Climate Adaptation

Future Shock

The latest IPCC report contains crucial new information about how soon and how bad climate impacts will be.

When the IPCC released its latest climate science report a few weeks ago, many commentators observed that the report should heighten our sense of urgency about climate action. Most of that discussion was at a very general level. It’s worth taking a closer look at some key findings and their policy implications. Here, I want …

CONTINUE READING

California needs water law reform

Time to update 19th century law to meet 21st century reality

California’s water law was developed in the 19th century. It has not been comprehensively reformed since, despite substantial population growth, changing social values, and the appointment 45 years ago of a blue-ribbon commission to recommend changes. Now the “new normal” of the anthropocene promises reduced water availability coincident with increased demand. It is past time …

CONTINUE READING

Sea Level Rise Legislation Gets Second Chance

Imperial Beach, CA

Senator Ben Allen introduces SB 1078, drawing on vetoed SB 83 (2021)

This week, Senator Ben Allen introduced SB 1078, a bill that would create a Sea Level Rise Revolving Loan Pilot Program to help coastal cities plan proactively for the effects of climate change.  The law draws heavily from the framework of SB 83, which students in the California Environmental Legislation and Policy Clinic worked on, …

CONTINUE READING

Can we govern large-scale green infrastructure for multiple water benefits?

Yolo Bypass Aerial View

by Lidia Cano Pecharroman, Christopher Williams, Nell Green Nylen, and Michael Kiparsky

Green infrastructure is increasingly emphasized as an alternative, novel path for water infrastructure. The possibilities are intriguing: Can we transition from a landscape dominated by siloed grey infrastructure (think concrete and steel, constructed for one or a few key outcomes like water supply or flood control) to one that centers natural processes in water infrastructure …

CONTINUE READING

More on How the Vaccine Mandate Cases May Impact Climate Policy

How much is the Court likely to prune back EPA’s powers?

In a Friday post, I sketched some thoughts about how the Supreme Court’s vaccine mandate rulings might impact EPA’s power to control carbon emissions.  I think it’s worth unpacking both the Court’s opinions a little more and the issues at stake in a pending climate change case, West Virginia v. EPA. The Court ruled in …

CONTINUE READING

Wildfires, CEQA, Climate Change & the Courts

Recent Court Decisions Halt Building Projects, Invalidate CEQA Reviews for Failing to Assess Wildfire Hazards

Environmental and conservation groups have for a number of years attempted to convince California courts of the need to integrate climate change considerations into environmental analyses prepared under the state’s most important environmental law, the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).  However, the California judiciary has demonstrated little appetite for doing so.  Until now. Recently, courts …

CONTINUE READING

Rescuing FEMA (and ourselves)

FEMA needs to grow in order to handle its work. The need for growth will only get greater as time goes on.

2021 was a year of disasters, with extraordinary heat waves, fires, a string of hurricanes, a  cold snap that left Texas in the dark, winter tornados, and torrential rains. FEMA has been left badly overstretched. That’s an urgent problem, and it’s likely a foretaste of the future. This is not just a problem for the …

CONTINUE READING

Arguments over Solar Geoengineering Research

Science Magazine weighs in

Doing research on environmental issues or responses is usually an easy call for policy-makers and gets wide political support, even if there’s disagreement what to do about the issue. But there is now one big exception: research on solar geoengineering (SG).  SG would cool the Earth, temporarily and imperfectly offsetting some of the climate effects …

CONTINUE READING

Africa in 2050

The continent will face vast challenges. Dealing with them is a global priority.

Take explosive population growth, acute vulnerability to future climate change, and social vulnerability.  Stir well and bake. That’s a recipe for trouble. It’s also Africa in 2050. Overcoming the resulting problems is among humanity’s greatest challenges. Currently, 490 million Africans live below the extreme poverty level ($2/day per person). The number is rising but the …

CONTINUE READING

Dear 1L . . . .

Welcome to law school. You’re just in time to help save the world.

Dear 1L: You’ve gotten to law school at a crucial time for the future of the planet. The good news is that you’re arriving at a pivotal point when your work as a lawyer can make a big difference. The bad news is that we have a limited amount of time to get the situation …

CONTINUE READING

TRENDING