How Cities Can Use California’s Housing Element to Get New Housing Built

New changes in state law allow local governments to commit to long-term production of housing

Over the next two years, cities across the state of California will undertake a state-mandated process to update the “housing element” of their general plans for land use. Cities must demonstrate that they have—or will provide—adequate zoned capacity to accommodate their share of “regional housing need,” a figure which is determined by the state Department …

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Rethinking Presidential Administration

Giving the President more control of regulation has been a good thing — up to a point.

Conservatives love to complain about faceless bureaucrats, but blaming bureaucrats for regulations is hopelessly out of date.  When Elena Kagan was a professor, she wrote an article called “Presidential Administration.”  The article applauded her former boss Bill Clinton for seizing greater control of the regulatory process away from agencies. That trend has accelerated to the …

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Today Versus 2008

Despite Trump’s efforts, he couldn’t actually reset the clock to the pre-Obama era.

Obama moved us forward. Trump moved us backwards. Are we back where we began? No. Biden starts from a significantly stronger position than Obama did in 2008. In 2008, like today, the outgoing Republican President had adamantly opposed climate action, favored the oil and gas industry, and turned a cold shoulder toward environmental regulation.  Trump …

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Agriculture As A Climate Solution

New CLEE / Berkeley Food Institute report on how to promote regenerative agriculture

The climate fight should ultimately benefit all communities, just as they are all part of the solution. Agricultural communities are no exception. Farmers and ranchers can implement climate-friendly techniques that both sequester carbon and boost profits and long-term sustainability (sometimes referred to as “regenerative agriculture”). Examples of these practices include crop diversification and rotation, cover …

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Next Steps to Save the Global Environment

A lot will need to be done to undo Trump’s harm to global cooperation. Here’s a start.

Trump’s hostility domestic environmental regulation is notorious.  He  also stalled or backpedaled on the international front.  Here are seven steps that President Biden could take to remedy the situation. Rejoin the Paris Agreement.  The U.S. needs to immediately rejoin the Paris Agreement.  It also needs to update its climate target, because we can do a …

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The Georgia Elections, the Republican Schism, and the Environment

The prospects for a green stimulus bill have improved

Although the word is overused, last week really did see a seismic shift in the political world. Actually, there were two earthquakes — the victories of Democrats Warnock and Ossoff in Georgia, and the violent invasion of the U.S. capitol incited by Trump.  While the significance of these events is much broader, their relevance to …

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Climate Politics and the Urban-Rural Split

How do we sell climate policies to huge swathes of Trump country?

The 2020 elections revealed America as bitterly divided as ever. The split between rural and urban voters is intensifying, with rural voters delivering massive support to Trump and down ticket Republicans.  Success in decarbonizing the economy will ultimately require the support of those voters.  Short of a miraculous turnaround in attitudes about climate change, how …

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The Year Ahead

Nine key developments to watch for on the environmental front.

2020 was a tumultuous year. Hopefully, 2021 will be balmier.  Widespread use of vaccines will hopefully tame the COVID-19 pandemic, and maybe the political world will settle down a bit too.  Here are nine key things to watch for in terms of environmental policy. The Georgia runoff elections. Currently, the Republicans look likely to control …

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The California Supreme Court’s Most Important Environmental Law Decisions of 2020

It Was a Relatively Quiet Year for Environmental Law in the California Supreme Court

[This is the third and final installment in a series of posts highlighting the most significant environmental law decisions of 2020.  Earlier this week, I profiled the key 2020 environmental rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.  This post concludes the series with an examination of …

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The Clean Air Act Turns Fifty

A half century of progress in cleaning up the air began New Year’s Eve 1970.

On December 31, 1970, President Richard M. Nixon signed the Clean Air Act.  William Ruckelshaus and Russell Train, who later led the way in implementing the new law, stood by his side with beaming smiles.  Nixon supported the basic features of the bill. But he had considered vetoing the final version because Senator Ed Muskie …

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