Federal Climate Policy

A Motley Crew

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 […]

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The Governance of Solar Geoengineering: Managing Climate Change in the Anthropocene

The Governance of Solar Geoengineering: Managing Climate Change in the Anthropocene

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 […]

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EPA’s Magic Disappearance Trick

The Trump EPA has come up with a way to hide hundreds of deaths in plain view.

According to press reports, EPA is preparing to ignore possible deaths caused by concentrations of pollutants occurring below the national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS). This is a key issue in a lot of decisions about pollution reduction.  For instance, there is no NAAQS for mercury, but pollution controls on mercury would, as a side […]

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Getting to 2050

A roadmap for achieving an 80% emissions cut.

To do its part in keeping climate change to tolerable levels, the United States needs to cut its carbon emissions at least 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.  That’s not just a matter of decarbonizing the electricity sector; it means changes in everything from aviation to steel manufacture, and reducing not only CO2 but also […]

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Climate Change and Your Family’s Future

How much climate change will you see in your lifetime? How about your kids? 

If you think about yourself and the two generations after you, a lot depends on your current age, whether you already have kids, etc.  To keep this from getting too complicated, let’s focus on someone who was born in the US at the start of the millennium, in 2000.  To simplify, I won’t specify gender […]

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You Can’t Fool All Of The People All Of The Time

California Cleans Trump’s Clock In Court

  Sometimes judges can read: In its rush to delay, repeal and rewrite rules it considers unduly burdensome to industry, the administration has experienced significant setbacks in court. Federal judges have sided with California and environmental groups in cases concerning air pollution, pesticides and the royalties that the government receives from companies that extract oil, […]

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ARPA-E: Surviving and Thriving Despite Trump

Trump keeps trying to kill it, but the energy innovation hub keeps on going.

In the long run, supporting energy innovation is among the most important things the federal government can do to address climate change. Naturally, Trump wants to end that. In what has become an annual ritual, his most recent budget proposal calls for eliminating the  Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E).  The agency’s mission is to support […]

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HR 9: The First Climate Bill to Pass the House In a Decade

What you need to know about the bill.

Last Thursday, for the first time in a decade, the House of Representatives passed a climate change bill.  HR 9, the Climate Action Now Act, passed on a vote of 231-190. The heart of HR 9 is section 3, which blocks the use of any federal funds to withdraw from the Paris Agreement.  Section 4 […]

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Climate Change & the Democratic Candidates

The candidates are all in favor of climate action but there are significant variations in their stances.

It’s hard to keep track of the twenty or so Democrats who are in the running for the 2020 presidential nomination.   The differences between them on climate policy are minor compared with the gulf between them and President Trump.  All of them support the Paris Agreement, unlike Trump.  And all of them vow to restore […]

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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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