Climate Adaptation

…In Which I Attempt To Read My Water Bill

Failure To Install Smart Water Meters Is Wasting Billions of Gallons Each Year

I felt at least decently about myself when I paid my water bill recently, because I was told that my usage was somewhat better than other people in my neighborhood (which is a low bar, but you take what you can get). But when I tried to figure out why it was better, I got …

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Is Bipartisanship Possible?

An image of the U.S. Capitol Building in the evening.

It’s not easy in today’s polarized politics. But maybe it’s not completely off the table.

We are now, as so often, in a time of divided government. That makes bipartisan cooperation necessary. We are also in a time of hyper-partisanship.  The problem may be compounded by the concessions made by McCarthy to the far Right in order to become Speaker.  Nevertheless, there may be some opportunities for cooperation across party …

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Climate Rides the Omnibus

An image of the U.S. Capitol Building in the evening.

The year-end law gives a boost to climate-related spending

The omnibus spending bill is by no means a “climate law.”  Because it spans the entire government, though, it has many provisions relating to climate change. They aren’t dramatic step forward. But the fact that they can pass as part of a bipartisan spending law is a sign of how climate change is slowly becoming …

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Loss and Damage

A deeper dive into the top issue at COP27

As I noted in my last post, this year’s conference of the parties to the climate treaties (COP27) became pretty much a single-issue conference, focused on adaptation and the associated needs for finance – in particular on the urgent need for financial assistance to support adaptation in the Global South, and the lamentable record of …

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Concealing Plutocracy

California’s battles over rooftop solar obscure the real culprits: Gavin Newsom and Silicon Valley billionaires

The LA Times’ inestimable Sammy Roth reports on the attempt of California’s investor-owned utilities to end “net metering,” whereby utilities must pay customers with rooftop solar for their excess electricity. Roth has been highly skeptical of the utilities’ drive: it’s an age of climate crisis, and the state’s Public Utilities Commission is going to reduce …

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The Sleepwalking COP

Thoughts on COP27, this year’s climate conference

It’s two weeks since the end of this year’s annual Conference of the Parties to the international climate treaties, COP27, held in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. You might have noticed an odd vagueness in accounts of this year’s COP.  These annual meetings are huge media events — understandably, since they are the highest-level international event on …

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DeSantis and the Environment      

A Little Bit of Nepotism and a Lot of Everglades Protection.

Compared to Donald Trump, Ron DeSantis is practically a Greta Thunberg on environmental issues.  Of course, by the same token, I’m practically a Steph Curry on the court compared to Danny DeVito. Sarcasm aside, DeSantis is pretty good on environmental issues for a Republican. But he rarely mentions climate change, and his record on renewable …

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Wildfires and the Grid

Wildfires are huge problem in California. Maybe we can learn from those on the other end of the Pacific.

California and Australia are 8000 miles apart, but it turns out they have similar wildfire problems.  And in both cases, the electric grid and climate change are part of the equation.  The problems in California and the rest of the West are familiar to many readers. Though they don’t necessarily get much attention in the …

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A Stealth Climate Bill

There’s more money for climate action tucked away in a must-pass bill.

Surprise! The lame-duck Congress is about to consider another bill with billions of dollars of spending for climate adaptation and emission reductions. Another surprise: the bill is named for Senator James Inhofe. In case you’ve forgotten, he’s the climate change denier who once took a snowball to the Senate floor to disprove climate change. You …

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Scenarios and Uncertainty

Imagining different futures can be the best way to think through options when we don’t know the odds.

In environmental law, we’re often operating at the limits of knowledge about the natural world and human behavior.  Climate change is well understood in some ways, but it will set off a chain of reactions that we only partly understand.  It’s also difficult to predict the future of ecosystems, future energy prices, technological changes, and …

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