Green Living

Wildfires, CEQA, Climate Change & the Courts

Recent Court Decisions Halt Building Projects, Invalidate CEQA Reviews for Failing to Assess Wildfire Hazards

Environmental and conservation groups have for a number of years attempted to convince California courts of the need to integrate climate change considerations into environmental analyses prepared under the state’s most important environmental law, the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).  However, the California judiciary has demonstrated little appetite for doing so.  Until now. Recently, courts …

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What Does the Future Hold for the American Gas Station?

The end of the gas car will eventually leave 100,000 stations behind.

Gas stations have been fixtures in our world for a century or more. There are even books of photos of picturesque gas stations, some futuristic, others quaint. We’re transitioning into a world dominated by electric vehicles. What does the future hold for these icons of the fossil fuel era? There are now about a hundred …

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Debate Amid Coronavirus: Are Single-Use Plastic Bags Safer?

Legal Planet Plastic Bags

How Plastics Companies and Environmental Groups Can Help Us Find an Answer

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, concerns have grown over the safety of grocery bags. Many U.S. states—among them New York, California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Oregon—have suspended or delayed their single-use plastic bag bans in the past two months. Some places like Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and San Francisco have gone even further to temporarily ban reusable …

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Are Pandemics An Argument Against Cities?

COVID-19 spread shows governance matters more than density

With the COVID-19 virus shutting down cities and countries all over the world, anti-urban advocates are seizing the moment to argue that pandemics prove urban density is bad. For example, longtime sprawl booster Joel Kotkin argues that shelter-in-place orders and fear of contagion will push people to demand more lower-density homes, far from crowded and …

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The Bleak California Housing Picture By Numbers

Key recent studies and data can inform the legislative debate

As the debate over SB 50 and other state legislative efforts to boost California’s housing supply heats up, it’s worth reviewing some of the data about how dire the housing situation is in the state. Here are some tidbits: High Home Prices and Rents: According to the California Legislative Analysts Office, the average California home …

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The Real Lesson From Madrid’s Failed Climate Conference? Spain’s Success On Urban Quality of Life & Carbon Emissions

Southern European nation excels at walkability, reduced emissions & resident happiness

The UN climate conference in Madrid last month may have ended poorly, but conference attendees had a big success story right in front of them in the host country. Spain’s success achieving efficient – and enjoyable – land use and transportation outcomes is a model other countries and states should emulate to address climate change. …

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“But What Can Someone Like Me Do About Climate Change?”

Yes, there ARE things you can do. Individual efforts add up.

One reason people avoid thinking about climate change, or try to pretend it’s not happening, is that they feel powerless to address the problem.  It’s true that anything we can individually do is minuscule compared with the scope of the problem.  But individual efforts really do add up.  People usually think first about how to …

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Where’s the Beef?

Mississippi’s “Veggie Burgers” Ban is Almost Certainly Unconstitutional

Mississippi recently passed a law that has the effect of banning terms like “veggie burger.”  It’s easy to imagine other states passing similar laws. From an environmental view, that’s problematic, because beef in particular is connected with much higher greenhouse gas emissions than plant products.  It’s not just the methane from cow-burps, it’s also all …

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New Report: Increasing Energy Efficiency at Low-Income Multifamily Properties

Join Berkeley/UCLA Law expert webinar Thursday at 10am to discuss top findings

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What I Wish The Green New Deal Hadn’t Left Out

Greening our infrastructure is part of the solution, but so’s city planning.

While there’s certainly been no shortage of criticism of last week’s Green New Deal resolution, the common line hasn’t been that the resolution doesn’t try to cover enough ground.  On the contrary, it’s been called an everything-but-the-carbon-sink approach; even Trevor Noah devoted a few minutes of the Daily Show to gaping at the proposal’s efforts …

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