Biden Administration

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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The Year Ahead

Here are the top ten environment and energy developments to watch for.

Here we are, starting another year.  Last year turned out to have some major environmental developments. The most notable were the Supreme Court’s ruling in West Virginia case, striking down the Clean Power Plan, and the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, with its huge economic incentives for clean energy.  Here’s quick rundown of what …

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Another Battle in the ESG Wars

Another Trump rollback undone, another step forward for sustainable investing.

Some call it ESG — the growing attention of big investors to a company’s record Environmental, Social, and Governance issues. Some call it responsible investing. Others call it “woke.” On Nov. 22, the Biden Administration notched a victory in this ongoing battle, allowing ESG investments by private pension plans. Those plans now hold roughly $13 …

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Wasting Gas

A proposed rule limiting flaring and venting of natural gas is a win for everyone except greedy oil and gas operators.   

Yesterday, the Interior Department posted a proposed rule to limit flaring and venting of natural gas on public lands. The rule will be good for everyone except the oil and gas operators who waste the gas, increasing methane and carbon emissions while giving the public nothing in return.  The rule is clearly a step in …

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Being Thankful for Environmental Progress

Environmentalists do a lot worrying, seasoned by dashes of anger and despair. Here are some things to feel good about instead.

Environmentalists have a tendency to focus on the environmental harm we haven’t been able to prevent and the frustrations of making further progress. Once in a while, though, it’s good to look at the progress we’ve made. Take a few minutes this holiday weekend to be thankful for some of this year’s steps forward on …

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Environment and Energy Impacts of the 2022 Election

The consequences will play out in D.C. and in some important states.

The President’s party typically does poorly in the mid-terms, Biden’s popularity is low, and Americans are upset about inflation. But the election didn’t produce the Republican wave many observers predicted in the last few weeks of the campaign.  Although the GOP will likely control the House, the Democrats have held the Senate.  Here’s where things …

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The Inflation Reduction Act and the Sequencing of Climate Policy

Why subsidies for clean energy generally are preconditions for other climate policies

The Inflation Reduction Act would be, if enacted, the biggest piece of climate legislation that the U.S. Congress has ever passed.  As such, it’s gotten a fair amount of coverage attempting to put it into context for the broader scope of climate policy in the U.S. and globally – in particular, this article in Slate …

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Two and a half cheers for the IRA

Climate legislation sets the stage not just for decarbonization now, but greater policy success later on

The announcement of the legislative deal (the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022) between Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) and the Democratic Senate leadership was a bid deal in climate policy.  The legislation relies on the reconciliation process, allowing it to pass with a simple 50 votes (plus Vice President Harris’ tie-breaker vote).  The legislation provides for …

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The climate bill and oil and gas leasing

Provision in big climate bill that mandates oil and gas leasing on federal lands has limited reach

The big news in climate policy this past week was Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) signing off on a deal with the Democratic Senate Majority leader, Chuck Schumer, to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on climate investments – the bill is catchily called the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.  I’ll take a look at the …

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