candle to the real ones in our world. Here are some possibilities: Cruela de Coal. This is an easy make-over of the Disney costume. Simply coat the costume with soot and add a …CONTINUE READING
A tale that should send shivers down your back.
Given that Halloween is tomorrow, here’s a frighting story– the tale of what a Trump victory would mean for the future climate. Would a Trump victory be the end of the world? That might be an overstatement. But the result would surely be a surge in carbon emissions, dooming us to even more severe climate …CONTINUE READING