Here’s an explainer on how federal regulations get issued and reviewed by courts.
Even most lawyers, let alone the rest of the population, are a bit fuzzy on how the regulatory system works. As the Biden Administration is gearing up to start a slew of regulatory proceedings, here’s what you need to know about the process. Issuing Regulations Q: Where do agencies like EPA get the power to …CONTINUE READING
Every year, Congress provides lavish funding for clean energy and climate adaptation. No one notices.
Biden’s green-infrastructure bill is headline news. Republicans are up in arms. Yet every year there’s already a green-infrastructure bill. Hardly anyone notices. Republicans vote for it without a fuss. Why? It’s part of the annual funding bill for the military. The Defense Department remains the biggest single consumer of energy in the country, and it …CONTINUE READING
Whether to declare a climate emergency is debatable. But some critics have gone way overboard.
Should Biden declare a national climate emergency? There are certainly arguments that, on balance, it would be better not to take that step. Some opponents argue that declaring a climate emergency would be horribly anti-democratic, polarizing, and counterproductive. Those arguments seem to me seriously overstated. I’d like to go through the major arguments against declaring …CONTINUE READING
The federal government takes a big step, but state leaders still have a role to play
On Thursday the White House issued an Executive Order on Climate-Related Financial Risk that outlines a key plank in the Biden Administration’s whole-of-government approach to addressing climate change. Whereas the Trump Administration sought to actively block consideration of environmental factors in investment decision-making, the Biden Administration is directing financial and climate regulators to develop strategies …CONTINUE READING
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 Last week, EPA rescinded the rule.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 …CONTINUE READING
Should we adopt a corporate carbon tax? Something to think about on Tax Day.
Today is Tax Day, delayed from its usual spot in mid-April due a backlog at the IRS. It seems like an apt time to think about a carbon tax. At present, it doesn’t seem to be on Biden’s agenda, but agendas can change with circumstances, sometimes unpredictably. Politically, the biggest problem with a carbon tax …CONTINUE READING
Guest Contributors Clara Barnosky, Jane Sadler, Richard Yates, and Zachary Zimmerman: The Biden Administration’s First 100 Days of Reversing Environmental Rollbacks
An Early Analysis of Progress and Priorities in the Executive Branch
In the final months of the Trump presidency, we (a team of students working with U.C. Berkeley’s Center for Law, Energy and the Environment (CLEE)) compiled a database of over 200 environmental rollbacks enacted during the Trump administration. These rollbacks characterized the administration’s aggressive focus on deregulation of industry and disregard of protections for the …CONTINUE READING
Biden has set up a lot of future actions. But he’s already got some notches on his belt.
Tomorrow marks Biden’s first 100 days in office. He’s appointed a great climate team and is negotiating an infrastructure bill that focuses on climate change. With luck, those actions will produce major environmental gains down the road. There are also some solid gains in the form of actions that have already come to fruition. Here’s …CONTINUE READING
Soil is an important carbon sink. It’s literally going down the drain, eroding away.
Today is Earth Day. Let’s talk about something earthy: the dirt under our feet. When I was a kid growing up in central Illinois, the topsoil was black and went down about a foot. When I was a little older and tried gardening, I was amazed at the fertility of the soil. When I’ve gone …CONTINUE READING
Brazil asks for a billion dollars to slow deforestation. Would this be cooperation or extortion?
In March, US President Joe Biden invited the leaders of 40 countries to a virtual climate change summit, which takes place today and tomorrow. During the lead-up to this, many countries announced commitments of varying specificity and firmness to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. (I hope to write soon on the European Union.) Brazil’s position is …CONTINUE READING