Every year, Congress provides lavish funding for clean energy and climate adaptation. No one notices.
Biden’s green-infrastructure bill is headline news. Republicans are up in arms. Yet every year there’s already a green-infrastructure bill. Hardly anyone notices. Republicans vote for it without a fuss. Why? It’s part of the annual funding bill for the military. The Defense Department remains the biggest single consumer of energy in the country, and it …CONTINUE READING
Disasters are getting bigger, badder, and less predictable. We need to adjust.
Hurricanes Harvey and Maria. California wildfires. Superstorm Sandy. The great Texas blackout. The list goes on. These mega-events dramatize the need to improve our disaster response system. The trends are striking: escalating disaster impacts, more disaster clustering, more disaster cascades, and less predictability. We need to up our game. Lisa Grow Sun and I discuss …CONTINUE READING
Guest Contributors Leeza Arbatman, Michael Cohen, and Shawna Strecker: New California Bills Provide Pathway for Local Wildfire Risk Reduction in Southern California
SB 85 and SB 63 create opportunities for wildfire prevention strategies proposed by UCLA California Environmental Legislation and Policy Clinic
We are students in UCLA Law’s California Environmental Legislation and Policy Clinic, a course in which students work with legislative staff in the California State Legislature to advance environmental policy goals. In Fall 2020, working with staff for State Senator Henry Stern, we developed recommendations for local government efforts to manage wildfire risk. Now, new …CONTINUE READING
The Texas blackouts provide a case study in how to think through resilience issues.
As we begin to think through the long-term response to the Texas blackout, there’s a lot we don’t yet know. The ultimate issues are how much resilience we need against events like this and how we should obtain it. It’s helpful to lay out the kinds of questions we need to be asking as we …CONTINUE READING
What went wrong in Texas and what can we learn from it?
The rolling blackouts in Texas were national news. Texas calls itself the energy capital of the United States, yet it couldn’t keep the lights on. Conservatives were quick to blame reliance on wind power, just as they did last summer when California faced power interruptions due to a heat wave. What really happened? It’s true …CONTINUE READING
Two very distinct areas of international law are finding more and more in common.
International climate negotiations may seem to have little to do with the work of such international relief organizations as the Red Cross. On the national level, EPA and FEMA are two very different agencies that historically have had little connection. The same has been true at the international level. But disaster and climate authorities are …CONTINUE READING
We need the help of far-flung parts of the federal government to deal with climate.
President Biden will have to rely on administrative action to do much or all of the heavy lifting in climate policy. It’s clear that EPA has a central role to play in climate policy, but EPA does not stand alone. Other agencies also have important roles to play. Fortunately, the Biden transition team seems to …CONTINUE READING
FEMA is built to handle one disaster at a time. That’s not going to work in the future.
“When troubles come, they comes not as single spies but as battalions.” That wisdom goes back to Shakespeare. Yet our disaster response system is keyed to handling single disasters, not clusters of major disasters. That needs to change. This week is a good illustration. We have fires in California that may set records. We have …CONTINUE READING
Climate change isn’t uniform. Some parts of the U.S. are seeing conditions that won’t hit elsewhere for decades.
Friday’s Washington Post had a fascinating article about climate change hotspots within the United States. The largest one was on the Western Slope of the Rockies, which has already seen 2 °C of warming. The story is a reminder that the impacts of climate change will be global and yet also very much local. Before …CONTINUE READING
Get ready for a rough ride, with sudden weather reversals and climate shifts.
Steady predictable changes in climate and weather would be easier to adapt to. Instead, we may well see some very sudden shifts, both in terms of short-term weather and longer-term climate regimes.CONTINUE READING