Federal Climate Policy

While You Were Sleeping: Coronavirus Apparently Won’t Stop Trump Environmental Rollbacks

EPA May Roll Back Car Standards Next Week

The New York Times is reporting that, despite the corona crisis and the shelter in place orders affecting people around the country, Andrew Wheeler is pressuring his EPA staff  to release a finalized rule rolling back  greenhouse gas emissions/fuel economy standards for cars.  These EPA staff are for the most part working from home with …

CONTINUE READING

Court Rejects Trump Administration’s Cap-and-Trade Lawsuit Against California

Federal Government’s Constitutional Challenge to California’s Linked GHG Reduction Plan Fails

Since President Trump took office in early 2017, the State of California has filed over 70 different lawsuits challenging the Trump Administration’s policy initiatives on multiple fronts, including the environment, immigration policy and health care.  Over 40 of California’s lawsuits have targeted the Administration’s efforts to roll back longstanding federal environmental protection, natural resource management …

CONTINUE READING

How Hot Will Things Get?

Identifying a realistic worst case scenario is complicated.

How hot will the world be in 2100? The answer partly depends on how much carbon we dump in the atmosphere between now and then. It also depends on how sensitive the climate system is to those emissions. Scientists have used 4.5 °C as the high end of the likely possibilities. That estimate derives from …

CONTINUE READING

An Easy, No-Fuss, Climate Fix for that Big First Day in Office

No, not rejoining the Paris Agreement, though that’s a good idea too. Something else.

This is kind of like one of those recipe things you see: putting a gourmet meal on the table in five minutes.  But it’s more like: the one ingredient that will make all your recipes come out better.  More seriously, what I’m about to propose is very conventional, easily integrated into agency procedures, and a …

CONTINUE READING

Tracing Trump’s Trillion Trees

1t website

The president’s embrace of massive tree planting has a remarkable — and questionable — backstory

During last week’s State of the Union address, US President Donald Trump said: To protect the environment, days ago I announced that the United States will join the One Trillion Trees Initiative, an ambitious effort to bring together government and private sector to plant new trees in America and all around the world. Astute regular …

CONTINUE READING

Bold But Realistic Climate Actions

Here’s what a new President could actually do.

What options are available to a new President taking office in 2021?  Let’s assume a favorable scenario for climate action in which Dems take unified control of the government (White House, Senate, House) in 2021.  What then? The first theme to keep in mind is that the Democrats will still be subject to some significant …

CONTINUE READING

New Roadmaps for Negative Emissions

Two reports try to figure out how to scale carbon removal

Last week saw two exciting reports released which examine how to remove carbon at scale. Getting to Neutral: Options for Negative Carbon Emissions in California was led by a team from Lawrence Livermore National Labs (LNLL), and assesses pathways for California to remove 125 million tons of CO2 /year from the air by 2045, in …

CONTINUE READING

Can the Center Hold?

The Challenge to Mainstream Environmentalism

Is environmentalism facing a paradigm shift? Since the 1970s, mainstream environmentalists, lawyers, and scholars have sought incremental progress based on established law and political realities. But frustration with that approach is palpable. The face of climate advocacy is now seventeen-year-old activist Greta Thunberg rather than Establishment politician Al Gore. And there is growing frustration with …

CONTINUE READING

Deciding a Climate Case in the Shadow of the Supreme Court

Juliana Judges Surely Had The Higher Court in Mind in Drafting Their Decision

The irony of the Ninth Circuit decision dismissing the Juliana v. United States  case this week is plain to see. Two branches of government — the legislative and executive –  have failed to act to address an environmental problem that may cause the destruction of the federal government itself.  The third branch, the judiciary, recognizes the …

CONTINUE READING

Pricing Carbon: What Does It Actually Accomplish?

Pricing carbon may not work the way economists thought.

In theory, pricing carbon should incentivize emissions reductions.  In reality, it is unclear to what extent that takes place unless the carbon price is very high.  This is not to say that pricing carbon is useless, but the main benefits may take different forms. Basically, there are two ways of putting a price on carbon.  …

CONTINUE READING

TRENDING