Region: National

Black Figures in Environmental History

Black figures played a role in the early years of environmentalism, before it even had a name.

Yesterday was the start of Black History Month.  Last year, I posted about the contributions made by Black climate scientists. This year, I want to go back earlier  in history to highlight the environmental contributions of three Black figures in much earlier times. The earliest of these figures was Solomon Brown, who was born in …

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50 Years Ago: Environmental Law in 1973

Five decades back, the country was in the midst of unprecedented environmental ferment.

1973 was at the crest of the environmental surge that swept the United States half a century ago.  In the previous three years, Congress had passed NEPA, the Clean Air Act, and the Clean Water Act. The first EPA Administrator took office in 1971. Continuing the legislative wave, 1973 saw the passage of the Endangered …

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…In Which I Attempt To Read My Water Bill

Failure To Install Smart Water Meters Is Wasting Billions of Gallons Each Year

I felt at least decently about myself when I paid my water bill recently, because I was told that my usage was somewhat better than other people in my neighborhood (which is a low bar, but you take what you can get). But when I tried to figure out why it was better, I got …

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The fight over California’s greenhouse gas and ZEV car standards continues

UCLA Clinic files amicus brief on behalf of Sen. Carper and Rep. Pallone to uphold standards

Of the many achievements of California’s legendary legislator Fran Pavley, one of the most remarkable is then-Assemblywoman Pavley’s modest bill, AB 1493, which directed California to become the first jurisdiction in the country to control greenhouse gas emissions from cars.  That bill, introduced in 2001 and passed the next year, told the California Air Resources …

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The Obesity Pandemic

It’s a global phenomenon, with poorly understood causes. But there’s no point in blaming the victims.

I’ve written in the past about the American obesity epidemic. Obesity rates have continued to climb in the United States, though the rate of increase has leveled out. But obesity is also on the rise globally. The obesity rate has increased everywhere. In nine countries, at least one out of five people is now obese: …

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Is Bipartisanship Possible?

An image of the U.S. Capitol Building in the evening.

It’s not easy in today’s polarized politics. But maybe it’s not completely off the table.

We are now, as so often, in a time of divided government. That makes bipartisan cooperation necessary. We are also in a time of hyper-partisanship.  The problem may be compounded by the concessions made by McCarthy to the far Right in order to become Speaker.  Nevertheless, there may be some opportunities for cooperation across party …

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Whose Major Questions Doctrine?

There are two versions of the doctrine. One of them is more dangerous.

When it  struck down Obama’s signature climate regulation in West Virginia v. EPA, the Supreme Court formally adopted the major questions doctrine as a way to synthesize prior anti-regulatory rulings.  The major questions doctrine (MQD to insiders) has gotten a lot of attention. One thing that’s been overlooked, however, is that there are two versions …

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The Emergence of the Environmental Justice Movement

The environmental justice movement is now 40 years old. Its influence is only growing.

Dr. King died in 1968, and the Civil Rights Movement had already been a powerful national presence for well over a decade.  Yet it was fourteen more years until environmental justice entered the national spotlight. Environmental justice issues first received widespread attention in 1982 when protests erupted over the construction of a new waste disposal …

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30 Years of U.S. Climate Policy

Here’s a timeline of the victories and defeats since 1992.

Thirty years ago, the United States joined the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The decades since then have been a saga of victories and defeats for U.S. climate policy.  Progress has been made under one President, only to be battered down by the next one. This to-and-fro is a sobering reminder of how …

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Does Ideology Kill?

Interpreting the association between conservatism and COVID death rates.

There is mounting evidence of an association between conservative politics and COVID impacts. Indeed, the higher death rate among Republicans may even have swung some close elections. A recent study sheds light on how ideology and death rates interact. As the Washington Post reports, the results were striking:  “Covid death rates were 11 percent higher …

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