Academia

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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How the Coronavirus is (Not) Like Climate Change

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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