Region: National

Cutting 290,000 Tons of Water Pollution a Year, One Coal Plant at a Time

Coal is a dirty fuel. It’s not just air pollution or climate change.

EPA proposed new regulations next week to reduce the water pollution impacts of coal-fired power plants.  As EPA regulations go, these count as fairly minor. They got a bit of news coverage in coal country and industry publications. But they will eliminate the discharge of thousands of tons of pollutants, including a lot of metals …

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Top 5 Climate Reasons To Reduce Driving, Even With Electric Vehicles

Sprawl and EVs still have significant carbon costs

California and other jurisdictions have been moving to reduce vehicle miles traveled (VMT) as a climate solution. Yet some pro-sprawl interests question whether this is necessary, given the advent of electric vehicles. It’s fair to ask: if all vehicles are “zero emission,” do we really need to care any more about how much driving we …

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“Major Questions” for Texas (and for the Environment)

Defending clean car regulations and tracking judicial decision-making

Last June, the Supreme Court formally unveiled the “major questions” doctrine in the landmark environmental case West Virginia v. EPA. In rejecting EPA’s plan to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act, the Court stated that “agency decisions of vast economic and political significance” (i.e., those …

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Climate Policy’s “Plan B”

As the initial top-down approach failed, a new approach to climate policy crystalized.

My last blog post told the story of the original top-down approach to climate policy. It was supposed to feature binding restrictions on carbon emissions in a global treaty and federal legislation. By 2012, it was plain that neither half of this “Plan A” strategy was in the offing. Building on trends that had begun …

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Climate Policy at the Turn of the Century: The Death of “Plan A”

The original plan involved top-down global and US emission limits. They never happened.

When the campaign to cut carbon emissions began in the last decade of the 20th Century, there seemed to be a clear path forward. International negotiations would begin with a framework convention, followed by a later global agreement capping carbon emissions. Within the US, Congress would enact legislation cutting carbon emissions. By the end of …

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Need Quick Climate Solutions? Check Out Our “Climate Break” Podcast

Berkeley Law production also airing every Thursday on NPR-affiliate KALW in San Francisco

Climate change news is often quite depressing, with frequent stories on the science and ever-worsening impacts. What gets lost in this otherwise important coverage is the amazing and inspiring tales of innovation and solutions happening all around us, in every sector and walk of life. That’s why Berkeley Law’s Center for Law, Energy and the …

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The Great-Great-Grandmother of Climate Science

Herein of the now-forgotten woman who discovered the warming effect of CO2.

The first climate science ever published was in 1856 by Eunice Newton Foote, who discovered that CO2 and water vapor trapped the sun’s heat.   Her paper was read at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. That paper, along with another paper of hers,  were the only physics papers by …

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Wetlands Regulation in the Political Swamp

The Congressional Review Act remains bad for policy and worse for democratic deliberation.

Last December, the Biden administration issued a rule defining the scope of the federal government’s authority over streams and wetlands. Congressional Republicans vowed to overturn the rule, using a procedure created by the Congressional Review Act. If Congress is going to repeal something, it should be the Congressional Review Act rather than the Biden rule. …

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Good News from the Land of 10,000 Lakes

Earlier this month, Minnesota adopted a bold new clean energy plan.

The headline news is that Minnesota has adopted a 2040 deadline for a carbon-free grid.   The headline is accurate, but the law in question contains a lot of other interesting features that deserve attention. Despite the law’s extremely unglamorous name (“Senate File 4”), this is a big step forward for the state, as well as …

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I’m With Paul

Krugman claims that climate action doesn’t mean an end to growth. He’s right.

In a recent column, Paul Krugman argued that cutting carbon emissions doesn’t have to mean an end to economic growth. He’s right about that. Carbon emissions and growth aren’t joined at the hip. He could have added that economic growth and quality of life don’t necessarily go together. The numbers are really clear about the …

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