How can California reconcile the dual needs of managing for fire risk and producing more housing?
This is the last in a series of four blog posts discussing the issue of development in the wildland-urban interface in California, the current legal structures addressing the issue, and our research on how those legal frameworks are being applied on the ground in key counties in the state. In this blog post, we’ll discuss …CONTINUE READING
What our data says about development in the WUI in California
This is the third in a series of four blog posts discussing the issue of development in the wildland-urban interface in California, the current legal structures addressing the issue, and our research on how those legal frameworks are being applied on the ground in key counties in the state. In this blog post, we summarize …CONTINUE READING
California’s legal framework for development in the wildland-urban interface
This is the second in a series of four blog posts discussing the issue of development in the wildland-urban interface in California, the current legal structures addressing the issue, and our research on how those legal frameworks are being applied on the ground in key counties in the state. These blog posts summarize our recent …CONTINUE READING
Examining whether California law facilitates development in fire-prone areas
All too many Californians have lost their homes, and even their lives, as fires have raced through exurbs, suburbs, and even portions of towns and cities over the past several years. A key issue that policymakers are wrestling with is the extent to which new development has increased the risk to people and property from …CONTINUE READING
There are small but hopeful signs of progress in overcoming legislative gridlock.
Over a decade ago, the Waxman-Markey carbon trading bill died in the Senate. President Obama then had to rely entirely on administrative actions to address climate change. Republicans united in a solid wall of violent opposition to climate action. There are some hopeful signs that things may not be quite so tough for President Biden. …CONTINUE READING
Despite the pandemic-induced global economic contraction, deforestation increased last year, with significant increases in the destruction of primary tropical forests.
Earlier this week, the World Resources Institute released its first assessment of global forest loss for 2020, offering a chance to take stock of what happened to the world’s forests during the pandemic. The news is not good. Despite a shrinking global economy, deforestation increased around the world in 2020. In temperate regions, some …CONTINUE READING
Why Stopping Deforestation May be the Hardest and Most Important Part of the Climate Change Challenge
When contemplating the enormous challenge of global climate change, it is sometimes helpful to think about a simple model of the global carbon budget (see figure below). These admittedly reductionist schematics distinguish between sources, sinks, and reservoirs. Fossil hydrocarbons from the geological reservoir–call this dead carbon—are extracted and burned to generate energy, emitting vast amounts …CONTINUE READING
How can we limit the spread of wildfires and save people and property?
Wildfires are already a serious problem, and climate change will only make the problem worse, as I’ve discussed in my two prior posts. Reducing carbon emissions can help keep the problem from growing, but we need to deal with the risks we’re already facing. That is going to require a portfolio of risk management strategies. We …CONTINUE READING
Drought, Bark Beetle Infestation, Climate Change Imperil Sierra Pine Forests
Like over 600 other environmental lawyers, professors, law students and regulators, I attended the 25th annual Environmental Law Conference at Yosemite last weekend. As always, the Conference–sponsored by the California State Bar’s Environmental Law Section–was a big success, filled with inspirational speakers and thought-provoking panels. But the major topic of conversation–during the Conference proceedings, in …CONTINUE READING
The GOP favors the Old West of ranching, logging, mining, and oil. The Democrats have a different view.
The Democratic and Republican parties have very different ideas about the 640 million acres of land owned by the federal government, mostly in the West. It’s not just that the party platforms disagree about the balance between preservation and resource exploitation. It’s also that Democrats have a much different vision of the future of the American …CONTINUE READING