Taylor Swift and Climate Change Songs

friendship bracelot

Pop culture is how many of us process what’s going on in the world. That’s why Taylor Swift’s next 'era' should include a climate anthem.

We don’t need Taylor Swift to “fall in love with a climate scientist,” we just wish she’d write a song about the climate crisis.  When the breathless coverage of her relationship with Travis Kelce first boosted ratings for NFL football, some suggested Swift should use her star power for good by “dating a climate scientist.” Though they probably meant well, it’s offensive—misogynist even— to suggest that Taylor Swift has nothing more to contribut...


California Climate Policy: A Preliminary Report Card

It’s a bit complicated, but California definitely has made substantial progress.

We all know that California's climate policies have led the nation. But how well have these policies actually worked?  That’s not as easy to answer as you might think.  You have to do some digging to come up with the numbers, and their meaning isn’t always completely clear.  If you compare California with the country as a whole, however, it does seem clear that our climate policies have had a real impact on emissions. What's the Overall Verdict?  California has...


Gov. Newsom Goes to China to Talk Climate

Here’s what Newsom will see, say, and do on his China trip. He should also be listening for what California can learn from China.

We’re learning more about what Gov. Gavin Newsom will see, say, and do on his trip to China. All told, Newsom is slated to visit 6 cities in 5 provinces, including Guangdong, Jiangsu, and Shanghai—where he’s signing a new climate agreement. He plans to meet with representatives from the Chinese Ministry of Ecology and the Environment in Beijing, as well as local officials. The trip is entirely focused on climate talks.  Newsom should also do some deep liste...


Who the Heck is Patrick McHenry?

And what does he think about the environment?

Patrick McHenry has been Speaker pro tem with limited powers, but there’s talk about trying to bump him up, giving him full power as Speaker for a limited time so the House can get back to work. That might be just a flash in the pan, but he turns out to be interesting enough to write about either way. I guess the first thing we know about Patrick McHenry is that one of his parents had an interest in U.S. history and a sense of humor.  Also, he’s from North Caroli...


Recharge net metering (ReNeM) provides win-win-win for groundwater agency, landowners, & sustainable groundwater management

Nature Water publication showcases the economics of a novel groundwater recharge incentive structure

By Molly Bruce, Luke Sherman, Ellen Bruno, Andrew T. Fisher, & Michael Kiparsky An insidious issue has been growing along the Central Coast and throughout the state of California for decades: groundwater overdraft. In response to this growing threat and 2014 legislation designed to put an end to chronic overdraft, many basins have identified managed aquifer recharge (MAR) as an essential supply-side tool for managing water resources. MAR promotes infiltration using ...


Meet  Austin Scott — No, sorry, say goodby to Austin Scott

Or as Groucho put it, "hello, I must be going."

Since I started reporting on the environmental aspects of the House Speaker race, I might as well continue. After I last wrote on Friday, following Scalise’s surprise withdrawal, another candidate  tossed his hat in the ring, Austin Scott from Georgia. As an aside, I can’t help but wonder: what is the ring, and why is it a target for airborne headwear? But I digress -- though from a topic that is nearly as lightweight: Austin Scott's four-hour quest for the speakers...


The Speaker Race and the Environment

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

No, it’s not a pretty picture. Scalise was bad. Jordan is worse.

In what felt like one of the few times I’ve actually been right about a political prediction, I told my wife that Steve Scalise would probably be the GOP’s pick to replace Kevin McCarthy.  Sadly,  I was only right for about 24 hours. Then Scalise, supposedly the more moderate candidate, dropped out. That left Jim Jordan.  Neither would be a plus environmentally, to put it mildly. But Jordan is worse. Scalise. Let's start with Scalise, who apparently still wa...


What’s New About Income-Graduated Fixed Charges?

California is in the process of making income-graduated fixed rates a part of ratepayers’ electric bills. This is the second post in a series that follows that proceeding.

California’s new income-graduated fixed charge (IGFC) policy makes two major moves. The IGFC 1) unbundles costs from volumetric rates and shifts a portion of those costs into a separate fixed charge and 2) imposes the fixed charge on the basis of income. The IGFC has been described as unprecedented—but just what is new about this rate reform and how new is it? This post, the second in a series exploring California’s new IGFC policy, surveys the history of fixed...


One More Key Groundwater Bill Just Became Law

sprinklers going off

Gov. Newsom signs AB 779, which addresses inequities in California’s complicated groundwater adjudication process.

Earlier this week the San Francisco Chronicle declared that California’s legislative session would close with just a single bill addressing injustices in the state’s water rights system. Now you can add one more to the list. Gov. Newsom signed Assembly Bill 779 into law this week. It’s an important step to reforming the state’s murky—often unfair—groundwater adjudication process of settling disputes over water rights. AB 779 by Assemblymember Lori W...


Nikki Haley & Climate Policy 

She’s a departure from the GOP’s white male establishment. But on climate issues? Not so much.

Nikki Haley's presidential campaign has gained a following. According to the NY Times, Haley’s performance “in front of crowds and in the first two Republican debates — during which she successfully fended off interruptions and delivered pithy, memorable one-liners — has delivered buzz, attention and money.” Unlike Trump, she's not actively hostile to the very idea of renewable energy. But she shares his love of fossil fuels. In the first debate, Haley had t...