Environmental Science

The Danger of Climate Change Deadlines

deadline, by geralt at pixabay

Essential targets set by some of the world’s leading climate scientists and policymakers just passed. Now what?

Seven prominent figures in the global climate change policy discourse published an opinion essay in Nature. In “Three years to safeguard our climate,” they set a deadline for key targets to be met in order to stay on track to meet the Paris Agreement’s global warming goals. The notable thing is that the essay was …

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The Scourge of ERRD-16

Evident-Resistant Reasoning DIsorder can strike without warning.

A stubborn disagreement. A misguided tweet or facebook post. A lame remark. Those things can be normal behaviors. But they could be signs of something much more serious: a syndrome called Evidence-Resistant Reasoning Disorder or ERRD-16. This disorder has expanded explosively since a mutated form was introduced by a super-spreader in 2016. This super-spreader is …

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Environmentalists v. Cost-Benefit Analysis: What Does the Future Hold?

For now, at least, environmentalists and economists are aligned in criticizing Trump’s rollbacks. Will this alliance last?

If it’s true that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” environmentalists might want to take another look at cost-benefit analysis.  The Trump Administration is certainly doing its best to gut economic analysis of its rollbacks.  Both economists and environmentalists are resisting. Is this an alliance of convenience or will it be the start …

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A New Report on Governing Climate Geoengineering

I suggest steps toward global governance of carbon dioxide removal and solar geoengineering

A new report on the governance of climate geoengineering — that is, carbon dioxide removal (CDR) and solar geoengineering (or solar radiation modification, SRM) — has been released. International Governance Issues on Climate Engineering: Information for Policymakers was coordinated and issued by the International Risk Governance Center, edited by IRGC’s Marie-Valentine Florin, and commissioned by the …

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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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Trees Will *Not* Solve Climate Change

Pine tree plantation, near Thetford cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Bob Jones - geograph.org.uk/p/517891

The authors of a controversial, influential paper backtrack — again

Last summer, I pointed to a then-new paper in Science that concluded that planting trees could remove two-thirds of historical anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions from the atmosphere at very low costs. At the time, I characterized the claims in it and the associated media communications as “misleading, if not false, as well as potentially dangerous.” …

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Using and Abusing Models: Lessons from COVID-19

We’ve seen some great examples of how NOT to deal with models.

Models have figured heavily in government responses to the coronavirus. This has given us the opportunity for a real-time lesson in the uses of models. In the process, we’ve learned some important lessons in how to best make use of models — and equally importantly, in how not to use them. That’s directly relevant to …

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What’s the Matter With Bill de Blasio?

The Progressive-Leaning Democrat has more in common with Donald Trump than you might think.

Willful bungling of the coronavirus crisis cuts across ideologies and political parties. That’s the lesson that we learn from the story of Bill de Blasio. He is very different, across many different dimensions, than Donald Trump. But it turns out that he shares something important with Trump: a tendency to place personality over expertise. De …

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100 Law Professors Urge EPA to Withdraw Revamped “Transparency in Science” Rule

EPA Science

EPA’s new proposal would go beyond even the far-reaching original to limit agency use of the best science

Today, on behalf of 100 environmental and administrative law professors affiliated with 70 universities in 33 states and the District of Columbia, Sean Hecht and I filed a comment letter urging EPA to withdraw its updated proposal to limit the use of science in agency decisionmaking processes, misleadingly named the “Strengthening Transparency in Science” rule. …

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We Need an Environmental Dr. Fauci

Much of environmental law is about protecting public health. But the Trump Administration won’t listen.

During the coronavirus crisis, Dr. Anthony Fauci has become the voice of reason. Much of the public turns to him for critical information about public health, while even Trump finds it necessary to listen. In the Trump era, no one plays that role in the environmental area. The result is a mindless campaign of deregulation …

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