Climate Adaptation

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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My Kind of Town

Climate change is coming to Chicago and Lake Michigan.

“My kind of town, Chicago is my kind of town.” Or so Frank Sinatra sang. I’m not sure he really felt that way himself, but the song rings a chord with me.  I didn’t grow up in Chicago but we visited frequently to see my parents’ families. Chicago is also, as it turns out, ground …

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Mexico y el Cambio Climático

There is much to celebrate today. But Mexican climate policy may not be one of them.

This being Cinco de Mayo, it seems like an appropriate time for a look at Mexico’s climate challenges.  Mexico’s carbon emissions are about the same as those of Texas, the highest-emitting US state. Per capita emissions, however, are far lower, given Mexico’s much larger population. Mexico is also highly vulnerable to climate change. What’s the …

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Risky Business

Climate Change and the Insurance Sector

Founded in 1871, the National Association of Insurance Commission represents insurance regulators in all fifty states. It’s not a particularly woke group – the current president is the Director of the Idaho Department of Insurance. However, the group has just issued a new “voluntary” survey for insurance companies about climate risks. “Voluntary” is in quotes …

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Rescuing FEMA (and ourselves)

FEMA needs to grow in order to handle its work. The need for growth will only get greater as time goes on.

2021 was a year of disasters, with extraordinary heat waves, fires, a string of hurricanes, a  cold snap that left Texas in the dark, winter tornados, and torrential rains. FEMA has been left badly overstretched. That’s an urgent problem, and it’s likely a foretaste of the future. This is not just a problem for the …

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