Air Quality

Tackling Agricultural Methane: Monitoring and Policy Strategies

A review of inventory, monitoring, and regulatory tools needed to reduce agricultural methane emissions

(This post was authored by Eric Peshkin, a JD candidate at NYU School of Law and CLEE summer research assistant) Last week, global leaders announced a commitment to reducing global methane emissions. In a previous blog post, I briefly reviewed some of the innovative strategies to reduce methane emissions from agricultural livestock and rice operations, …

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California Enacts Historic Housing Reform Laws

Legislation Promotes New Housing, Infill Development, & Reduced Air Pollution

The California Legislature recently enacted, and Governor Gavin Newsom last week signed into law, two major housing reform measures.  SB 9 and SB 10 represent California’s most transformative new housing laws in decades, and are a belated but welcome legislative response to the state’s longstanding housing crisis. SB 9, authored by California State Senate leader …

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What If We Succeed?

If we “beat” climate change, what will we have to show for it?

Suppose we bring climate change under control and deal with its fallout. What will have we achieved? We will have prevented great harm. That, of course, is the main goal. Untamed climate change means an dangerous, ugly future for all of us on “Spaceship Earth.” Preventing that future is surely enough of a reason to …

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Blue Skies and Wildfire in California

An opinion piece in the NY Times reveals a disconnect between history and what we expect from wildfires and air quality

There’s a lot of news coverage about the wildfires on the West Coast right now, and rightly so. But with that news coverage comes a lot of commentary, some of which might lead us down the wrong policy path. I want to highlight an example from the New York Times opinion page, not because it …

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Why I Was Wrong About Methane

I didn’t think cutting methane was a high priority. Now I do. Here’s why.

I didn’t use to think that eliminating methane emissions should be a priority. True, methane is a potent greenhouse gas. But it’s also a short-lived one, which only stays in the atmosphere for twenty years or so. In contrast, CO2 emissions cause warming for 2-3 centuries or more. So methane emissions seemed to be something …

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Cost-Benefit Analysis and the Biden EPA

The recent rescission of  a Trump rule hints at how the Biden Administration views the role of cost-benefit analysis.

In its closing days, the Trump Administration issued a rule designed to tilt EPA’s cost-benefit analysis of air pollution regulations in favor of industry. Last week, EPA rescinded the rule.  The rescission was no surprise, given that the criticisms of the Trump rule by economists as well as environmentalists. EPA’s explanation for the rescission was …

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Appeals Court Nixes NYC Climate Lawsuit

With a clever if contrived argument, the Second Circuit tries to eliminate climate change litigation.

On Friday, the Second Circuit issued an important decision in a lawsuit against the oil industry.  New York City had sued the oil companies for harms relating to climate change. The appeals court ordered the case dismissed, on the ground that any harm relating to fossil fuel is exclusively regulated by the Clean Air Act.  …

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Biden’s Dilemma: Limiting Carbon from Existing Power Plants

It’s not that the policy choices are that hard. It’s the 6-3 Supreme Court.

Coal- and gas-fired power plants are a major source of U.S. carbon emissions. The Obama Administration devised a perfectly sensible, moderate policy to cut those emissions.  The Trump Administration replaced it with a ridiculous token policy.  The D.C. Circuit appeals court tossed that out. Now what? It wouldn’t be hard to redo the Obama policy …

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Regulating Interstate Ozone Pollution: EPA Nears the Finish Line

The regulatory history is dauntingly convoluted. This sixteen year regulatory saga has lessons for climate policy.

EPA issued a rule last week that will significantly improve air quality, particularly on the East Coast.  This is EPA’s fourth and final iteration of a rule-making process to control interstate air pollution that began in 2005.  Reflecting this history, this fourth rule is a second and presumably final revision of an update to an …

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Guest Contributor Aimee Barnes: How the Biden Administration’s Environmental Justice Mapping Tool Can Identify and Target Benefits to Disadvantaged Communities

Lessons Learned From CalEnviroScreen

Just one week after his inauguration, President Joe Biden designated January 27 “Climate Day” at the White House and signed a number of executive orders, including one aimed to “secure environmental justice (EJ) and spur economic opportunity.” Under this executive order, President Biden took the first steps to make good on his campaign’s EJ commitments. …

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