The Winding Path of Australian Climate Policy
After many travails, the country now seems to be headed in the right direction.
On a per capita basis, Australia’s carbon emissions are even higher than the United States. A decade ago, Australia had a climate tax. That was repealed in 2014, and the ensuing period saw little progress. In the past two years, however, the things have started trending upward after years of inaction by conservative governments. More …
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Wetlands Regulation in the Political Swamp
The Congressional Review Act remains bad for policy and worse for democratic deliberation.
Last December, the Biden administration issued a rule defining the scope of the federal government’s authority over streams and wetlands. Congressional Republicans vowed to overturn the rule, using a procedure created by the Congressional Review Act. If Congress is going to repeal something, it should be the Congressional Review Act rather than the Biden rule. …
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Congressional Cancel Culture
Once again, the Congressional Review Act rears its ugly head.
The Congressional Review Act (CRA) provides a fast-track process for canceling regulations if they hit an ideological nerve or offend a powerful special interest. Congressional Republicans are busily trying use it to cancel environmental regulations. Earlier this month, the target was a regulation encouraging pension managers to consider the impact of climate risks on their …
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When Bad Things Happen to Good Regulations
The GOP’s effort cancel a pension reg illustrates the evils of the Congressional Review Act.
In their crusade against “wokeness,” congressional Republicans are taking aim at Labor Department rule about pension plan investments. The rule’s transgression is apparently that it makes easier for pension plans to consider how climate-related risks might affect a company’s bottom line. To avoid being woke, the GOP would apparently prefer pension managers to close their …
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Biden’s silent climate victory lap
The president talks up his climate laws without saying “climate.” Can the U.S. meet its climate goals without telling voters about them?
Well, we finally got a real “Infrastructure Week.” President Biden has been traveling from Baltimore to New York to Kentucky, touting his major legislative achievements in front of trains, tunnels and bridges. He’s talking up both the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) as a warm-up for his State …
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50 Years Ago: Environmental Law in 1973
Five decades back, the country was in the midst of unprecedented environmental ferment.
1973 was at the crest of the environmental surge that swept the United States half a century ago. In the previous three years, Congress had passed NEPA, the Clean Air Act, and the Clean Water Act. The first EPA Administrator took office in 1971. Continuing the legislative wave, 1973 saw the passage of the Endangered …
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Is Bipartisanship Possible?
It’s not easy in today’s polarized politics. But maybe it’s not completely off the table.
We are now, as so often, in a time of divided government. That makes bipartisan cooperation necessary. We are also in a time of hyper-partisanship. The problem may be compounded by the concessions made by McCarthy to the far Right in order to become Speaker. Nevertheless, there may be some opportunities for cooperation across party …
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Does Ideology Kill?
Interpreting the association between conservatism and COVID death rates.
There is mounting evidence of an association between conservative politics and COVID impacts. Indeed, the higher death rate among Republicans may even have swung some close elections. A recent study sheds light on how ideology and death rates interact. As the Washington Post reports, the results were striking: “Covid death rates were 11 percent higher …
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The Year Ahead
Here are the top ten environment and energy developments to watch for.
Here we are, starting another year. Last year turned out to have some major environmental developments. The most notable were the Supreme Court’s ruling in West Virginia case, striking down the Clean Power Plan, and the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, with its huge economic incentives for clean energy. Here’s quick rundown of what …
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DeSantis and the Environment
A Little Bit of Nepotism and a Lot of Everglades Protection.
Compared to Donald Trump, Ron DeSantis is practically a Greta Thunberg on environmental issues. Of course, by the same token, I’m practically a Steph Curry on the court compared to Danny DeVito. Sarcasm aside, DeSantis is pretty good on environmental issues for a Republican. But he rarely mentions climate change, and his record on renewable …
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