Climate Change

Bottoms-Up! An Emerging New Governance System (2)

Bottom-up appraches aren’t just fallbacks when top-down fails. They have their own strengths.

  There are some obvious advantages to top-down climate police, whereby a uniform global climate policy is adopted at the global level and then seamlessly implemented by nations, or whereby a similar process takes place at the national level.  Of course, this top-down model requires first global agreement on a uniform policy and then effective […]

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John Dingell, 1926-2019

The Surprising Environmental Record of Detroit’s Biggest Congressional Defender

There’s an old story about Rep. John Dingell, the long-running chair of the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee, who died yesterday at the age of 92, and served in the House longer than anyone in American history. Outside the office of the Committee, there is a huge picture of the Earth, taken from the Apollo […]

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I’ve Been Waiting My Whole Life for a Green New Deal

Get on Board or Get out of the Way: A Millennial Response to the GND

In 2016, millennials (those of us born between 1981 and 1996) surpassed Baby Boomers as the largest share of the US population. Yet you’d never know it by our relative shares of Congressional representation. Even after the great Millennial Wave of the 2018 midterm elections, millennials still only make up 6% of the House of […]

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To Dream the Impossible Dream

What are the pros and cons of yesterday’s proposal for a Green New Deal?

The Green New Deal proposal introduced by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey is a call for drastic action to address climate change. Specifically, section 1(A) says that “it is the duty of the Federal Government to create a Green New Deal . . . to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions through a fair […]

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Does the Future Have Standing?

Climate change may devastate future generations. Is there a way to get their interests before the courts?

Climate change is not just a long-range problem; it’s one that will get much worse in the future unless major emissions cuts are made.  For instance, sea levels will continue to rise for centuries. But the people who will be harmed by these changes can’t go to court: they haven’t been born yet. How can […]

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LA’s Trying to Build Transit-Oriented Affordable Housing

But could we make it easier?

My colleague Jonathan Zasloff rightly points out that one way to harness the benefits of upzoning to alleviate our housing crisis is to promote inclusionary requirements for transit-oriented development.  Los Angeles has adopted just such a program through its Transit-Oriented Communities ordinance, which I’ve written about here. Per the City of Los Angeles’ initial assessment, […]

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Yellow Light for YIMBYs: Upzoning Can Increase Housing Prices

New Research Indicates That Inclusionary Zoning Should Accompany Liberalization

Well, that’s not what YIMBYs wanted. Yonah Freemark of MIT in the Urban Affairs Review: What are the local-level impacts of zoning change? I study recent Chicago upzonings that increased allowed densities and reduced parking requirements in a manner exogenous of development plans and neighborhood characteristics. To evaluate outcomes, I use difference-in-differences tests on property […]

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Bottoms-Up! An Emerging New Governance System (1)

In the past twenty years, climate policy has taken an unexpected form. Here’s what to expect.

There’s been a major change in the way environmental governance works, which is most obvious in terms of climate policy. We initially expected climate policy to be set at the international level, followed by incorporation into national legislation, and implementation by agencies and lower levels of government like states.  But this top-down governance scheme isn’t […]

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After Trump

Suppose we get a pro-climate-action unified government. What then?

Someday, the stars will surely come into alignment and Congress will be able to pass climate legislation.  A national cap-and-trade scheme or a carbon tax would be definite possibilities.  But let’s suppose they aren’t politically feasible, maybe because of opposition from progressive on equity grounds, or maybe because for some reason the public rejects them. […]

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