Land Use

Can Soils Solve Climate Change?

Carbon-rich soil, in eastern Pennsylvania, from Flickr user soilscience

Another dubious claim of natural climate solutions makes the rounds

A few months ago, I questioned a claim that planting trees could solve climate change. According to some scientists, reforestation “is by far the cheapest solution that has ever been proposed,” and for $300 billion it could sequester 200 gigatons of carbon (GtC, or 733 GtCO2). Many media outlets swooned, but the assertions were weak …

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TOC Under Fire

Fix the City’s new lawsuit challenges a key transit-oriented housing program

Last week, a Los Angeles slow-growth group, Fix the City, filed a lawsuit challenging a West Los Angeles development project on Santa Monica Boulevard.  The project, a seven-story, 120-unit apartment building less than half a mile from the Century City mall, was approved using density bonus, height, and setback incentives through the City of Los …

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Weaponizing Water in Kashmir

India’s legal moves on water put Pakistan on edge

A month after India’s move to exert more direct control over Jammu & Kashmir, the Indian state that occupies part of the larger Kashmir region, the country is also now in a position to exert control – in both illegal and legal ways – over important river waters that Pakistan relies upon to sustain people …

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Is California’s High Speed Rail Project Falling Apart?

Join my KALW radio conversation tonight with newly appointed High Speed Rail Authority board chair Lenny Mendonca at 7pm

The future of California’s high speed rail system has arguably never been as perilous as now. Otherwise-supportive legislators are now openly mulling raiding high speed rail funds meant to complete the first leg in the Central Valley for rail improvements in the more densely populated parts of California, namely the San Francisco Bay Area and …

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Is the Amazon Burning?

The current panic may not be justified, although long-term worries are

The environmental community is presently up in arms about fires in Brazil’s Amazon. The number of fires have dramatically increased over this time last year. A Greenpeace worker said, “This is not just a forest that is burning. This is almost a cemetery. Because all you can see is death.” France’s president Emmanuel Macron tweeted, …

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Renewable Texas: Lessons from the Lonestar State

Texas has the most wind power in the country and is rapidly building solar. How did that happen?

People are often surprised to learn that Texas is the national leader in wind power, with the twice the generating capacity of any other state.  On one notable night in December of 2015, the state got 45% of its power from wind, though the year-round average was only about 10%.  In July of this year, the …

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Can Planting Trees Solve Climate Change?

global tree restoration potential

Unfortunately, a new scientific paper overstates forests’ potential

Today, The Guardian reports: Tree planting ‘has mind-blowing potential’ to tackle climate crisis Planting billions of trees across the world is by far the biggest and cheapest way to tackle the climate crisis, according to scientists… As trees grow, they absorb and store the carbon dioxide emissions that are driving global heating. New research estimates …

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Guest Blogger Ralph Faust: Improving Public Participation at the California Coastal Commission 

The California Coastal Commission is a state agency whose mission is to preserve and manage the state’s coast. Its decisions regarding planning and development implement core state policies and determine individual legal rights. Both the perception and the reality of a fair, just, and accessible process is crucial to maintaining public confidence in the Commission’s decision-making.  In February …

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Supreme Court Takes a Knick Out of Regulatory Takings Law

Justices Curb Ripeness Rule; Open Federal Courts to Takings Litigation

  In the final, major environmental law decision of its current Term, the U.S. Supreme Court handed property rights advocates a major victory while repudiating an important regulatory takings precedent the Court had itself fashioned and announced 34 years ago. The case is Knick v. Township of Scott.  By a narrow 5-4 vote that split …

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Sen. Portantino Spikes California’s Critical Housing & Climate Legislation

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 …

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