Climate Change

Trump and Fossil Fuels

How much has Trump helped fossil fuel production? Not as much as he probably thinks. But enough to make climate change worse.

Trump has a single energy policy: expand production and use of fossil fuels. That also dictates his environmental policy, which is to eliminate any regulation that might get in the way.  How much effect has his love affair of fossil fuels had?  Short answer: not as much he thinks, but more than environmentalists would like. …

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Trump’s ACE Rule Hits a Judicial Speed Bump

The judges seemed skeptical of Trump’s Affordable Clean Energy rule last week

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments about  Trump’s Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule last week. The ACE rule is a feeble substitute for Obama’s Clean Power Rule, which was Obama’s signature climate action regulating power plants. The argument went badly for the Trump folks. Even Judge Justin Walker, a 38-year-old whose main …

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Battle for the Senate: South Carolina

No one thought the South Carolina Senate seat would be in play six months ago.

As chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Lindsey Graham is in the spotlight this week due to the Barrett nomination.  I didn’t originally have his seat on my list of Senate races to watch.  However, although the race still leans in his favor, the seat is now considered to be in play.  It’s worth comparing …

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Removing Climate Liability Plaintiffs from State Court Could Create Logjam in Federal Courts

The U.S. Supreme Court is set to decide a nuanced issue of procedural law that could create a loophole which would dramatically expand the reach of federal appellate jurisdiction and prevent climate plaintiffs from suing oil companies in state court.

As recent extreme heat waves, hurricanes, and wildfires across the country have elevated public concern about the widespread and harmful effects of climate change, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari this month in a climate liability case called BP P.L.C. v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore. In short, the City of Baltimore sued a …

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Guest Contributor Samantha Zurcher: The Current State of Wildfire Liability in California

Wildfire Grows Rapidly In California s Lake County. Bjorgialt; Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Wildfires Are Ravaging California. Can Electric Utilities Take the Heat?

In recent years, California has experienced its largest and deadliest wildfires in history, resulting in hundreds of fatalities and more than $50 billion in damage. The confluence of rising temperatures, less rainfall, and strong winds signal that the annual “wildfire season” is here to stay, and will continue to proliferate. Every year, thousands of Californians …

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How Climate Disruption May Undermine Climate Policy

The long-term harms from climate change over the next decades may undermine support for efforts to reduce emissions

Almost two straight months of wildfires and smoke in California are a tangible sign of the impacts of climate change on our lives and our world. This article from the New York Times a couple of weeks ago does a good job of laying out why the wildfires in California are only one example of …

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Election 2020: The Montana Governor’s Race

The two candidates are neck-in-neck. But their environmental views aren’t close.

Last week, I posted about the Montana Senate race. Montana also has a tight race for governor. The candidates are the current Democratic Lieutenant Governor Mike Coney and House Republican Greg Gianforte. Coney is a long-time figure in state politics. Gianforte founded a “customer relationship software company.”  He got national attention in 2017 when he …

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Newsom’s Gas Car Phaseout is a Big Step Forward for California

A long road ahead, but undoubtedly moving in the right direction

On Wednesday, Governor Newsom issued an executive order that, among other things, directed the California Air Resources Board to develop regulations moving the state to 100 percent zero-emission passenger vehicles by 2035. The order is a long way from taking effect–at a minimum, ARB’s rulemaking process will take many months, any regulations would involve a …

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Fighting Global Warming in a Chilly Judicial Climate

A 6-3 conservative court is bad news for climate action. Here’s a threat assessment.

With Romney’s announcement this morning that he would support consideration of a nominee before the election, it now seems virtually certain that Trump will be able to appoint a sixth conservative Justice. How will that affect future climate policy?  Here is a preliminary threat assessment. The answer varies, depending on what policies we’re talking about. …

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Large-scale carbon removal: How do we phase out big industries?

While we’re designing policy for scaling up carbon removal, we should think about the eventual need to ramp it down.

Authored with Edward A. Parson Just a few years ago, carbon removal wasn’t seen as something that could be realistically scaled, observed Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).  “It is now becoming clear that technologies to permanently remove carbon dioxide from the air and the ocean are not only real, but they are needed and they are …

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