Oceans

California Adopts Nation-Leading Legislation to Cut Plastic Pollution

Less than 10 percent of the world’s plastic waste is recycled. Photo credit: Bo Eide, Flickr

Extended producer responsibility law will reduce single-use waste and shift responsibility to industry

In a welcome reprieve from news coming out of the Supreme Court, here’s an uplifting story from the Golden State: On Thursday, Governor Newsom signed SB 54, a comprehensive piece of legislation aimed at significantly reducing single-use waste. The law will affect just about every type of plastic packaging you see walking down the supermarket …

CONTINUE READING

Desalination: An Essential Part of California’s Water Future

Coastal Commission’s Recent Rejection of Huntington Beach Desalination Project Misguided

Let me begin this commentary with a disclaimer: I was an early and strong proponent of Proposition 20, the successful 1972 California voter initiative measure that enacted the Coastal Act and created the California Coastal Commission (albeit temporarily).  I supported with equal enthusiasm the state Legislature’s 1976 enactment of legislation making both the Coastal Act …

CONTINUE READING

Everyday Christmas: The Gift of the Commons

Clean air. Clean water. We receive these public goods every day without payment

One of the Christmas classics is the Jimmy Stewart movie, It’s a Wonderful Life. Stewart is despondent about his life but then learns how much he has unknowingly helped others and how grateful they are. There’s a flip side to that story: the need to remember how much others have contributed to our own lives.  …

CONTINUE READING

Downstream Emissions

A new court ruling could doom the Trump Administration’s ANWR plan.

A Ninth Circuit ruling yesterday overturned approval of offshore drilling in the Arctic. The ruling may directly impact the Trump Administration’s plans for oil leasing in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). By requiring agencies to consider emissions when fossil fuels are ultimately burned, the Court of Appeal’s decision may also change the way that …

CONTINUE READING

When Republicans Supported the Environment: Bush 41

The GOP wasn’t always the sworn enemy of environmental protection.

Younger people today probably know about George Herbert Walker Bush (R) as the father of George W. Bush and (perhaps) as the architect of the first Iraq War. But he also had some notable environmental achievements to his credit. Here are some of his accomplishments: Air Pollution Law. The 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments were …

CONTINUE READING

Time to Get Serious about Climate Change and Oceans

Science can unlock powerful tools to fight climate change and ocean acidification, but only if we fund research and govern it well.

  In the Before Time, I spoke with a few ocean scientists on climate issues, and I heard a common refrain. Climate change receives little attention or funding, considering the magnitude of the problem; climate impacts on oceans get even less; and marine carbon removal gets almost none at all. Humans are short-lived terrestrial creatures. …

CONTINUE READING

Today is World Oceans Day

Our oceans need and deserve more sustained attention

Today, June 8, 2020, marks World Oceans Day. The official UN site carries the theme “Innovation for a Sustainable Ocean.” The oceans give our blue planet its character. More than 70% of the earth’s surface lies under oceans. They hold 99% of the planet’s habitable space. Yet they have often been effectively invisible. Much less …

CONTINUE READING

Trump says he will allow commercial fishing in national monument

An Antiquities Act edition of “can he do that”?

On June 5, President Trump issued a “Proclamation on Modifying The Northeast Canyons And Seamounts Marine National Monument.” This Proclamation follows a court defeat for opponents of the National Monument — the DC Circuit last year dismissed a claim by commercial fishing interests that the National Monument was unlawfully designated. Trump’s Proclamation purports to modify …

CONTINUE READING

A Solar Geoengineering Milestone Goes Largely Unnoticed

Testing marine cloud brightening equipment. Credit: Brendan Kelaher/Southern Cross University

The first explicit, meaningful outdoor test garnered little attention in the news or from environmentalists

In response to insufficient cuts in greenhouse gas emission, some scientists and others are researching solar geoengineering. These techniques would reflect a small portion of incoming sunlight to cool the planet and counter climate change. A major step in solar geoengineering was recently taken, although you probably wouldn’t know it from reading the news or …

CONTINUE READING

Resuscitating Obama’s Environmental Legacy

Trump has had a single-minded focus on eliminating any traces of Obama’s presidency. But it’s not too late to turn the tide.

We’ve now had nearly four years of Trump’s all-out war on environmental protection. Trump has single-mindedly tried  to wipe out every trace of Obama’s legacy.  It’s time to see what’s left of Obama’s achievements. And what could a new President do to revive his legacy? In a Legal Planet post a week before the last …

CONTINUE READING

TRENDING