Federal Climate Policy

Elections Matter – Even More Than You Thought.

Three ultra-close elections put us a dozen years behind in climate policy.

I don’t know about you, but I’m finding it hard to keep focused on November 3, 2020, given the confusing welter of candidates on one side and the daily bombshells issuing from the other.  So maybe this is a good time for a reminder of a why elections matter.  In fact, they not only matter, …

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HR 9: The First Climate Bill to Pass the House In a Decade

What you need to know about the bill.

Last Thursday, for the first time in a decade, the House of Representatives passed a climate change bill.  HR 9, the Climate Action Now Act, passed on a vote of 231-190. The heart of HR 9 is section 3, which blocks the use of any federal funds to withdraw from the Paris Agreement.  Section 4 …

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Climate Change in the Political Spotlight

Climate change has been a low-visibility political issue. That may be changing.

Generally, climate change doesn’t get much attention as a political issue. That may be changing now. And if it is, that could have important implications. One sign of the times is Jay Inslee’s run for the Presidency. He may not be at the top of the lists of prospects, but he’s an established, well-respected political …

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Do Impossible Regulatory Deadlines Cause Faster Progress?

A: Maybe, but only in a roundabout way. (And at a cost.)

Just about nobody who’s knowledgeable in the field thinks the U.S. electric grid can  be made carbon free in ten years.  Having spent the past two years lambasting the Trump Administration for ignoring the experts, I’m loathe to disagree with the expert opinion on this one. But even if the ten-year deadline set by supporters …

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Scoping Out the Green New Deal

How would we go about decarbonizing the most needy U.S. states?

Progressives are calling for a Green New Deal.  The details are still very fuzzy, despite the House resolution introduced by Markey and Ocasio-Cortez. That proposal as a ten-year timetable to eliminate carbon, which is highly unrealistic. Nevertheless, it’s worth thinking about what an all-out effort to decarbonizing the economy would look like.  The Green New …

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To Dream the Impossible Dream

What are the pros and cons of yesterday’s proposal for a Green New Deal?

The Green New Deal proposal introduced by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey is a call for drastic action to address climate change. Specifically, section 1(A) says that “it is the duty of the Federal Government to create a Green New Deal . . . to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions through a fair …

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The Carbon Tax — More Attractive Than Ever

Due to the latest tax bill, a carbon tax look like a great strategy when the Dems take power again.

Sooner or later,  the Democrats will take control of Congress and the White House, just like the Republicans right now. That’s not a political prediction so much as a recognition that the wheel is bound to turn around at some point.  At that point, they should give very serious consideration to the possibility of a …

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Obama’s Final Words on Climate Change

Final words as President, that is.

In his Farewell Address, President Obama had this to say about climate change: “Take the challenge of climate change.  In just eight years, we’ve halved our dependence on foreign oil, doubled our renewable energy, and led the world to an agreement that has the promise to save this planet.  But without bolder action, our children …

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Trump Has Thrown Down the Gauntlet

Trump’s latest cabinet appointment confirms the pattern: he plans to govern from the far Right.

Given that Trump has shifted his positions so often, there’s always been at least a faint hope that he would rethink his vehement opposition to environmental protection. True, he had called climate change a Chinese hoax, but he later said he had an open mind about the Paris Agreement and then he had an apparently …

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The Clean Power Plan Oral Arguments

After marathon hearing, EPA comes out on top

Greetings, Legal Planet readers! As many of you know, I left the UCLA Law community several months ago for a new position in the environmental law world. But today, I emerge from blog-retirement for one very special post: insights from Tuesday’s oral arguments in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals over EPA’s Clean Power Plan. …

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