Climate Change

The Supreme Court’s Earliest Pollution Cases

Long before Congress, a notoriously conservative Court started taking pollution seriously.

Well over a century ago, the Supreme Court ruled that it had that power to remedy interstate water pollution. That was in 1901. Six years later, the Court decided its first air pollution case.  Notably, these cases came during the conservative Lochner era when the Court was hardly known for its liberalism.  Quite the contrary. …

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Brazil: Presidential Election, Saving the Amazon, and Combating Climate Change

Views from the Governors’ Climate and Forests Task Force

By Jason Gray and Colleen Scanlan Lyons Co-Project Directors, GCF Task Force Yesterday, the people of Brazil had a historic vote in favor of returning President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (Lula) to power. Lula, who served as President of Brazil from 2003 to 2010 (and is the first President in Brazil to return for …

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GCF Task Force Exchange of Experiences in San Martin, Peru

Notes from the Field

From October 10-13, 2022, the Governors’ Climate and Forests Task Force (GCF Task Force) – a project of the Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at UCLA School of Law and UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, in partnership with the Institute of Behavioral Science at the University of Colorado, Boulder – and …

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Costume Ideas for a Changing Planet

Pretty or scary or brave? There’s a climate costume to suit all tastes.

Children will be roaming the streets tonight dressed as Superheroes, Princesses, and Evil Villains. But really, these invented figures can’t hold a candle to the ones in our future.  Here are some possibilities: Cruela de Coal. This is an easy make-over for the Disney costume. Simply coat the costume with soot and add a “Coal …

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California’s Secret Weapon: The Scoping Plan

There’s no substitute for a comprehensive policy vision.

The scoping process has been key to California’s success in cutting greenhouse gas emissions.  The process requires the government to assess past progress, project future emissions, and come up with a strategy to meet its climate goals.  In contrast, in many states – and at the federal level – there’s no real mechanism for a …

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Senate 2022: Wisconsin    

Of all the states in play, the Wisconsin race may have the sharpest contrast between view on climate change.

Wisconsin has been a swing state in recent presidential elections. The Senate race there could help determine control of the Senate. The incumbent Republican is a climate change denier. The challenge highlights his support for climate action. Ron Johnson (R). Johnson, the incumbent,  has a 7% lifetime LCV score, meaning he voted against the environment …

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Happy 50th Anniversary, Federal Clean Water Act

One of America’s Foundational Environmental Laws Has Proven Transformational, But Requires Updating a Half-Century Later

The Clean Water Act (CWA), one of the nation’s most important environmental laws, is 50 years old today.  It’s proven to be one of the most successful of America’s bedrock federal environmental statutes.  But the CWA is far from perfect, needs some important updating, and will probably never fully achieve the aspirational goals Congress proclaimed …

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Election 2022: Governors

Four tight races will have big impacts on their states.

Although their powers vary in different states, governors are key figures in setting and implementing climate and energy policies.  There are several very tight races that could have significant policy impacts. They also have indirect impacts via the governor’s role in electoral matters. Elections in these four states are considered toss-ups. The Democrats are all …

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Are carbon taxes a thing of the past?

What is the role for carbon pricing in the future of decarbonization policy?

That’s the question implicitly raised by this article in the New York Times from late August.  The article surveys a range of criticisms of the use of carbon taxes as a tool to address greenhouse gas emissions, and criticisms of the focus of many economists on carbon taxes as the primary tool to address climate …

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What Do Pig Pens Have To Do With Environmental Law?

Constitutional Challenge to California’s Animal Welfare Law Could Have Profound Impacts on State’s Environmental Laws

Today the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in an animal welfare case from California that could have profound, negative impacts on a host of the Golden State’s environmental laws and policies.  The case is National Pork Producers Council v. Ross, No. 21-468. The National Pork Producers Council litigation arises from an initiative measure–Proposition …

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