Federal Climate Policy
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
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
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
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
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 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
There are 3 plausible scenarios for the new balance of power.
Inauguration day is a year from today. What will the balance of power be then? The House doesn’t seem to be in play. Democrats have an uphill fight to win the Senate, so a GOP White House would probably mean a GOP Senate. That leaves three likely scenarios, with different implications for environmental law. Scenario …CONTINUE READING
Asking judges to pass judgment on all U.S. energy policy was a bridge too far.
The Ninth Circuit threw out the Juliana litigation this morning. The two judges in the majority basically said, legalistic language, that you can’t get the Green New Deal by court order. It was wrong for the Supreme Court to step in at the last minute to put the trial on hold, rather than giving the …CONTINUE READING
The GOP’s climate denial doesn’t extend to DOD.
Everyone says climate laws can never pass Congress. But there’s a major exception. Each year since Trump took office, Congress has passed climate legislation as part of Defense Department spending. Trump has signed all of those laws. In 2017, there was a congressional finding that climate change is a threat to national security. In 2018, …CONTINUE READING
Trump is proposing big changes to CEQ regs. But they may not matter.
The Trump Administration is trying to gut the current White House rules on environmental impact statements. Some people view this move as a death blow to an important environmental tool. Here’s what Trump is trying to do and why it may not matter as much as people fear. As to what Trump & Co. are …CONTINUE READING