General

Still Not SAFE

The Trump administration moves ahead with plans to roll back Obama-era fuel economy standards.

After months of delay, the Trump administration has reportedly chosen this coming week—in the middle of a nationwide crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic—to finally release the second part of its two-part rollback of Obama-era automotive fuel economy standards.  This isn’t the only environmental rollback action the administration is planning to take during the coming …

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How the Coronavirus is (Not) Like Climate Change

Coronavirus

The two have some informative parallels, although some observers draw the wrong conclusions

The coronavirus dominates the news and much of our minds. Here at Legal Planet, we have written about the coronavirus and presidential powers, disaster declarations, fossil fuel production, decision-making under uncertainty, inequality, and cities. I will join the party and consider what are the parallels and differences between the coronavirus crisis and anthropogenic climate change, …

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Court Rejects Trump Administration’s Cap-and-Trade Lawsuit Against California

Federal Government’s Constitutional Challenge to California’s Linked GHG Reduction Plan Fails

Since President Trump took office in early 2017, the State of California has filed over 70 different lawsuits challenging the Trump Administration’s policy initiatives on multiple fronts, including the environment, immigration policy and health care.  Over 40 of California’s lawsuits have targeted the Administration’s efforts to roll back longstanding federal environmental protection, natural resource management …

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Inequality and the Coronavirus

Everyone is at risk, but some more than others.

It’s a truism among disaster experts that people who were disadvantaged before a disaster are also the most vulnerable during the disaster.  There are aspects of the coronavirus pandemic that fit this mold.  Here are some of the disparities we can expect to see. Rural v. Urban. Much of our economic growth and job opportunity …

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Is a Pandemic a Major Disaster?

Cuomo has asked for major disaster relief. But there’s a serious legal hurdle to that.

Yesterday, I wrote about presidential powers in a pandemic. I mentioned the possibility of declaring the pandemic a major disaster under the Stafford Act.  Today, we learned that Gov. Cuomo of New York has made such a request. [Note: two days after this was written, FEMA granted the request.] What does the law have to …

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Europe Mulls its First Climate Law

European Union flag

What would it do in terms of emissions targets and likely actual mitigation?

The European Union is, if one treats it as a country, the world’s third greatest emitter of greenhouse gases (GHGs). It has also been a leader in emissions reduction (“mitigation”), and its per capita emissions are merely 43% of the US’s. The EU government is presently considering a major new climate law that will set …

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California’s governance innovation for groundwater sustainability

by Anita Milman and Michael Kiparsky

For the past several years, California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act has been the talk, not only of the town and of the state, but also of the national and international groundwater and environmental policy community. What’s the big deal? SGMA fundamentally changes groundwater management in California – a big deal to be sure. Equally important, …

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Understanding wastewater utility views on innovation and regulation

Figure 1

by Luke Sherman, Alida Cantor, Anita Milman, and Michael Kiparsky

The same underlying technology has been used in the municipal wastewater sector for 100 years. New technologies that treat effluent more efficiently and effectively exist, yet deployment of those technologies has been slow. The limited adoption of new technologies in the wastewater sector raises questions about how to encourage innovation. Popular narratives around innovation sometimes …

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Virus Denial

Yet another effort to ignore reality, from the usual players.

We’ve seen this movie before. Scientists warn of a serious threat. But in Trump World, the problem doesn’t exist. It’s just a product of alarmism. First, climate change. Now, the coronavirus, COVID-19. Trump himself has worked hard to minimize the problem. “We have very few people with it,” he said, and ” people are getting …

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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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