Academia

Implementing the “Biden Environmental Litigation Bounce-Back”

Encouraging Signals As To How Biden’s USDOJ Will Resolve Environmental Lawsuits Originally Brought Against the Trump Administration

The transition from the Trump Administration to the Biden Administration makes for fascinating spectator sport.  President Biden’s first month in office reveals that he and his Administration are committed to undoing the widespread damage former President Trump and his minions engineered across so many policy and legal areas.  The environment is a particularly prominent example. …

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Legal Planeteer Ann Carlson Joins Biden Administration

UCLA Environmental Law Professor Named NHTSA General Counsel

President Joe Biden has appointed UCLA environmental law professor–and frequent Legal Planet contributor–Ann Carlson to serve as General Counsel of the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).  NHTSA, part of the U.S. Department of Administration (USDOT), plays a key regulatory role in charting federal transportation policy. Professor Carlson has anchored UCLA School of Law’s …

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New Fellows Join the UCLA Emmett Institute

Adrien Abecassis and Beth Kent bring expertise in international diplomacy and environmental justice to UCLA’s environmental law programs. 

Belated introductions are due for two new fellows who joined the UCLA Emmett Institute this summer, Adrien Abecassis and Beth Kent. Abecassis and Kent join four other Emmett Institute fellows, Charles Corbett, Benjamin Harris, Jesse Reynolds, and Siyi Shen, in limited-term faculty appointments at UCLA Law, conducting research, teaching classes, and supporting our public service. …

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The IPCC Misses the Mark on Solar Geoengineering

Cover of IPCC's special report on 1.5°C warming

The Intergovernmental Panel Climate Change poorly portrays the “institutional and social constraints to deployment related to governance”

Not long ago, I re-read the top-level messages from the Intergovernmental Panel Climate Change (IPCC) on solar geoengineering’s governance issues. The Summary for Policymakers of most recent broad report, Global Warming of 1.5°C (SR1.5), says, in full: Solar radiation modification (SRM) [i.e. solar geoengineering] measures are not included in any of the available assessed pathways. …

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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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