carbon emissions

Short and Simple Climate Legislation

With a few sentences, Congress could do a lot to fix the law.

The last time Congress tried to pass climate change legislation, the bill was about 800 pages long. That bill, the Waxman-Markey Act, tried to adopt a comprehensive set of emissions reduction measures, which is a complicated business.  But a much simpler law could allow the U.S. to move forward quickly with less ambitious but still …

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Climate’s Future in the Face of COVID

Even as emissions decrease, climate activists shouldn’t get comfortable

As many have pointed out, air and water pollution have plummeted because of COVID-19. My colleague Ben Harris wrote about the many positive environmental impacts that global-scale quarantine has caused – and they’re truly inspiring. Some have pointed to this massive pollution reduction to illustrate that “we are the virus”. Perhaps the pollution reduction is …

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Driving away gasoline for good

Senator Chuck Schumer’s proposal is “Cash for Clunkers” again, at unprecedented scale

Last week, Senate Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer published an op-ed in the New York Times describing a new federal proposal for replacing all gasoline-powered vehicles in the U.S. with zero emission vehicles by 2040. This is a laudable goal and a great opportunity – comprehensive federal policy to replace all gasoline-powered vehicles with zero-emission …

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Watered Down Standards at the TRUMP CAFÉ

Here are the FAQs about Trump’s proposed rollback.

Trump is proposing to gut CO2 standards for cars, freezing 2020 CAFE fuel-efficiency standards in place for years to come.  Without the freeze, the standards would automatically ramp up. He also wants to eliminate California’s ability to set its own standards, which many other states have opted to adopt. Here are seven key questions about …

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Trump’s Dubious Bailout

It’s unlikely that a bailout will have more than a temporary effect. Assuming it holds up in court, that is.

Trump plans to use national security powers to prop up uneconomic coal and nuclear plants.  Rick Perry says the government is trying to figure out the cost of this effort – but he doesn’t seem to care what that cost would be. After all, he says, “You cannot put a dollar figure on the cost to keep …

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Climate Policy in the Land of 10,000 Lakes

What is “Lake Wobegon” doing about climate change?

Minnesota has had climate change legislation on the books since 2007, when the Next Generation Energy Act was signed by Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty. The 2007 law called for the state to reduce its emissions 15 percent by 2015 and 80 percent by 2050. At the time, Pawlenty saluted the bill, saying,”The nation has been …

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When Trump’s Name is Forgotten, His Carbon Will Remain

Much of the carbon from his policies will remain in the atmosphere for centuries.

Given Trump’s desire to increase the use of fossil fuels, it’s no surprise that his presidency will result in increased carbon emissions.  Some of the carbon will remain in the atmosphere for centuries, an enduring monument to his presidency and his rejection of scientific facts. Before the election, I took a stab at estimating that impact, based …

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The Car Industry’s Rollback Effort — Disappointing But Not Surprising

The struggle to force the car industry to cut pollution goes back six decades.

The car industry is appealing for President Trump’s help against stricter carbon standards for cars. The industry’s action is disappointing for those who believed industry claims to embrace sustainability and technological innovation. There’s no good excuse for the industry’s about-face on a regulation it had originally agreed to.  As one of the architects of the …

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Promises to Keep

In the run-up to the Paris talks, the major economies have all pledged carbon reductions.

With Saudia Arabia’s pledge last week to cut emission, all of the world’s major economies are now on board.  In a nutshell, here is what they are promising. Except as noted, the target dates are all 2030.  A number of countries have subsidiary promises in terms of percentage of renewable energy or of bigger cuts premised …

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UCLA environmental law journal publishes new work on personal norms and carbon emissions, and on other interesting topics

Following in Dan’s footsteps as promoters of our respective schools’ excellent environmental law journals, I’m proud to announce that the UCLA Journal of Environmental Law and Policy Volume 27, #1 was published this summer. This journal issue features several interesting pieces.  They include a thought-provoking Comment by second-year UCLA law student Jed Ela, Law and Norms …

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