Forests

Guest Contributors Leeza Arbatman, Michael Cohen, and Shawna Strecker: New California Bills Provide Pathway for Local Wildfire Risk Reduction in Southern California

Smoke from Bobcat Fire, San Gabriel Mountains

SB 85 and SB 63 create opportunities for wildfire prevention strategies proposed by UCLA California Environmental Legislation and Policy Clinic

We are students in UCLA Law’s California Environmental Legislation and Policy Clinic, a course in which students work with legislative staff in the California State Legislature to advance environmental policy goals. In Fall 2020, working with staff for State Senator Henry Stern, we developed recommendations for local government efforts to manage wildfire risk. Now, new …

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Deforestation and the Climate Crisis in a Time of Pandemic

Forest fire via NASA Earth Observatory

Despite the pandemic-induced global economic contraction, deforestation increased last year, with significant increases in the destruction of primary tropical forests.

  Earlier this week, the World Resources Institute released its first assessment of global forest loss for 2020, offering a chance to take stock of what happened to the world’s forests during the pandemic.  The news is not good. Despite a shrinking global economy, deforestation increased around the world in 2020. In temperate regions, some …

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The $25 Million Question: How Sonoma County Can Spend Vegetation Management Funds to Bolster Wildfire Resilience

by Ethan Elkind, Ted Lamm, & Katie Segal

How would you spend $25 million to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire through vegetation management? Sonoma County leaders found themselves facing this question and enlisted UC Berkeley School of Law’s Center for Law, Energy and the Environment (CLEE) for help. Today, CLEE is releasing a report with specific recommendations for Sonoma County, which we …

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The Ninth Circuit’s 10 Most Important Environmental Law Decisions of 2020

Climate Change, California v. Trump Cases Lead the List

This is the second of three year-end posts on the most important environmental law decisions in 2020 from the U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and California Supreme Court.  (The key U.S. Supreme Court rulings were the focus of yesterday’s post, and tomorrow’s will feature California Supreme Court decisions.) Today, …

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Engineering Biological Diversity

In a new paper, I introduce the international governance of synthetic biology, gene drives, and de-extinction for conservation.

In addition to climate change — the primary topic of my academic writing — biodiversity loss is the other major global environmental challenge. Like climate change, efforts over the last three decades keep failing to meet agreed-upon objectives. And like climate change, scientists and others are considering novel technologies that would intervene in natural systems …

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The Danger of Climate Change Deadlines

deadline, by geralt at pixabay

Essential targets set by some of the world’s leading climate scientists and policymakers just passed. Now what?

Seven prominent figures in the global climate change policy discourse published an opinion essay in Nature. In “Three years to safeguard our climate,” they set a deadline for key targets to be met in order to stay on track to meet the Paris Agreement’s global warming goals. The notable thing is that the essay was …

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Surprise! Major Land Conservation Bill Poised to Pass Congress

Republican-Led Senate Prepared to Preserve Public Lands–and Political Careers?

Over the past decade, we’ve become resigned to the sad fact of congressional gridlock: a hopelessly partisan and paralyzed Congress, seemingly unable to pass major legislation on the environmental protection, natural resource conservation or, indeed, any number of other policy fronts. So it has to come as a  shock to most observers that this week …

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(Still More) Bad News on the Doorstep

New Reports Document Accelerating Wildlife Extinctions, Global Deforestation Trends

While public attention in recent weeks and months has understandably focused on the COVID-19 pandemic and the racial justice shockwaves triggered by George Floyd’s tragic death, another disaster continues apace. This week the New York Times published two alarming stories documenting the accelerating decline of our global environment.  The first, entitled “Extinctions Are Accelerating, Threatening …

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Trees Will *Not* Solve Climate Change

Pine tree plantation, near Thetford cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Bob Jones - geograph.org.uk/p/517891

The authors of a controversial, influential paper backtrack — again

Last summer, I pointed to a then-new paper in Science that concluded that planting trees could remove two-thirds of historical anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions from the atmosphere at very low costs. At the time, I characterized the claims in it and the associated media communications as “misleading, if not false, as well as potentially dangerous.” …

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Top 10 Worst Environmental Decisions in California’s History

Ranking the lost landscapes and environmental features

California has a paradoxical history with its environment. On one hand, the state boasts incredible natural beauty, along with a government that is an internationally recognized leader for strong environmental policies. But the state’s residents have also caused severe environmental destruction, particularly in the late nineteenth century — some of which helped spur the mobilization …

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