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 …CONTINUE READING
Seven presidents, seven very different legacies.
Although a 1977 memo alerted Jimmy Carter to the problem of climate change, the first tentative responses to climate change didn’t emerge until he left the White House. Since then, there have been seven very different men in the White House. You may find the rankings surprising. Here’s how I would rank them, from best …CONTINUE READING
Watsonville, California as a Case Study for Policymakers
California’s ambitious goal to end the sale of internal combustion engine passenger vehicles by 2035 will require addressing the challenges faced by lower- and moderate-income drivers in accessing battery-powered electric vehicles (EVs). Chief among these concerns is their need to have a convenient and affordable place to charge the vehicles. Currently these residents too often …CONTINUE READING
Exploring the urgency of subnational climate action: insights from COP28 on financing tropical forest conservation, indigenous empowerment, and sustainable livelihoods by the Governors’ Climate and Forests Task Force network.
The Governors’ Climate and Forests Task Force (GCF Task Force) engaged in the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) held in Dubai, marking a pivotal moment in the global climate dialogue. This significant international forum serves as a crucial platform where nations, subnational entities, and …CONTINUE READING
Climate policy turns on an issue highlighted by Dr. King: Whose suffering counts?
“A genuine revolution of values means in the final analysis that our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Every nation must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual societies.” Those words are from a 1967 speech delivered at Riverside Church by Dr. …CONTINUE READING
Westlands’ Efforts to Permanently Privatize California Water Opposed by Unique Coalition & Rejected by Skeptical Judges
While there’s a great deal that’s dysfunctional and downright wrong about water law and policy in California, occasionally there are positive developments to report. So it’s most satisfying to end 2023 with some good news regarding water in the Golden State. This is the saga of how the Westlands Water District tried to privatize a …CONTINUE READING
Clean air. Clean water. We receive these public goods every day without payment, as gifts from everyone to all of us.
One of the Christmas classics is the Jimmy Stewart movie, It’s a Wonderful Life. Stewart’s character is feeling suicidal, until he learns how much he has unknowingly helped others and how grateful they are. It’s heartwarming if also very corny. There’s a flip side to that story: the need to remember how much others have contributed …CONTINUE READING
It didn’t start out as a song about climate change, but it could be prophetic.
To the modern ear, it sounds like a song about climate change: I’m dreaming of a white Christmas Just like the ones I used to know Where the treetops glisten And children listen To hear sleigh bells in the snow The song actually isn’t about climate change — the lead-in, which is much less familiar, …CONTINUE READING
A new report suggests climate tipping events may be inevitable, and urges transformative approaches to climate policy
It’s hard to keep up with the deluge of climate news around COP28. Climate damages are growing. Carbon budgets are running out. Temperature records are being re-written. Despite new pledges, climate action remains hugely insufficient and grossly unfair. And the world may be unable to avoid passing critical climate tipping points. That last comes from …CONTINUE READING
Fracking consumes enormous amounts of water, pollutes aquifers & is contrary to our climate goals
Recently, the New York Times published an important and disturbing expose’ titled, “‘Monster Fracks’ Are Getting Far Bigger. And Far Thirstier.” The Times article focuses on the alarming intersection of three current environmental crises–water supply shortages, groundwater contamination, and excessive greenhouse gas emission levels–that threaten California and other states across the nation. Fracking (the shorthand …CONTINUE READING