LGBTQ People Face Greater Climate Risks

A new study by the UCLA Williams Institute finds that LGBTQ people in same-sex couples are at greater risk of exposure to the harms of climate change compared to straight couples.

In August of 2005 when Hurricane Katrina made landfall in Louisiana and Mississippi, the combination of torrential rain and flawed infrastructure proved deadly. More than 1,800 people died and the price tag for the damage quickly rose to the tens of billions of dollars. In the chaotic disaster response that followed, several communities were disproportionately …


Guest Blogger Cliff Villa: Es FEMA El Problema? Hurricane Maria and the Slow Road to Recovery in Puerto Rico

Strolling west on Calle Loiza from the Ocean Park neighborhood of San Juan, Puerto Rico, you could miss the devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria last September.  Here in early May 2018, runners and walkers lap the track at Parque Barbosa while middle-aged men try to keep pace with younger guys on the sheltered basketball court.  …


Rebuilding: Lessons from Katrina and Sandy

Recent experience shows that rebuilding is a slow, frustrating process.

We’ve had experience with the rebuilding process twice in the past dozen years, after Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy. The storm destruction takes place in a matter of days, but rebuilding takes years — just like the difference between the instant it takes to break a leg and the subsequent weeks of wearing a cast. Houston …


Legal Responses to the Santa Barbara Refugio Oil Spill

Exploring potential penalties and damages

Last Tuesday, a 24-inch underground oil pipeline on the beautiful Santa Barbara County coastline burst for reasons as of yet unknown. Over the course of several hours, an estimated 101,000 gallons of crude oil spilled down a storm drain, on the shoreline, and into the Pacific Ocean. As of late last week, oil had spread …


The Damage Caused by Climate Change Induced Natural Disasters

Joe Romm has posted a mildly interesting post on the damage from natural disasters.  A couple of thoughts. 1.  Ignoring the last year of the data, the reported Figure 15 shows that in the average year that North America suffers roughly 15 billion dollars worth of damage from natural disasters.   I have two evil …


A Run of Bad Luck

A Brookings report, The Year that Shook the Rich: A Review of Natural Disasters in 2011, points out that 2011 was the worst year in history in terms of costly natural disasters: 2011 was the most expensive year in terms of disaster losses in history, mostly because of a spate of disasters affecting developed countries. …


More Trouble at Fukushima

According to the Washington Post, the situation inside the reactors is grim. Tuesday’s examination with an industrial endoscope detected radiation levels up to 10 times the fatal dose inside the chamber. Plant officials previously said more than half of melted fuel has breached the core and dropped to the floor of the primary containment vessel, …


A Gateway to Information on the BP Spill

There’s getting to be too much material on the disaster in the Gulf to keep up with.  With the assistance of Aspen Publishing, we’ve posted a list of two-dozen key links here — just click on the “Related Links” tab on the left side of the page.  The Berkeley Law Library is working on a …


A Two-Word Phrase Beginning with “Cluster” and Rhyming with “Luck”

There’s a classic military term for the series of foul-ups that led to the BP oil spill.


The Odds of Failure

First, “human error” is a cop-out when you’re dealing with major technology. . . . Second, it’s probably true that this was a very unlikely way for any particular oil rig to go wrong, but that doesn’t mean much because there are a lot of rigs out there in the Gulf.