Climate Change and the Financial Industry

How is one of the world’s largest industries responding to climate change?

As of 2018, the U.S. financial industry contributed $1.5 trillion to GDP.  How is the financial sector responding to climate change?  The short answer is “slowly so far, but there are signs of progress.” For instance, just last Friday, the NY Times reported that European Central Bank began a strategy review with climate change on …

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Antacids for the Sea: Artificial Ocean Alkalinization

A potential tool for adaptation and carbon removal, but more research is needed.

The carbonate cycle helps make the oceans one of the largest carbon sinks on the planet. As the oceans’ surface waters mingle with the open air, they absorb enormous amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2), storing it in the water as carbonic acid and carbonates and as limestone on the seafloor. The carbonate cycle is a …

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Climate Change and Political Action

Do the Fires in Australia Change Anything?

“I want people to unite behind the science . . .  I’m not the one who’s saying these things.  I’m not the one who we should be listening to.  And I say that all the time.  I say we need to listen to the scientists.” –Greta Thunberg, September 11, 2019 “Look, scientists also have a …

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Can the Center Hold?

The Challenge to Mainstream Environmentalism

Is environmentalism facing a paradigm shift? Since the 1970s, mainstream environmentalists, lawyers, and scholars have sought incremental progress based on established law and political realities. But frustration with that approach is palpable. The face of climate advocacy is now seventeen-year-old activist Greta Thunberg rather than Establishment politician Al Gore. And there is growing frustration with …

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Deciding a Climate Case in the Shadow of the Supreme Court

Juliana Judges Surely Had The Higher Court in Mind in Drafting Their Decision

The irony of the Ninth Circuit decision dismissing the Juliana v. United States  case this week is plain to see. Two branches of government — the legislative and executive –  have failed to act to address an environmental problem that may cause the destruction of the federal government itself.  The third branch, the judiciary, recognizes the …

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Pricing Carbon: What Does It Actually Accomplish?

Pricing carbon may not work the way economists thought.

In theory, pricing carbon should incentivize emissions reductions.  In reality, it is unclear to what extent that takes place unless the carbon price is very high.  This is not to say that pricing carbon is useless, but the main benefits may take different forms. Basically, there are two ways of putting a price on carbon.  …

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Looking Ahead: Inauguration Day, 2021.

There are 3 plausible scenarios for the new balance of power.

Inauguration day is a year from today.   What will the balance of power be then?  The House doesn’t seem to be in play.  Democrats have an uphill fight to win the Senate,  so a GOP White House would probably mean a GOP Senate.  That leaves three likely scenarios, with different implications for environmental law. Scenario …

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Juliana and the Future of Climate Litigation

Asking judges to pass judgment on all U.S. energy policy was a bridge too far.

The Ninth Circuit threw out the Juliana litigation this morning.  The two judges in the majority basically said,  legalistic language, that you can’t get the Green New Deal by court order. It was wrong for the Supreme Court to step in at the last minute to put the trial on hold, rather than giving the …

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New California Report on State Climate Policies Released

Independent Emissions Market Advisory Committee Recommends Focus on Transportation, Affordability, Allowance Banking, Allowance Supply and the Effects of Overlapping Policies in the Regional Electricity Market

The California Independent Emissions Market Advisory Committee released its annual report yesterday making recommendations about California climate policy. I serve as the Vice Chair of  the committee and as the Speaker of the Assembly’s appointee. Our report makes five recommendations: that the state focus on the affordability of its carbon policies, with special concern about …

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The Bleak California Housing Picture By Numbers

Key recent studies and data can inform the legislative debate

As the debate over SB 50 and other state legislative efforts to boost California’s housing supply heats up, it’s worth reviewing some of the data about how dire the housing situation is in the state. Here are some tidbits: High Home Prices and Rents: According to the California Legislative Analysts Office, the average California home …

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