Ecosystems

Next Steps to Save the Global Environment

A lot will need to be done to undo Trump’s harm to global cooperation. Here’s a start.

Trump’s hostility domestic environmental regulation is notorious.  He  also stalled or backpedaled on the international front.  Here are seven steps that President Biden could take to remedy the situation. Rejoin the Paris Agreement.  The U.S. needs to immediately rejoin the Paris Agreement.  It also needs to update its climate target, because we can do a …

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Engineering Biological Diversity

In a new paper, I introduce the international governance of synthetic biology, gene drives, and de-extinction for conservation.

In addition to climate change — the primary topic of my academic writing — biodiversity loss is the other major global environmental challenge. Like climate change, efforts over the last three decades keep failing to meet agreed-upon objectives. And like climate change, scientists and others are considering novel technologies that would intervene in natural systems …

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Gene Drives, Biodiversity Conservation, International Law, and Emerging Politics

gene drive inheritance

My latest article is published by Global Environmental Politics

A set of new biotechnologies are being developed that will force many of us, especially those concerned about biodiversity loss, to re-examine how we understand the relationship between biotechnology and conservation. These are “gene drives,” which would be used to genetically modify, reduce, or eliminate populations of species. My paper “Governing New Biotechnologies for Biodiversity …

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Taking Technology Seriously in Global Environmental Politics

Global Environmental Politics cover

A special issue on new technologies is now available

I am proud to announce a special issue of Global Environmental Politics on new technologies, edited by Simon Nicholson of American University and me, is now available. We write in the introductory essay: Human beings are at once makers of and made by technology. The ability to wield tools was an essential ingredient in propelling an …

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The Whipsaw Effect

Get ready for a rough ride, with sudden weather reversals and climate shifts.

Steady predictable changes in climate and weather would be easier to adapt to.  Instead, we may well see some very sudden shifts, both in terms of short-term weather and longer-term climate regimes.

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(Still More) Bad News on the Doorstep

New Reports Document Accelerating Wildlife Extinctions, Global Deforestation Trends

While public attention in recent weeks and months has understandably focused on the COVID-19 pandemic and the racial justice shockwaves triggered by George Floyd’s tragic death, another disaster continues apace. This week the New York Times published two alarming stories documenting the accelerating decline of our global environment.  The first, entitled “Extinctions Are Accelerating, Threatening …

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Top 10 Worst Environmental Decisions in California’s History

Ranking the lost landscapes and environmental features

California has a paradoxical history with its environment. On one hand, the state boasts incredible natural beauty, along with a government that is an internationally recognized leader for strong environmental policies. But the state’s residents have also caused severe environmental destruction, particularly in the late nineteenth century — some of which helped spur the mobilization …

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Despite COVID-19, This Earth Day Brings Animals Closer to Human Society

Sheltering in place during the pandemic has had dramatic impacts on various wildlife, raising questions about our relationship with animals in urban spaces.

Two months into a global pandemic, COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on human society. But outside of the monumental human suffering and disruption to our livelihoods, Earth continues to turn at the same rate, and the natural ecosystem continues to operate as it normally does. Except this time, the human influence on the natural environment is …

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Andy and Dave Shoot the Breeze

An inside look at the Trump Administration.

[Open with a shot of Interior Secretary David Bernhardt at his desk with his phone to his ear. Ring tone in the background.  Split screen after EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler picks up.] Bernhardt:  Hey Andy, how ya doin’?  How’s life in the Inferior Department? Wheeler:  Not so bad, Davey boy, not so bad. B:  You …

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Post-Madrid, China And California Have An Opportunity To Lead

As international climate action falters, the two climate leaders can fill the void

Note: this post is co-authored with Fan Dai, director of the University of California’s California-China Climate Institute. With the high-profile failure of last week’s UN climate conference in Madrid, the focus of international action on climate change will need to shift to political leaders of key global economies. We attended the conference in Madrid on …

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