Climate Change

Still Not SAFE

The Trump administration moves ahead with plans to roll back Obama-era fuel economy standards.

After months of delay, the Trump administration has reportedly chosen this coming week—in the middle of a nationwide crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic—to finally release the second part of its two-part rollback of Obama-era automotive fuel economy standards.  This isn’t the only environmental rollback action the administration is planning to take during the coming …

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Uncertainty in the Age of Coronavirus

There’s a lot we don’t know at this point. How should we deal with that?

Knowledge about the coronavirus is limited but growing. In the meantime, how should we cope with this uncertainty?  I can’t give you psychological advice, but I can say something about how to think about this uncertainty. How to make decisions under uncertainty is something we know a lot about from the environmental sphere. Uncertainty is …

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Global Crisis and the Urgency of Phasing Out Oil and Gas Production

Considering long-term climate needs in near-term crisis responses

As the covid-19 crisis threatens a global recession and sharply cuts travel demand, compounding the damage caused by the oil price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia, US and international oil prices are hitting historic lows, driving turmoil throughout the industry and threatening a rash of bankruptcies, stranded projects, and job losses. These recent developments …

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Heathrow’s Third Runway and Airport GHG Emissions

California’s potential opportunity to lead through local action

Late last month, a UK court blocked a proposed new runway at London’s Heathrow Airport, ruling that the project conflicted with the national government’s commitment under the 2015 Paris Agreement. The court held that project planners improperly failed to assess the proposal’s consistency with the UK government’s ratified plan to help meet the Paris target …

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Valentine’s Day and Climate Change

Global warming will change much of our everyday lives. Even Feb. 14.

How is climate change connected with Valentine’s Day?  In many ways, as it turns out. That’s an indication of the myriad ways in which climate is entangled with our lives.  Whether it’s roses and chocolate, or courtship, nothing will remain quite the same as global temperatures go up and up. What about climate change and …

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Bold But Realistic Climate Actions

Here’s what a new President could actually do.

What options are available to a new President taking office in 2021?  Let’s assume a favorable scenario for climate action in which Dems take unified control of the government (White House, Senate, House) in 2021.  What then? The first theme to keep in mind is that the Democrats will still be subject to some significant …

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Can the Center Hold?

The Challenge to Mainstream Environmentalism

Is environmentalism facing a paradigm shift? Since the 1970s, mainstream environmentalists, lawyers, and scholars have sought incremental progress based on established law and political realities. But frustration with that approach is palpable. The face of climate advocacy is now seventeen-year-old activist Greta Thunberg rather than Establishment politician Al Gore. And there is growing frustration with …

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Deciding a Climate Case in the Shadow of the Supreme Court

Juliana Judges Surely Had The Higher Court in Mind in Drafting Their Decision

The irony of the Ninth Circuit decision dismissing the Juliana v. United States  case this week is plain to see. Two branches of government — the legislative and executive –  have failed to act to address an environmental problem that may cause the destruction of the federal government itself.  The third branch, the judiciary, recognizes the …

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Looking Ahead: Inauguration Day, 2021.

There are 3 plausible scenarios for the new balance of power.

Inauguration day is a year from today.   What will the balance of power be then?  The House doesn’t seem to be in play.  Democrats have an uphill fight to win the Senate,  so a GOP White House would probably mean a GOP Senate.  That leaves three likely scenarios, with different implications for environmental law. Scenario …

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Juliana and the Future of Climate Litigation

Asking judges to pass judgment on all U.S. energy policy was a bridge too far.

The Ninth Circuit threw out the Juliana litigation this morning.  The two judges in the majority basically said,  legalistic language, that you can’t get the Green New Deal by court order. It was wrong for the Supreme Court to step in at the last minute to put the trial on hold, rather than giving the …

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