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
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
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
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
Important Legal & Policy Considerations in Closing Beaches to Protect Public Health
As part of America’s steadily growing restiveness over state and local shelter-in-place directives, the issue of government-mandated public beach closures has recently emerged as a particularly contentious issue. It’s especially prominent now, given that many coastal states are experiencing their first heat waves of 2020. Many Americans are increasingly weary of and angry over public …CONTINUE READING
Why Celebrating Environmental Values & Goals Is Now More Important Than Ever
Today marks the 50th anniversary of America’s first Earth Day. Beginning on April 22, 1970, the United States and global community have rallied each year to celebrate environmental values and goals. It seems especially important to commemorate and continue that tradition in the midst of the current coronavirus pandemic. The first Earth Day was a …CONTINUE READING
It’s easy to put off long-term problems when there’s a crisis. Much too easy, actually.
Long-term problems get short shrift in a crisis. That’s true of infrastructure repair; it’s also true of climate change. Like deferred maintenance, climate change just gets bigger the longer it’s put off. I often see the fruits of deferred maintenance on the Berkeley campus. Building conditions are a huge problem at Berkeley. Whenever there’s a …CONTINUE READING
As climate change warms the world’s oceans, marine scientists have paid special attention to how this will influence the movement of fish. Recent articles have shown that fish stocks are migrating toward colder waters in the poles. In a piece published yesterday in Nature Sustainability, a group of economists, marine scientists, and I examined for the first …CONTINUE READING
A potential tool for adaptation and carbon removal, but more research is needed.
The carbonate cycle helps make the oceans one of the largest carbon sinks on the planet. As the oceans’ surface waters mingle with the open air, they absorb enormous amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2), storing it in the water as carbonic acid and carbonates and as limestone on the seafloor. The carbonate cycle is a …CONTINUE READING
State and Local Governments’ Common Law-Based Lawsuits Against the Energy Industry Are Steadily Gaining Traction
The latest chapter in American climate change litigation has been launched by local governments–and one state–across the U.S. against domestic and international fossil fuel companies. These lawsuits have been brought under one of the oldest and most venerable legal doctrines–state common law. They seek compensation from the energy industry for the myriad, adverse effects of …CONTINUE READING