Academia

Taking Technology Seriously in Global Environmental Politics

Global Environmental Politics cover

A special issue on new technologies is now available

I am proud to announce a special issue of Global Environmental Politics on new technologies, edited by Simon Nicholson of American University and me, is now available. We write in the introductory essay: Human beings are at once makers of and made by technology. The ability to wield tools was an essential ingredient in propelling an …

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Yes, It’s That Time of Year Again

If you read Legal Planet, you know why the work we do matters.

Like everyone else, I’m sure you find fundraising appeals annoying. That’s why we only do them twice a year.  But there couldn’t be a more important time for the work we do, given the urgency of the climate crisis and the ongoing policy disaster in D.C. Yes, we’re in the middle of a pandemic and …

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The Danger of Climate Change Deadlines

deadline, by geralt at pixabay

Essential targets set by some of the world’s leading climate scientists and policymakers just passed. Now what?

Seven prominent figures in the global climate change policy discourse published an opinion essay in Nature. In “Three years to safeguard our climate,” they set a deadline for key targets to be met in order to stay on track to meet the Paris Agreement’s global warming goals. The notable thing is that the essay was …

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(Still More) Bad News on the Doorstep

New Reports Document Accelerating Wildlife Extinctions, Global Deforestation Trends

While public attention in recent weeks and months has understandably focused on the COVID-19 pandemic and the racial justice shockwaves triggered by George Floyd’s tragic death, another disaster continues apace. This week the New York Times published two alarming stories documenting the accelerating decline of our global environment.  The first, entitled “Extinctions Are Accelerating, Threatening …

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Trees Will *Not* Solve Climate Change

Pine tree plantation, near Thetford cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Bob Jones - geograph.org.uk/p/517891

The authors of a controversial, influential paper backtrack — again

Last summer, I pointed to a then-new paper in Science that concluded that planting trees could remove two-thirds of historical anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions from the atmosphere at very low costs. At the time, I characterized the claims in it and the associated media communications as “misleading, if not false, as well as potentially dangerous.” …

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Nonstate Actors Could Help Govern Solar Geoengineering

Governments are not acting; maybe others could — and should

Although reductions in greenhouse gas emissions continue to be inadequate to prevent dangerous climate change, solar geoengineering appears able to substantially reduce climate risks. More research, including outdoor experiments, is needed to reduce critical uncertainties. This could pose some environmental risks and — arguably more importantly — will raise diverse social concerns, such as research …

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What Do Tomorrow’s Leaders Think About This Mess?

Listening to student voices on the pandemic, climate change, and the future

One thing I’ve always loved about teaching is the opportunity to see important issues through my students’ eyes. So for my last Climate Law and Policy class at UCLA Law this week, I asked my students to tell me what they are thinking about the future of climate policy in light of today’s global circumstances, …

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Richard Epstein Strikes Again

Once again, the famed libertarian law professor offers wildly offbase advice.

Having previously pooh-poohed the dangers of the coronavirus, Richard Epstein is now calling for an immediate end to social distancing and business shutdowns.  It’s unfortunate that he has chosen to dig himself deeper into a hole rather than admitting his earlier mistake and moving on. As I discussed in a previous post, Epstein initially predicted …

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The Epstein Affair

A prominent law prof got COVID-19 numbers disastrously wrong.  Then things got worse.

The New Yorker recently published a devastating interview with law professor Richard Epstein. He had attracted their notice by publishing two columns on the Hoover Institution website, the first projecting a total of 500 U.S. deaths from the coronavirus (later raised to 5000), and the second defending his work.  I don’t see any need to …

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Polticial Bias Versus Scientific Integrity: An Empirical Test

What the effort to pack the EPA’s Scientific Advisory Board can teach us.

Many people distrust environmental science, though for different reasons.  Progressives may discount science that they see as supporting business interests.  Meanwhile, conservatives may think scientists come to “politically correct” conclusions in order to get grants. It’s reasonable to think that these things may sometimes happen.  But how strong are these effects? Unwittingly, the Trump Administration …

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