Climate Change

Nonstate Actors Could Help Govern Solar Geoengineering

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 …

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Suing Big Oil

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 …

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Ninth Circuit Hands California Local Governments Big Climate Change Win

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 …

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What’s in a Name?

“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 …

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Climate Change in the General Election

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 …

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International Liability for Harm: Epidemics and Pollution

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 …

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Guest Contributors Rosa Hayes and Samantha Peltz: Silver Linings in the 9th Circuit’s Juliana Decision

Juliana litigation youth plaintiffs

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 …

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Climate Action in the States

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 …

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What Are The Benefits Of Phasing Out California’s Oil & Gas Production?

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 …

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A Solar Geoengineering Milestone Goes Largely Unnoticed

Testing marine cloud brightening equipment. Credit: Brendan Kelaher/Southern Cross University

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 …

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