Land Use

Deforestation and the Climate Crisis in a Time of Pandemic

Forest fire via NASA Earth Observatory

Despite the pandemic-induced global economic contraction, deforestation increased last year, with significant increases in the destruction of primary tropical forests.

  Earlier this week, the World Resources Institute released its first assessment of global forest loss for 2020, offering a chance to take stock of what happened to the world’s forests during the pandemic.  The news is not good. Despite a shrinking global economy, deforestation increased around the world in 2020. In temperate regions, some …

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How Cities Can Use California’s Housing Element to Get New Housing Built

New changes in state law allow local governments to commit to long-term production of housing

Over the next two years, cities across the state of California will undertake a state-mandated process to update the “housing element” of their general plans for land use. Cities must demonstrate that they have—or will provide—adequate zoned capacity to accommodate their share of “regional housing need,” a figure which is determined by the state Department …

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The California Supreme Court’s Most Important Environmental Law Decisions of 2020

It Was a Relatively Quiet Year for Environmental Law in the California Supreme Court

[This is the third and final installment in a series of posts highlighting the most significant environmental law decisions of 2020.  Earlier this week, I profiled the key 2020 environmental rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.  This post concludes the series with an examination of …

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New Report: Deploying Engineered Carbon Removal In California

Law & policy options to boost demonstration projects + free webinar on January 27th

Berkeley/UCLA Law report discusses policy solutions to boost engineered carbon removal technologies. Register for a free webinar on Wednesday, January 27th at 10am with an expert panel to hear about the top findings. California has enacted ambitious climate goals, including a statewide carbon neutrality target by 2045. While much of the required greenhouse gas reductions …

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President Biden & Climate Change: What’s Achievable?

Divided federal government might still allow possibility for meaningful action

With a victory in the presidential election, Joe Biden now faces a U.S. Senate that still hangs in the balance. But even with a Democratic runoff sweep in Georgia next month, it will be very divided. So what will be possible for a President Biden and his administration to achieve on climate change? Agency action, …

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Housing Solutions Fizzle In California’s Legislature

A rundown on the failures (and few successes) this session

Housing policy is at the center of all of our major societal problems in the United States: Care about racial justice? Restrictive housing and land use policies are responsible for our deeply segregated towns and cities. Climate change? Bad housing policies are the reason why so many people are forced into long, emission-spewing commutes, because …

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Taking Technology Seriously in Global Environmental Politics

Global Environmental Politics cover

A special issue on new technologies is now available

I am proud to announce a special issue of Global Environmental Politics on new technologies, edited by Simon Nicholson of American University and me, is now available. We write in the introductory essay: Human beings are at once makers of and made by technology. The ability to wield tools was an essential ingredient in propelling an …

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Red Paint Would Curb Public Access to Palos Verdes Nature Preserve, One of Los Angeles County’s Most Significant Open Spaces

Parking restrictions in Rancho Palos Verdes

Rancho Palos Verdes City Council votes to restrict public street parking near Portuguese Bend Reserve

  See a full set of photos illustrating parking restrictions at Portuguese Bend Reserve on the Emmett Institute Flickr page. At its Sept. 1 meeting, the Rancho Palos Verdes City Council responded to public concern about its new parking restrictions by voting unanimously to move away from a full parking prohibition and remove a limited …

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RIP Jim Mahoney, Climate Champion At Bank Of America

Financial executive helped launch UC Berkeley/UCLA Law “Climate Change and Business Initiative”

Jim Mahoney was perhaps an unlikely climate hero. A senior Bank of America and FleetBoston Financial executive for 25 years who tragically passed away this past weekend at the age of 67 (the result of complications from injuries he sustained in a bicycle accident last year), Jim’s work focused on global corporate strategy and public …

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Guest Blogger John Graham: California Court Decision Will Affect Future Use of Carbon Offsets to Mitigate Emissions of Development

Aerial view in San Diego, California, looking roughly north toward San Diego State University.

The California Court of Appeal Rules San Diego County’s Climate Action Plan Violates CEQA

The challenge to San Diego County’s Climate Action Plan (“CAP”) in Golden Door has been closely watched by many interested in the use of carbon offsets to mitigate GHG impacts in California. Simply put, carbon offsets are mechanisms that reflect off-site GHG reductions—from activities like reforestation—that can, in some cases, compensate for a project’s GHG …

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