Literature

What Do We Know About Environmental Justice?

Not As Much As We Should

If you are not a regular reader of the Journal of Economic Perspectives, you should be. Most economists fetishize what my friend and colleague Steve Bainbridge refers to accurately as “recreational mathematics.” But often, these models add more heat than light, and in any event, function as a private language. Fortunately enough, JEP’s magician-editor Timothy …

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What is Environmental Justice, Anyway?

New UCLA Law Review Article Attempts To Connect It To Community Legal Empowerment

I have a new piece out in the UCLA Law Review Discourse. Here’s the abstract: This Article considers Gitanjali Nain Gill’s recent book Environmental Justice in India, the first comprehensive look at India’s National Green Tribunal.  India’s environmental crisis—major international surveys highlight its severe environmental degradation—is of interest to the global public, for no progress on …

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Yellow Light for YIMBYs: Upzoning Can Increase Housing Prices

New Research Indicates That Inclusionary Zoning Should Accompany Liberalization

Well, that’s not what YIMBYs wanted. Yonah Freemark of MIT in the Urban Affairs Review: What are the local-level impacts of zoning change? I study recent Chicago upzonings that increased allowed densities and reduced parking requirements in a manner exogenous of development plans and neighborhood characteristics. To evaluate outcomes, I use difference-in-differences tests on property …

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What’s Wrong with Juliana (and What’s Right?)

The odds against the “children’s case” are bad and getting worse. But there’s a valid insight at its core.

Juliana v. United States, often called the “children’s case,” is an imaginative effort to make the federal government responsible for its role in promoting the production and use of fossil fuels and its failure to control carbon emissions.  They ask the court to “declare the United States’ current environmental policy infringes their fundamental rights, direct the …

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Climate Change is the new He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named

And Scott Pruitt is the new High Inquisitor at EPA

Last week, after saying that he did not believe that carbon dioxide is the primary cause of climate change, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt reminded me for the second time since he took office of someone I met at age fifteen: Dolores Umbridge. Yes, that Dolores Umbridge, the one that functions as the main villain of the …

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Do water managers’ perceptions influence innovation?

New survey probes the innovation deficit

Climate change and population growth are rapidly increasing stress on our water systems, challenging their ability to deliver critical services.  To respond to this, we need more than simple course adjustments in how we manage our water – we need entirely new paradigms that will improve resource efficiency and support more sustainable urban water systems. Considerable …

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Mr. Jefferson’s Bridge

Anticipating modern environmental views, Jefferson viewed nature as a public trust.

This being the Fourth of July, it seems appropriate to talk about Jefferson’s relationship with nature. A revealing example involves some land he owned between Lexington and Roanoke.  Two years before the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson purchased 157 acres of land  from the King.  He bought the land because it contained a remarkable feature — a 200-foot …

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Could a Riparian Conservation Network increase the ecological resilience of public lands?

A new article suggests river corridors could leverage existing policies to build habitat connectivity

As we try to protect biological diversity for the future, a perpetual challenge is ensuring that the strategies we adopt today will continue to work in the face of changing conditions. How can we design conservation approaches that will be resilient in the face of environmental challenges that will only become more severe in coming years? …

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The Greening of Post-Apocalypticism?

David Mitchell’s Masterpiece Provides a Perfect Epigraph — and Epitaph — for Environmentalism

A few weeks ago, I finished reading David Mitchell’s magnificent Cloud Atlas, a few months after seeing the still-excellent but-not-as-magnificent movie based upon it. The novel comprises a series of linked stories ranging from the mid-19th century to a post-apocalyptic future 300 years in the future. And that last story, profound and heartbreaking, tells us …

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A Hidden Property Gem From Justice Jackson

Where Do Property Rights Come From?

Although it is never fun to do new class preparation, I like teaching new classes because it forces me gives me the opportunity to learn new material and new areas of law. So it is this semester, when I will teach water law for the first time. In this case, not only have I learned …

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