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 …CONTINUE READING
Which court has jurisdiction? State court or federal?
Yesterday, the Ninth Circuit ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in two climate change cases brought against the oil industry. The court ruled on a narrow but important procedural issue: whether the cases should be sent back to state court. Cities and counties should now be able to continue with the cases, in which they …CONTINUE READING
Local Governments’ Climate Change Lawsuits Against Big Energy Belong in State Courts, Court of Appeals Rules
Today the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit handed numerous California local governments a major win over major oil, gas and coal companies in several of the nation’s most consequential set of climate change lawsuits. The Ninth Circuit did so in two separate opinions; County of San Mateo v. Chevron Corporation and City of …CONTINUE READING
“Climate change”? “Disruption”? “Crisis”? “Emergency”? Why is this so hard?
We seem to have a lot of trouble in coming up with the right name for what’s happening to the world’s climate. We started with “Global Warming.” But that seemed too narrow, because the changes don’t just relate to temperature, and too innocuous, because warming seems like a gentle process. So scientists shifted to “Climate …CONTINUE READING
How much talk about climate are we likely to hear?
Climate change has surfaced as an issue in the Democratic primaries much more than it has in past elections. What’s likely to happen in the general election? Start with Trump. Given his freeform speaking style, he’s likely to at least touch on climate change and fossil fuels from time to time. The question is how …CONTINUE READING
What duties do countries have to avoid causing global harms?
There’s been talk lately of demanding compensation if a country’s negligence allowed a disease to spread globally. There is a long history of discussion regarding similar damage claims in international environmental law. The same principles seem applicable to disease spread. In theory, damages should be available in both cases. The core principle of international liability …CONTINUE READING
Guest Contributors Rosa Hayes and Samantha Peltz: Silver Linings in the 9th Circuit’s Juliana Decision
Juliana Litigation Provides Clues for Establishing Standing in Future Cases
For many aspiring environmental litigators, such as ourselves, the bold Juliana litigation was the little-case-that-could: it presented a novel constitutional theory to redress the climate crisis, survived a motion to dismiss against all odds, and went up to the Supreme Court not once, but twice. But on January 17, 2020, Juliana hit a significant roadblock …CONTINUE READING
Climate progress continued despite Trump
Trump’s election in 2016 didn’t halt or even slow action in the states on renewable energy and climate change. Things have hit “pause” during the pandemic, but that should be only temporary. All of this ferment at the state level should help lay the groundwork for future federal action. Here’s what’s been happening in some …CONTINUE READING
Emissions should decrease but multiple factors complicate any predictions
It might seem obvious that phasing out oil and gas production in California would benefit the climate. But the reality is much more complicated, in terms of emissions, economics and even geopolitics. CLEE just released the report Legal Grounds with policy options to reduce in-state production, but the question of how much a phase out …CONTINUE READING
The first explicit, meaningful outdoor test garnered little attention in the news or from environmentalists
In response to insufficient cuts in greenhouse gas emission, some scientists and others are researching solar geoengineering. These techniques would reflect a small portion of incoming sunlight to cool the planet and counter climate change. A major step in solar geoengineering was recently taken, although you probably wouldn’t know it from reading the news or …CONTINUE READING