Future Shock

The latest IPCC report contains crucial new information about how soon and how bad climate impacts will be.

When the IPCC released its latest climate science report a few weeks ago, many commentators observed that the report should heighten our sense of urgency about climate action. Most of that discussion was at a very general level. It’s worth taking a closer look at some key findings and their policy implications. Here, I want …


A Major Challenge for Avoiding Climate Change Hides In Plain Sight

Bio-energy with carbon capture and storage

If we probably cannot keep global warming within agreed-upon limits by reducing emissions alone, how could we?

Next week, the international body responsible for assessing climate change will release a special report on the 1.5°C target, an ambitious, international goal to limit global warming that became part of the Paris Agreement in 2015. The report might mark a significant turning point for how policy makers, the scientific community, and others think about …


Celebrating Four Decades of Energy Innovation: The California Energy Commission at 40

How California & the Commission Launched Their Acclaimed Energy Policy–& the Challenges That Lie Ahead

This month marks the 40th anniversary of California’s landmark Warren-Alquist Act, which created the state Energy Commission and triggered a transformation of energy policy in California, across the U.S., and abroad. This week an impressive group of energy policymakers, political leaders, energy scholars and Energy Commission alumni gathered at events in Sacramento and at the U.C. Davis …


Los Angeles Heat Waves, Electricity Use and Climate Change

It is 102 degrees in Los Angeles as I write this.  Not in the San Fernando Valley or in the communities east of Los Angeles whose temperatures are regularly several degrees higher but in downtown Los Angeles.  We’re in record heat territory and way above historical averages.  But temperatures aren’t the only records that are …


IPCC Report Highlights Need for Rapid Shift to Renewable Energy; Delay Will be Costly

Meanwhile, EPA Considers Methane Regulations for Oil and Gas Production

According to the newest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) mitigation report, only a few decades remain to halt the worst effects of global climate change. To meet climate goals, globally we will need to reduce emissions to 40 to 70 percent below today’s levels, by mid-century. Delaying action will be enormously costly from an …


The Olympics of Climate Change: Warsaw 2013

What to know, where to watch

It’s that time again! The United Nations’ COP19/CMP9 Climate Change Conference kicked off this week in Warsaw, the start of two weeks of international discussion on climate change.  The conference hosts the parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol, as a yearly update and check-in on these treaties, …


Lastest IPCC assessment of future climate changes leaked in draft form

We knew the coming Fifth Assessment Report of the IPCC, which I discussed briefly here, would make waves–just not this soon.  The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change produces these assessments every five to seven years.  They are the most rigorous and prominent summaries of the science of climate change, crafted by leading scientists from many nations and used …


Energy Forecasts, Accuracy and Climate Change

The U.S.  Energy Information Administration (EIA) provides very important forecasts of energy prices, consumption, efficiency and so forth.  The EIA produces short, long term and annual outlooks that are widely regarded as among the best and most independent forecasts of the state of the nation’s energy use.  The agency even has statutory authority to operate …


Legal Planet reviews the IPCC

Congratulations to our LP colleagues Sean Hecht and Dan Farber for having been designated as expert reviewers of the IPCC 5th assessment report, to be published in 2014.  They will be reviewing the drafts issued by Working Group II, which assesses climate change impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability.  The IPCC’s assessment reports, written every five to seven years, have not been without …


A Friendly Note to Richard Muller

Richard Muller is a Berkeley physicist who has expressed skepticism over the integrity of some climate science.  For example, he suggested that the famous hockey stick might be a distortion because the only sources with temperature readings that go back far enough in time might be located near heat sources. Not surprisingly, climate deniers and their political …