Academia

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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How the Coronavirus is (Not) Like Climate Change

Coronavirus

The two have some informative parallels, although some observers draw the wrong conclusions

The coronavirus dominates the news and much of our minds. Here at Legal Planet, we have written about the coronavirus and presidential powers, disaster declarations, fossil fuel production, decision-making under uncertainty, inequality, and cities. I will join the party and consider what are the parallels and differences between the coronavirus crisis and anthropogenic climate change, …

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Tracing Trump’s Trillion Trees

1t website

The president’s embrace of massive tree planting has a remarkable — and questionable — backstory

During last week’s State of the Union address, US President Donald Trump said: To protect the environment, days ago I announced that the United States will join the One Trillion Trees Initiative, an ambitious effort to bring together government and private sector to plant new trees in America and all around the world. Astute regular …

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From the Grand Canyon to Contaminated Cantaloupes – and More

Five books with fresh perspectives on environmental issues.

Law reviews make little effort to track new books, unlike other journals in other disciplines . So it’s pretty much hit-or-miss whether you learn about relevant new books.  I wanted to share some interesting finds that have crossed my desk, joined a growing pile of unread books, and then slowly left the pile. The subjects …

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We Can’t Count on Cutting Greenhouse Gas Emissions to Prevent Dangerous Climate Change

Last week’s climate summit yielded little in the way of action. Photo via UNFCCC.

Although reducing emissions remains essential, it is time to focus on additional responses

Last month, representatives of all countries gathered for their annual meeting to prevent climate change. Despite the motto “Time for Action,” the New York Times described it as “one of the worst outcomes in a quarter-century of climate negotiations.” Should we be surprised? Disappointed? Despairing? I believe that insufficient cuts in greenhouse gas emissions — …

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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.

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.  Like everyone else, I’m sure you find fundraising appeals annoying.  That’s why we hardly ever do them on Legal Planet. But twice a year doesn’t seem like too much …

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Why Don’t States Implement the Polluter Pays Principle?

Pollution, public domain image from user pelotte at pixabay.

An economic analysis suggests why not

Some time ago, I was thinking about the “polluter pays” principle of international environmental law. In this, the source — not its receiving victim — of pollution or other environmental harm should pay for any remediation done and for ending the pollution.  Yet despite the principle’s normative appeal, countries (or “states” in the language of …

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Environmental Law Centers — Western version

It’s not just on the coasts where law schools works on sustainability.

This is part of an occasional series on the work of environmental law centers. My goal in this series is to highlight one of the ways that law schools work for the public interest, not just on the coasts but throughout the country. Here, I’ll focus on the Interior West — the plains, mountains, and …

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New Fellows Join Emmett Institute to Research and Advance Environmental Law

This fall, the Emmett Institute at UCLA Law is welcoming four new fellows for two-year faculty appointments. Holly Buck, Charles Corbett, Benjamin Harris, and Siyi Shen bring a wide range of experience and training to the Institute, and will contribute to projects on climate engineering, environmental governance in China, and more. The new fellows join …

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