Climate Change

More States Are Finally Following California’s RPS Lead

California has long led the push for renewable energy mandates, and others are catching on

California’s renewables portfolio standard (RPS) is a flagship component of the state’s robust portfolio of climate change policies. The RPS is complex, but the basic concept is simple: state law requires electric utilities to procure a minimum percentage of their retail electricity from qualifying renewable sources under rules set by the California Public Utilities Commission. […]

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I Suppose We Can Just Hope That EIA Is Wrong

The federal estimate of energy-related carbon emissions in 2050 should get our attention.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) issues projections for future energy use across all sectors of society. They aren’t really predictions of our energy future — they are more like conversation starters. In fact, some researchers suggest that EIA shows a consistent bias by forecasting more energy use than actually occurs. Yet, […]

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If You’re Not At The Table, You’re On The Menu

Why Has Labor Attacked The Green New Deal?

  One more entry in the “Not Helpful” Department: The AFL-CIO, the national arm for U.S. labor unions, offered a critical assessment of the Green New Deal, warning that the ambitious plan to combat climate change could adversely affect U.S. workers. In a letter last week to Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Rep. Alexandria […]

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Conference On SB 100 & California’s Race To A Carbon-Free Grid

California Lawyers Association Environmental Law Section will hold daylong event on March 28th in Downtown Oakland

The California Lawyers Association’s Environmental Law Section is hosting a conference on Thursday, March 28th in Downtown Oakland entitled “SB 100 and the Race to a Carbon Free Grid in California.” It will feature top officials from the Newsom Administration and other energy experts, including an “Energy 101” pre-panel for attorneys new to the field. […]

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Climate Change in the Political Spotlight

Climate change has been a low-visibility political issue. That may be changing.

Generally, climate change doesn’t get much attention as a political issue. That may be changing now. And if it is, that could have important implications. One sign of the times is Jay Inslee’s run for the Presidency. He may not be at the top of the lists of prospects, but he’s an established, well-respected political […]

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Water Rights Administration and Oversight During Past California Droughts

Part 2 in a Series on Improving California Water Rights Administration and Oversight for Future Droughts

In the first post in this series, I talked about why it’s important for the state of California to spend time preparing for future droughts even in wet years like this one.  This post examines some of the lessons from past droughts that can inform these preparations. Past droughts have stress-tested California’s water management institutions, […]

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Declaring a Climate Change Emergency: A Citizen’s Guide

Would it be legal to declare a national emergency for climate change? Would it be useful? Here’s what you need to know.

The possibility of declaring a national emergency to address climate change will probably remain under discussion for the next couple of years, particularly if the courts uphold Trump’s “wall” emergency.  For that reason, I thought it might be helpful to pull together the series of blog posts I’ve written on the subject.  I want to […]

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Governing Geoengineering at the United Nations? No, at Least Not Now

UN Environment Assembly

A proposed resolution falters at the UN Environment Assembly

At this week’s UN Environment Assembly, countries’ representatives debated a draft resolution regarding climate geoengineering. Unable to come to agreement, it was withdrawn Wednesday. This is not surprising to me, as — for the most part — leaders presently lack political incentives to take action. I am also not particularly disappointed, because a counter-productive resolution seemed fairly […]

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Why is Trump Getting the Cold Shoulder from the Car Companies?

The answer: His rollback promises them little profit and much uncertainty.

Usually, you’d expect a regulated industry to applaud an effort to lighten its regulatory burdens. So you would think that the car industry would support Trump’s effort to roll back fuel efficiency standards for new vehicles and take away California’s authority to set its own vehicle standards. But that effort is being met by silence […]

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Why It’s Important to Prepare for Drought During a Deluge

Part 1 in a Series on Improving California Water Rights Administration and Oversight for Future Droughts

In the midst of the wet winter storms bringing rain and snow to California this year, you might not expect drought preparations to be among the state’s current priorities.  And yet, they need to be.  In this post, I’ll explore why to set the stage for a blog series that explores what the state can […]

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