Federal Climate Policy

Is Bipartisanship Possible?

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

It’s not easy in today’s polarized politics. But maybe it’s not completely off the table.

We are now, as so often, in a time of divided government. That makes bipartisan cooperation necessary. We are also in a time of hyper-partisanship.  The problem may be compounded by the concessions made by McCarthy to the far Right in order to become Speaker.  Nevertheless, there may be some opportunities for cooperation across party …

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Whose Major Questions Doctrine?

There are two versions of the doctrine. One of them is more dangerous.

When it  struck down Obama’s signature climate regulation in West Virginia v. EPA, the Supreme Court formally adopted the major questions doctrine as a way to synthesize prior anti-regulatory rulings.  The major questions doctrine (MQD to insiders) has gotten a lot of attention. One thing that’s been overlooked, however, is that there are two versions …

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30 Years of U.S. Climate Policy

Here’s a timeline of the victories and defeats since 1992.

Thirty years ago, the United States joined the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The decades since then have been a saga of victories and defeats for U.S. climate policy.  Progress has been made under one President, only to be battered down by the next one. This to-and-fro is a sobering reminder of how …

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A Taste of Things to Come

Welcome to 2023. It’s going to be a wild ride.

In the past week, we’ve gotten a glimpse of what the next two years will look like. On the one hand, chaos in Congress. On the other hand, quiet progress toward environmental goals by the Biden Administration.  Both trends are likely to continue throughout this Congress and the second half of the presidential term. The …

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The Year Ahead

Here are the top ten environment and energy developments to watch for.

Here we are, starting another year.  Last year turned out to have some major environmental developments. The most notable were the Supreme Court’s ruling in West Virginia case, striking down the Clean Power Plan, and the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, with its huge economic incentives for clean energy.  Here’s quick rundown of what …

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That Was The Year That Was

The Biggest Environmental Stories of 2022

A lot has happened on the environmental front. Here are the biggest stories of 2022. Congress passed the Inflation Reduction Act, providing $369 billion in tax credit and spending to reduce carbon emissions. California banned the sale of new gas cars in 2035, with several other states now agreeing to follow suit. The Democrats lost …

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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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A Great Victory For Electric Cars

But Beware: Neanderthal GOP Judges Are Waiting To Strike It Down

With all the attention being paid to Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s visit to Washington, and the release of the January 6th Committee, you might have missed the (second) most important environmental story of the week: The U.S. Postal Service will buy 66,000 vehicles to build one of the largest electric fleets in the nation, Biden administration officials …

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Another Battle in the ESG Wars

Another Trump rollback undone, another step forward for sustainable investing.

Some call it ESG — the growing attention of big investors to a company’s record Environmental, Social, and Governance issues. Some call it responsible investing. Others call it “woke.” On Nov. 22, the Biden Administration notched a victory in this ongoing battle, allowing ESG investments by private pension plans. Those plans now hold roughly $13 …

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Wasting Gas

A proposed rule limiting flaring and venting of natural gas is a win for everyone except greedy oil and gas operators.   

Yesterday, the Interior Department posted a proposed rule to limit flaring and venting of natural gas on public lands. The rule will be good for everyone except the oil and gas operators who waste the gas, increasing methane and carbon emissions while giving the public nothing in return.  The rule is clearly a step in …

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