Federal Climate Policy

Happy Tax Day!

It’s the perfect time to talk about a carbon tax.

Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes once said that taxes are the prices we pay for a civilized society.  A carbon tax, if we ever get one,  might turn out to be the price we pay for a sustainable planet.  I’m not wedded to it as a tool for cutting carbon, and I don’t think it would […]

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Trump’s “Great Honor” to Fund the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is a Great Falsehood

Trump Mischaracterizes His Administration’s Attempt to Defund Important Program to Protect Environmental Quality in the Great Lakes

Late last week, Donald Trump promised to fully fund the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, a program of the Environmental Protection Agency that provides resources to address environmental quality issues in the Great Lakes. His hollow promise obscures the fact that the Trump administration has worked hard to dismantle this program through taking away its funding, and […]

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The EPA’s Proposed Standards for Coal Power Plants Increase Pollution Without Real Justification

The public comment period for proposed revisions to EPA’s proposed emissions standards for fossil-fuel fired power plants under the Clean Air Act ended last week.  Emmett Institute staff have submitted two comment letters on the rule (see Sean’s post on one of the letters here; that letter itself is here). The standards—called new source performance standards—apply to […]

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EPA Shouldn’t Roll Back Coal Power Plant Emissions Standard, Conclude Experts in Electrical Grid Management and Pollution Control Technology Innovation

Emmett Institute Faculty File Two Comment Letters on Behalf of Experts, Demonstrating Flaws In Proposed Rollback of New Source Performance Standard for New Coal-Fired Power Plants

In 2015, EPA set greenhouse gas emissions standards for new coal-fired and natural gas-fired power plants under the Clean Air Act’s New Source Performance Standards program, Section 111(b) of the Act. These standards ensure that new plants can be built only if they incorporate state-of-the-art emissions controls. Unfortunately, in late 2018, the Trump Administration EPA proposed […]

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If You’re Not At The Table, You’re On The Menu

Why Has Labor Attacked The Green New Deal?

  One more entry in the “Not Helpful” Department: The AFL-CIO, the national arm for U.S. labor unions, offered a critical assessment of the Green New Deal, warning that the ambitious plan to combat climate change could adversely affect U.S. workers. In a letter last week to Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Rep. Alexandria […]

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Climate Change in the Political Spotlight

Climate change has been a low-visibility political issue. That may be changing.

Generally, climate change doesn’t get much attention as a political issue. That may be changing now. And if it is, that could have important implications. One sign of the times is Jay Inslee’s run for the Presidency. He may not be at the top of the lists of prospects, but he’s an established, well-respected political […]

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Declaring a Climate Change Emergency: A Citizen’s Guide

Would it be legal to declare a national emergency for climate change? Would it be useful? Here’s what you need to know.

The possibility of declaring a national emergency to address climate change will probably remain under discussion for the next couple of years, particularly if the courts uphold Trump’s “wall” emergency.  For that reason, I thought it might be helpful to pull together the series of blog posts I’ve written on the subject.  I want to […]

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Do Impossible Regulatory Deadlines Cause Faster Progress?

A: Maybe, but only in a roundabout way. (And at a cost.)

Just about nobody who’s knowledgeable in the field thinks the U.S. electric grid can  be made carbon free in ten years.  Having spent the past two years lambasting the Trump Administration for ignoring the experts, I’m loathe to disagree with the expert opinion on this one. But even if the ten-year deadline set by supporters […]

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UCLA Law’s Ann Carlson Interviewed on CBS’s 60 Minutes Discussing Juliana v. U.S., Landmark Climate Change Lawsuit

Segment Provides Legal Context for Groundbreaking Children’s Climate Case

Our colleague Ann Carlson appeared on 60 Minutes this past Sunday for a lengthy on-camera interview with Steve Kroft, discussing the Juliana v. U.S. lawsuit filed by Our Children’s Trust. Begun in 2015, the lawsuit has survived several appeals so far, and is headed to oral arguments in June at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Portland, Oregon. […]

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The Potential Benefits of Declaring a Climate Emergency

The idea deserves serious consideration. There actually could be some very tangible benefits.

I have a confession: When I started thinking about the possibility of a climate emergency declaration, it was mostly as a counterpoint to Trump’s possible (now a done deal) declaration of an immigration emergency.  As I’ve thought about it, however, it seems to me that there are enough potential benefits to make the idea worth […]

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