Spotlight on San Antonio
The role of transparency in municipal climate plans
Last week, San Antonio’s City Council approved its first-ever Climate Action and Adaptation Plan. This Plan’s main benefit is its ability to track and measure GHG emissions, while also signaling to City agencies, other municipalities, and the state that it is committed to climate mitigation and adaptation efforts. This is a big win for a …
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Phase Changes in Public Opinion
Public opinion on an issue like climate change can sometimes flip quickly. Here’s why.
You might think that the public’s view of an issue – climate change for instance – would evolve continuously as events occur and information becomes available. That often may be the case, but sometimes public opinion can change relatively quickly. A prime example is the legitimacy of same-sex marriage, which went from being a weird, …
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Straws in the Wind? Climate Change and the GOP.
There are some signs the GOP may finally bestarting to acknowledge the reality of climate change.
Is Republican climate denial starting to crack? The GOP’s official position has long been that climate change isn’t happening, or if it is, it’s not caused by humans, and anyway it’s not that serious and there’s nothing to be done about. Three events last week may be signs that this position is starting to weaken. …
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SB 827 and the Concept of Deregulation
When land-use deregulation gets characterized as regulation, and why
Perhaps the biggest topic in land-use law and housing affordability in California over the past couple of months has been a piece of legislation introduced by State Senator Wiener, SB 827. Ethan has blogged quite a bit about the bill – the basic concept of the legislation is to eliminate or significantly restrict a number …
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Public Lands Watch: Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
Senate budget resolution being considered this week could open refuge to oil drilling
One of the longest lasting fights over the federal public lands has been whether to open up portions of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to oil and gas development. The Refuge is one of the most important and largest protected areas in North America – it is unusual in that it protects the …
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200 Days and Counting: Budget
What are the implications of changes to the federal budget for environmental law?
The Trump Administration has proposed draconian cuts to a range of environmental and science agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Interior, NASA’s climate science work, and NOAA’s science and regulatory programs. Here we’ll talk about the potential implications of dramatic budget cuts, and then the likelihood they will occur, at least for …
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200 Days and Counting: Legislation
What are the prospects for major environmental legislation in the near future?
From the perspective of environmental law, one of the most important questions is whether full Republican control of Congress and the White House would lead to fundamental changes to significant environmental laws. These are the kinds of changes that would be most important over the long-run, from a legal perspective. Laws are hard to pass …
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Thoughts on AB 398
New bill to extend state’s cap-and-trade program is a compromise worth making
The Governor and state legislative leaders announced a deal on a bill to extend the state’s cap-and-trade program to control greenhouse gas emissions through 2030, along with companion legislation to increase emissions reductions for conventional pollutants from major stationary industrial sources (a key point for environmental justice groups). Some leading business groups have endorsed the …
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Is the Endangered Species Act a success?
Why the number of listed species that are no longer endangered is not a good measure of the Act’s success
The Republican-controlled Senate Environment and Public Works Committee held hearings a couple of weeks ago on “reforming” the Endangered Species Act. (Coverage here and here, second link behind a paywall.) An important theme of the hearing was arguments by Republican Senators that the ESA has failed because only a small fraction of species listed for …
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The GOP’s stealth carbon tax?
Republican proposals for border adjustment tax are equivalent to a carbon tax on oil
One of the leading proposals being floated by Republicans for tax reform is what is called a border adjustment tax. Put simply, it would tax corporate income on imports into the U.S. and leave income from exports tax exempt. The policy argument for it is that it would simplify tax administration for large, multinational companies …
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