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Climate Change and Political Action

Do the Fires in Australia Change Anything?

“I want people to unite behind the science . . .  I’m not the one who’s saying these things.  I’m not the one who we should be listening to.  And I say that all the time.  I say we need to listen to the scientists.” –Greta Thunberg, September 11, 2019 “Look, scientists also have a …

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Juliana and the Future of Climate Litigation

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 …

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New California Report on State Climate Policies Released

Independent Emissions Market Advisory Committee Recommends Focus on Transportation, Affordability, Allowance Banking, Allowance Supply and the Effects of Overlapping Policies in the Regional Electricity Market

The California Independent Emissions Market Advisory Committee released its annual report yesterday making recommendations about California climate policy. I serve as the Vice Chair of  the committee and as the Speaker of the Assembly’s appointee. Our report makes five recommendations: that the state focus on the affordability of its carbon policies, with special concern about …

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Dark Waters in Dark Times

Citizen Petition Presses EPA To Call Chemicals in Environmental Docudrama “Hazardous Waste”

This holiday season, A-list actors drew moviegoers to a film with a distinctly un-Hollywood plot line:  A company dumps thousands of pounds of toxic, long-lived chemicals (PFAS, or per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances) into unlined pits that drain into a farming community’s drinking water.  Local residents fall ill, some terminally.  A heroic attorney (Mark Ruffalo) represents them …

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Drawdown Marin

How Does a Local Government Reduce GHG Emissions?

In November, Australia’s deputy Prime Minister described those making the link between climate change and bush fires as “inner-city raving lunatics.”  We can report some progress.  His boss, Prime Minister Scott Morrison, now acknowledges the link (although he wants to maintain current policies). As climate impacts become more extreme and obvious, more jurisdictions, from cities …

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Happy Birthday, NEPA!

NEPA turns 50 today. Its passage was the beginning of modern environmental law.

Welcome to 2020.  Before we start worrying about the year ahead, it’s worth taking a look backward.  Today marks the fiftieth anniversary of the passage of the National Environmental Policy Act, usually called NEPA for short. When he signed NEPA into law, President Nixon said: “It is particularly fitting that my first official act in …

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Commemorating the National Environmental Policy Act’s 50th Anniversary

Celebrating NEPA: America’s Most Transformative, Overarching & Catalytic Environmental Law

On a snowy New Year’s Day in 1970–50 years ago today–then-President Richard Nixon signed into law the National Environmental Policy Act.  NEPA’s passage marked the beginning of America’s modern environmental law era.  It  was followed by Congressional passage of a series of other federal environmental laws over the next decade–major statutes that to this day …

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In Search of Climate Ambition

COP25 China Pavillion

China can lead the way in 2020, but will it?

China, the world’s largest carbon emitter, has the opportunity to enhance global ambition on climate change action this coming year in the run-up to COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland. The question is whether it will do so. I attended COP25 in Madrid this month with colleagues and students on behalf of UCLA’s Emmett Institute on Climate Change and …

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Charting the Progress of the Latest Chapter in American Climate Change Litigation

State and Local Governments’ Common Law-Based Lawsuits Against the Energy Industry Are Steadily Gaining Traction

The latest chapter in American climate change litigation has been launched by local governments–and one state–across the U.S. against domestic and international fossil fuel companies.  These lawsuits have been brought under one of the oldest and most venerable legal doctrines–state common law.  They seek compensation from the energy industry for the myriad, adverse effects of …

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Guest Blogger Divya Rao: Confronting Reality: A Lack of Accountability at COP25

Action at Madrid COP25

The Support of Toyota and Other Manufacturers for the Trump Administration’s Policy Rollbacks Shows the Need to Confront Corporate Decisionmaking on Energy and Climate

As Cara Horowitz and Idalmis Vaquero discussed in their blog posts, the true highlight of COP 25 has been the numerous youth and indigenous interventions, actions, and disruptions. After spending four days at the COP, I came away from the events surprised by the level of corporate visibility and greenwashing in the side events, but …

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