Climate Adaptation

Recentering Environmental Law: A Thought Experiment

If we had understood then what we know now. . . .

In 1965, scientists sent LBJ a memo mentioning the risks of climate change. Imagine if history had been a little different. Suppose it had been this memo and a follow-up report, rather than Rachel Carson’s attack on pesticides, that sparked the environmental movement. How would environmental law look different and how might we be thinking about …

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Climate Policy in the World’s Fourth Largest Country

In case you’re wondering, that would be Indonesia in terms of population.

Indonesia has the world’s fourth largest population, right after India, China, and the U.S. It has about the same GDP as Spain. Indonesia ranks in the top dozen carbon emitters. It gets relatively attention in the United States. Yet Indonesia’s role in cutting energy emissions is crucial. As an archipelago, Indonesia is at the prey …

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How to Address Sea Level Risks in California Real Estate Transactions

A new UCLA report recommends policies to improve California’s real estate hazard disclosure laws to inform potential buyers of serious sea level rise risks.

It’s an increasingly common sight on California’s coast: beach houses being swallowed by the rising sea. The threat of flooding and erosion is increasing throughout the United States as a warming atmosphere makes precipitation events more extreme and contributes to sea level rise. In fact, the U.S. coastline is projected to see an average of …

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U.S. Climate Law: A Broad & Rapidly Growing Field

There’s a lot of law relating to climate change. A lot!

In preparing to teach a course on climate law, I was really struck by how broad and rich the field has become. Back in the day, it was nearly all international law, but nowadays there’s a huge amount of U.S. domestic law. Most people, even those who work on the field, tend to focus on …

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Climate Rides the Omnibus

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

The year-end law gives a boost to climate-related spending

The omnibus spending bill is by no means a “climate law.”  Because it spans the entire government, though, it has many provisions relating to climate change. They aren’t dramatic step forward. But the fact that they can pass as part of a bipartisan spending law is a sign of how climate change is slowly becoming …

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Climate Change and Indian Country

The tribes are on the front lines of climate change.

In light of Native American Heritage Day last Friday, we should also be thinking about the future of the tribes in the era of climate change. Tribes face serious challenges from climate change, but also some potential opportunities. In terms of climate impacts, many tribes are at high risk. Tribes are especially vulnerable to climate …

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Wildfires and the Grid

Wildfires are huge problem in California. Maybe we can learn from those on the other end of the Pacific.

California and Australia are 8000 miles apart, but it turns out they have similar wildfire problems.  And in both cases, the electric grid and climate change are part of the equation.  The problems in California and the rest of the West are familiar to many readers. Though they don’t necessarily get much attention in the …

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A Stealth Climate Bill

There’s more money for climate action tucked away in a must-pass bill.

Surprise! The lame-duck Congress is about to consider another bill with billions of dollars of spending for climate adaptation and emission reductions. Another surprise: the bill is named for Senator James Inhofe. In case you’ve forgotten, he’s the climate change denier who once took a snowball to the Senate floor to disprove climate change. You …

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Scenarios and Uncertainty

Imagining different futures can be the best way to think through options when we don’t know the odds.

In environmental law, we’re often operating at the limits of knowledge about the natural world and human behavior.  Climate change is well understood in some ways, but it will set off a chain of reactions that we only partly understand.  It’s also difficult to predict the future of ecosystems, future energy prices, technological changes, and …

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Climate Adaptation Moves Toward Center Stage

There’s an increasing bipartisan move to fund climate resilience.

The big news today is the deal with Manchin to  provide billions of dollars of funding for clean energy. Manchin’s vote will be needed because no Republican Senator will vote for the bill.  In contrast, funding for climate resilience has drawing power even for Republicans. It seems to be true that, in Bob Dylan’s words …

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