Energy

Un-Inventing Fire

After many eons, reliance on combustion for energy is ending.

To head off disastrous climate change, we need to radically transform the modern energy system. We must largely move beyond the use of fire, the first and most important of inventions. The core energy technology used by humans has always involved, in one form or another, burning things up. To a large extent, combatting climate …

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More on How the Vaccine Mandate Cases May Impact Climate Policy

How much is the Court likely to prune back EPA’s powers?

In a Friday post, I sketched some thoughts about how the Supreme Court’s vaccine mandate rulings might impact EPA’s power to control carbon emissions.  I think it’s worth unpacking both the Court’s opinions a little more and the issues at stake in a pending climate change case, West Virginia v. EPA. The Court ruled in …

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Today’s Vaccine Cases: Implications for Climate Change Regulation

Today’s ruling are (somewhat) good news in terms of West Virginia v. EPA?

Today, the Court’s conservative Justices split the difference in two cases involving vaccine mandates, striking down OSHA’s mandate but upholding a more limited mandate for healthcare workers. The cases also split the conservative Justices themselves, with three hardliners (Thomas, Alito, and Gorsuch) seeking a more activist ruling in the OSHA case and dissenting in the …

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What Does the Future Hold for the American Gas Station?

The end of the gas car will eventually leave 100,000 stations behind.

Gas stations have been fixtures in our world for a century or more. There are even books of photos of picturesque gas stations, some futuristic, others quaint. We’re transitioning into a world dominated by electric vehicles. What does the future hold for these icons of the fossil fuel era? There are now about a hundred …

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2022: The Year Ahead

Here are the five biggest things to watch for.

There will be a lot going on this year in the environmental sphere.  I wanted to focus on a few big things to keep an eye on, rather than trying to give a long, comprehensive survey. Here are the five biggest things to watch for: Midterm elections. As of now, things are looking very good …

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2021: The Year in Review

After the dark days of the Trump Era, environmental policy had a very good year

The continuing pandemic sometimes makes it feel like time is frozen. But 2021 was a big year for environmental policy. Politics. The biggest news of 2021, for the environment as well as other reasons, was the replacement of Donald Trump by Joseph Biden. On the regulatory front, the change in White House control instantly stopped …

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On the Frustrations of Climate Politics

It’s not just the shortcomings of Joe Manchin.  Climate legislation is an inherently tough political challenge.

Yesterday, Joe Manchin announced that he couldn’t support the Build Back Better reconciliation bill. Unless Biden can somehow coax him back to the negotiating table, that dooms what would have been a major breakthrough in climate policy.  Manchin bears responsibility for this deeply regrettable decision. But climate legislation is hard, even in more favorable political …

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The Renaissance of Energy Law

An esoteric field of law has become exciting and important.

Energy law used to be an obscure niche subject. It was devoted to subjects like oil and gas leases, the proper inflation adjustments in utility rates, and depreciation schedules for power plants. Utilities were famously set in their ways, using nineteenth century technologies to produce and deliver their products. Only specialists really paid much attention. …

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Cornhuskers Go Green

Nebraska has become the first solid Red state to adopt climate targets

Last week, Nebraska became the first state under complete Republican control to adopt a 2050 goal of net-zero emissions from the grid. No Democratic presidential candidate has carried the state in almost fifty years (and the last previous time was before World War II). Republicans have controlled the state legislature and governor’s mansion since this …

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It’s Time to Repeal the Clean Power Plan

The CPP no longer serves any useful purpose, and keeping it on the books invites mischief by the Supreme Court.

The Clean Power Plan (CPP) was the Obama Administration’s signature climate effort. This 2015 regulation aimed to move state power grids away from coal and toward renewable energy. It immediately became ensnared in litigation and never went into effect. It’s now considered irrelevant for all practical purposes. Yet the Supreme Court is now set to …

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