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 […]
Will Gov. Newsom and Sen. Atkins Rescue SB 50?
California faces a dual crisis: a massive housing shortage leading to displacement and spiraling economic inequality; and an increase in driving miles and related greenhouse gas emissions which threaten to undermine the state’s progress achieving its climate goals. Both of these crises were solidly addressed in Sen. Scott Wiener’s SB 50, which seeks to ease […]
Why Stopping Deforestation May be the Hardest and Most Important Part of the Climate Change Challenge
When contemplating the enormous challenge of global climate change, it is sometimes helpful to think about a simple model of the global carbon budget (see figure below). These admittedly reductionist schematics distinguish between sources, sinks, and reservoirs. Fossil hydrocarbons from the geological reservoir–call this dead carbon—are extracted and burned to generate energy, emitting vast amounts […]
By Dave Owen and Michael Kiparsky
One of the many noteworthy features of California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) is that it requires local government agencies to consider and address the effects of groundwater management upon interconnected surface water. That requirement is an important step towards rationalizing California water management, which has long treated groundwater and surface water as separate resources. […]
Feds’ Curious New Lawsuits Against State Water Board Likely Just the Opening Litigation Salvo
When it comes to California water policy, the federal-state relationship has always been both strained and challenging. That intergovernmental tension harkens back at least to the Reclamation Act of 1902. In section 8 of this iconic federal statute that transformed the American West, Congress declared that the federal government “shall proceed in conformity with” state […]
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 […]
EPA’s scientific advisory committee, which is packed with industry representatives, wants to make it a lot harder to prove pollution is dangerous.
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 […]
The federal estimate of energy-related carbon emissions in 2050 should get our attention.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) issues projections for future energy use across all sectors of society. They aren’t really predictions of our energy future — they are more like conversation starters. In fact, some researchers suggest that EIA shows a consistent bias by forecasting more energy use than actually occurs. Yet, […]
A proposed resolution falters at the UN Environment Assembly
At this week’s UN Environment Assembly, countries’ representatives debated a draft resolution regarding climate geoengineering. Unable to come to agreement, it was withdrawn Wednesday. This is not surprising to me, as — for the most part — leaders presently lack political incentives to take action. I am also not particularly disappointed, because a counter-productive resolution seemed fairly […]