This morning, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced that Assistant Administrator Bill Wehrum will be stepping down at the end of this month. The language of EPA’s press release seems intended to suggest that the departure was voluntary, but the resignation comes amid ongoing scrutiny about the Assistant Administrator’s connections to a number of industry clients […]
Federal Climate Policy
Our institutions have been battered. How will we be able to fix them?
Much of Trump’s damage to the environment is obvious: his efforts to increase gas and oil production, his regulatory rollbacks, and his efforts to gut the agencies charged with protecting the environment. But he has also done deeper damage to the institutions we need to address climate change and other daunting environmental challenges. These problems […]
Final Rule Changes Baseline Assumptions & Approach to Cost-Benefit Analysis in Attempt to Justify Weak Standards
Yesterday, the Trump EPA released its long-awaited response to the Obama-era Clean Power Plan. At first glance, the final rule has been carefully crafted in an attempt to avoid several glaring legal vulnerabilities of the rule—and to obscure the obvious inadequacy of the Administration’s response to climate change. The EPA has found many contradictory ways […]
As Some Nations Retreat From Internationalist Approaches to Transnational Environmental Challenges, Corporate Actions May Play a Larger Role
The withdrawal by Japan from the International Whaling Convention and its related Commission in December 2018 and the on-off threat by the new leader of Brazil to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on Climate Change are the latest signals that International Environmental Law (“IEL”) is under siege. The move by Japan and the possible withdrawal […]
It’s not enough to eliminate coal-fired plants. We have to cut back on coal production and sale.
Coal use by American utilities has declined sharply and will continue to decline. But we shouldn’t focus solely on U.S. emissions. But the industry also exports coal, and there’s been a big surge in coal exports in the past two years, much of it involving India. So it’s not enough to curtail coal use in […]
The Trump Administration continues its campaign to suppress science.
The Trump Administration’s hostile attitude toward science has continued unabated. The Administration has used a triad of strategies: efforts to defund research, suppression of scientific findings, and embrace of fringe science. Budget.Administration continues to favor deep cuts in research support. Its initial 2020 budget proposal calls for a 13% cut to the National Science Foundation, a 12% cut at […]
The candidates are united on some issues, but divided or equivocal on others.
Yesterday, the Washington Post published a survey of the Democratic candidates’ positions on climate change. The differences between candidates probably don’t have a lot of immediate policy relevance, given the political and legal constraints on what a new president could accomplish. But they are very revealing about the direction of the Democratic Party today. The […]
Sympathetic Plaintiffs Also Help Legally
It’s not news that the 21 children (some now adults) who are suing the United States for the right to a safe and stable climate are sympathetic and telegenic. They are the primary reason Juliana v. United States has garnered so much attention, including a lengthy, highly positive segment on 60 Minutes. But the Juliana […]
The leadership at EPA has lots of experience, much of it in opposing environmental protection.
The best-known figure at EPA is Andrew Wheeler, the ex-coal lobbyist who is now the fox in charge of the henhouse. But it’s worth looking at some of the key remaining staff so we can see just what’s happened to EPA since Trump took office. Compared to some of Trump’s cabinet appointments, they all look […]
My book is now available!
I interrupt my ongoing blog series on new biotechnologies and their governance (1, 2, 3) to announce that my book The Governance of Solar Geoengineering Managing: Climate Change in the Anthropocene is available today from Cambridge University Press. The brief description is: Climate change is among the world’s most important problems, and solutions based on […]