Disasters

Did the COVID Response Poison the Well for Climate Action?

Sadly, the answer may be yes, at least for one conspiracy-minded segment of the population.

One meme that seems to be popping up is that the “evils” of the COVID response reveal some dark reality behind climate policy. Whatever its roots, these dark fantasies threaten the welfare of current and future generations.

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Florida Governor DeSantis’ Head-In-The-Sand Climate Change Policies

New Florida Law Strikes Term “Climate Change” From State Laws, Promotes Fossil Fuels & Rejects Renewable Energy Projects

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, in coordination with an equally myopic and partisan Florida Legislature, has approved new state legislation (HB 1645) that eliminates the term “climate change” from numerous existing Florida statutes that former Republican Governor Charlie Crist signed into law in 2008. The legislation, which takes effect on July 1st, is not just symbolic: …

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Ninth Circuit Short-Circuits Juliana v. U.S. Climate Change Lawsuit

Iconic Children Plaintiffs Lack Legal Standing to Pursue Case, Court of Appeals Rules

Earlier this month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued an order that likely ends one of the most closely-watched climate change lawsuits in recent American legal history: Juliana v. United States. The background of this litigation–which was filed in federal district court in Oregon in 2015–has been analyzed at length in …

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Temporary Takings and the Adaptation Dilemma

Current law penalizes adaptation measures because of the risk of takings liability.

Is it unconstitutional for the government to build a levee that reduces the risk of urban flooding but diverts the water to nearby farmlands?  The answer could be yes, unless the government pays for flood easements on the rural lands. But if the government doesn’t build the levee, it faces no liability from the urban …

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LGBTQ People Face Greater Climate Risks

A new study by the UCLA Williams Institute finds that LGBTQ people in same-sex couples are at greater risk of exposure to the harms of climate change compared to straight couples.

In August of 2005 when Hurricane Katrina made landfall in Louisiana and Mississippi, the combination of torrential rain and flawed infrastructure proved deadly. More than 1,800 people died and the price tag for the damage quickly rose to the tens of billions of dollars. In the chaotic disaster response that followed, several communities were disproportionately …

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Deregulation, Normal Accidents, and the Airborne Toxic Event

What can we learn from the East Palestine train wreck?

Source: Wikimedia Commons The East Palestine train derailment is the story that won’t go away.  Images of enraged residents shouting at company executives and government officials about the inadequacy of the response remind us all that across our vast industrial economy accidents of one sort or another are always waiting to happen while private firms …

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The Most Important Environmental Story Of The Week

Fossil Fuel Interests Corrupt Media

No, it’s not the Biden Administration’s successful push to electrify tens of thousands of USPS vehicles. It’s how Matrix LLC, a consultant in the southeast with significant investments in the energy sector, made massive payments to local media outlets to slant their coverage in favor of dirty power and exorbitant electricity rates. Consider Alabama Power, …

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Climate Rides the Omnibus

An image of the U.S. Capitol Building in the evening.

The year-end law gives a boost to climate-related spending

The omnibus spending bill is by no means a “climate law.”  Because it spans the entire government, though, it has many provisions relating to climate change. They aren’t dramatic step forward. But the fact that they can pass as part of a bipartisan spending law is a sign of how climate change is slowly becoming …

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Loss and Damage

A deeper dive into the top issue at COP27

As I noted in my last post, this year’s conference of the parties to the climate treaties (COP27) became pretty much a single-issue conference, focused on adaptation and the associated needs for finance – in particular on the urgent need for financial assistance to support adaptation in the Global South, and the lamentable record of …

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War and the Environment: Ukraine in 2022

The environment is also a victim of the Russian invasion — perhaps to the point of being a war crime.

Memorial Day began as a day to commemorate the Civil War dead, then became a day to commemorate the dead from many wars. But war’s toll goes beyond direct harm to humans.   The environment also suffers. On top of its human tragedies, the Russian invasion of Ukraine is also wreaking environmental havoc. One source of …

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