environmental politics

Towards Optimal Climate Policy, Part II

The future of effective climate policy requires balancing equity, efficiency, political feasibility, and technological innovation

In the prior blog post in this two-part series, I talked about how current debates on climate policy that are focused on equity and efficiency are inadequate. Today, I’ll explain how we might advance political feasibility through climate policy, how that is connected to technological innovation, and how we must necessarily balance between all four …

CONTINUE READING

Public Opinion and the Limits of Climate Policy

There’s a simple reason why it’s so hard to take bold climate actions nationally.

Gallup has studied environmental attitudes in America for several decades.  Their historical compilation is very revealing about our present political situation. It sheds light on why it’s been so hard to develop momentum for real change at the national level, and also about why there’s so much more of a push for change within the …

CONTINUE READING

Towards Optimal Climate Policy, Part I

Moving the debate beyond equity and efficiency

As Congress debates two large pieces of legislation – both a bipartisan infrastructure bill and a partisan reconciliation package – a key question is the extent to which either piece of legislation (assuming it is enacted) addresses climate policy. And the recent flooding in Europe, the wildfires in the western US and Russia, and more …

CONTINUE READING

Why I Was Wrong About Methane

I didn’t think cutting methane was a high priority. Now I do. Here’s why.

I didn’t use to think that eliminating methane emissions should be a priority. True, methane is a potent greenhouse gas. But it’s also a short-lived one, which only stays in the atmosphere for twenty years or so. In contrast, CO2 emissions cause warming for 2-3 centuries or more. So methane emissions seemed to be something …

CONTINUE READING

Anti—Anti-#ClimateEmergency

COP25

Whether to declare a climate emergency is debatable. But some critics have gone way overboard.   

Should Biden declare a national climate emergency?  There are certainly arguments that, on balance, it would be better not to take that step.  Some opponents argue that declaring a climate emergency would be horribly anti-democratic, polarizing, and counterproductive.  Those arguments seem to me seriously overstated.  I’d like to go through the major arguments against declaring …

CONTINUE READING

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 …

CONTINUE READING

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 …

CONTINUE READING

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 …

CONTINUE READING

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 …

CONTINUE READING

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. …

CONTINUE READING

TRENDING