environmental politics

Straws in the Wind

Businesses have intensified public support for climate action. That could presage a major shift in climate politics.

In the past few weeks, there’s been a notable growth of business support for climate action. A letter from the CEOs of 300 hundred major companies called for a 50% cut from 2005 carbon emissions by 2030.  The companies ranged from the utilities to tobacco to investment management. Google, McDonalds,  Walmart, and Philip Morris were …

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The Green MAGA-Deal Goes Public!

It’s something no one expected, and for good reason.

There were gasps of astonishment when Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, and Bernie Sanders took the stage together.  The gasps turned into stunned silence as Trump began to speak.  The trio were there, Trump said, to announce something HUGE, something no one ever expected: the world’s biggest plan for climate action. Trump began by denouncing the …

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When “Stay In Your Lane” Is Wrong

Technical policy questions often involve ethical political questions that the public must have a say in

As vaccination for the coronavirus in the United States ramps up, I want to take a look back to a policy dispute over the initial plans for vaccine distribution at the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021 – in part because that fight (like “follow the science,” which I blogged about recently) also …

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Renewable Energy in the Carolinas

While we were focusing on DC, there has been a lot of action at the state level.

Trump has dominated the national conversation for the past four years. While our eyes were on his efforts to rollback climate action, a lot has been happening at the state level.  This post is the one of an episodic series of posts on state renewable energy policy.  Today, the focus will be on North and …

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Trump’s Pro-Environmental Acts — A VERY Short List

Despite its general hatred of environmental protection, the Trump Administration did manage a few positive steps.

This being the last day of Trump’s presidency, it’s appropriate to look back on his environmental record.  Basically, Trump was to environmental  law as General Sherman was to Georgia.  In the time between his “American carnage” Inaugural Address to his unleashing of carnage on Capitol Hill, he and his minions devoted themselves to environmental destruction. …

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Today Versus 2008

Despite Trump’s efforts, he couldn’t actually reset the clock to the pre-Obama era.

Obama moved us forward. Trump moved us backwards. Are we back where we began? No. Biden starts from a significantly stronger position than Obama did in 2008. In 2008, like today, the outgoing Republican President had adamantly opposed climate action, favored the oil and gas industry, and turned a cold shoulder toward environmental regulation.  Trump …

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Climate Action on the West Coast

Three liberal states with very different climate records.

Although California, Oregon, and Washington are often  considered liberal bastions, they differ widely in how much they’ve been able to do in climate policy.  The scale of their responses has been pretty much proportional to how much of their populations are urban, with conservative rural areas in each state that resist climate action. California.  California …

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Renewable Energy in the Southwest

Despite Trump, the needle has kept moving in the right direction.

The sun is intense in the desert Southwest.  During the Trump years, the federal government has hard worked to promote fossil fuels. Trump also has been no friend of renewable energy. This has not stopped progress toward a cleaner energy mix in Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah. Arizona Arizona’s current power mix is about …

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Bringing Back Earmarks to Save the Climate

Climate action will require overcoming the US democracy deficit.

The U.S. has a democracy deficit.  Winning national majorities isn’t enough to get majorities in Congress. This creates headwinds against climate action.  In the short-run at least, legislative earmarks might be one way to overcome the problem. The House is already planning to bring back earmarks, but the the heart of the problem is the …

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Things to be Thankful For (2020 edition)

Trump has done his best to eliminate federal protection for the environment. But there have been many positive signs.

Nearly four years into the Trump Administration, we’re now accustomed to waking up every morning to learn about a new attack on the environment.  It’s also been an awful year in terms of the pandemic. But there are some things to be thankful for. Here’s how I started a similar post in 2017, nearly a …

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