Federal Climate Policy
No, the Court didn’t eliminate EPA’s ability to fight climate change.
The Supreme Court’s ruling in the West Virginia case left many people with the impression that it eliminated the government’s power to regulate carbon emissions. There are quite a number of areas of climate law that the Supreme Court has left untouched. Here’s the EPA authority the Court hasn’t touched: EPA’s jurisdiction over greenhouse gases. …CONTINUE READING
The Supreme Court is almost certain to cut back on EPA’s power to regulate greenhouse gases. What then?
In West Virginia v. EPA, the Supreme Court is reviewing Obama’s Clean Power Plan. The Clean Power Plan (CPP) itself no longer has any practical relevance, but there’s every reason to predict the Court will strike it down anyway. The ruling will also restrict EPA’s future options. The big question is what the Biden Administration …CONTINUE READING
Today’s ruling are (somewhat) good news in terms of West Virginia v. EPA?
Today, the Court’s conservative Justices split the difference in two cases involving vaccine mandates, striking down OSHA’s mandate but upholding a more limited mandate for healthcare workers. The cases also split the conservative Justices themselves, with three hardliners (Thomas, Alito, and Gorsuch) seeking a more activist ruling in the OSHA case and dissenting in the …CONTINUE READING
The federal government takes a big step, but state leaders still have a role to play
On Thursday the White House issued an Executive Order on Climate-Related Financial Risk that outlines a key plank in the Biden Administration’s whole-of-government approach to addressing climate change. Whereas the Trump Administration sought to actively block consideration of environmental factors in investment decision-making, the Biden Administration is directing financial and climate regulators to develop strategies …CONTINUE READING
A guide to updating the global operating system.
The original Microsoft operating system was called QDOS, for Quick and Dirty Operating System. Bill Gates’s new book might well have been called “A Quick and Dirty Guide to Climate Policy.” The book, How to Avoid a Climate Disaster, provides a concise overview of climate policy, detailing the threat of the climate crisis and a …CONTINUE READING
Use of coal is dwindling across the country, but very unevenly. We need to give it a good shove.
The NY Times ran a story last week about a coal area in Wyoming that is embracing renewable energy as its economic future. Residents of Carbon County, WY, aren’t necessarily happy about it but they recognize that the times are changing. As one county commissioner said, “You can stand at the tracks when the train …CONTINUE READING
State agencies will need help to deal with a fast-changing energy system.
The COVID pandemic has provided a vivid picture of what happens when ill-prepared governments are suddenly hit with huge responsibilities. Underfunded state and local public health agencies were overwhelmed, while governors and local officials found themselves struggling to obtain and distribute vital supplies, from respirators to vaccines. Efforts to accelerate the transition away from carbon, …CONTINUE READING
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 …CONTINUE READING
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 …CONTINUE READING
We need the help of far-flung parts of the federal government to deal with climate.
President Biden will have to rely on administrative action to do much or all of the heavy lifting in climate policy. It’s clear that EPA has a central role to play in climate policy, but EPA does not stand alone. Other agencies also have important roles to play. Fortunately, the Biden transition team seems to …CONTINUE READING