Politics

One Year and Counting

How does Biden’s first year compare with Trump’s? Biden has been much more effective.

If you compare Biden’s performance with his promised agenda, the first year has been disappointing. If instead you compare him with his predecessor, Biden has done more to achieve his environmental goals. The difference is that Trump was judged on the basis of his rhetoric, while Biden is judged based on his achievement. Four years …

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The Least Surprising Disaster in History

Some disasters come as shocking surprises. Climate change is the opposite.

Whatever you want to say about climate change, you can’t say we’ve been blindsided.  The US has had decades to take action against climate change, and we spent nearly half that time deliberately making things worse. Scientists have had reasons for concern about climate change for over a century, and the first government report on …

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2022: The Year Ahead

Here are the five biggest things to watch for.

There will be a lot going on this year in the environmental sphere.  I wanted to focus on a few big things to keep an eye on, rather than trying to give a long, comprehensive survey. Here are the five biggest things to watch for: Midterm elections. As of now, things are looking very good …

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2021: The Year in Review

After the dark days of the Trump Era, environmental policy had a very good year

The continuing pandemic sometimes makes it feel like time is frozen. But 2021 was a big year for environmental policy. Politics. The biggest news of 2021, for the environment as well as other reasons, was the replacement of Donald Trump by Joseph Biden. On the regulatory front, the change in White House control instantly stopped …

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Positive Signs That California’s New Housing Laws Will be Enforced

Recent Actions by California Courts & State Officials Are Encouraging, & Push Back Against Local Government Recalcitrance on the Housing Reform Front

In a recent post, I analyzed the California Legislature’s recent passage and Governor Gavin Newsom’s signing into law of two important bills–SB 9 and SB 10–designed to confront California’s well-documented housing crisis.  Those laws represent but the latest chapter in the Legislature’s record-setting enactment of numerous statutes in recent years to incentivize and mandate construction …

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On the Frustrations of Climate Politics

It’s not just the shortcomings of Joe Manchin.  Climate legislation is an inherently tough political challenge.

Yesterday, Joe Manchin announced that he couldn’t support the Build Back Better reconciliation bill. Unless Biden can somehow coax him back to the negotiating table, that dooms what would have been a major breakthrough in climate policy.  Manchin bears responsibility for this deeply regrettable decision. But climate legislation is hard, even in more favorable political …

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Cornhuskers Go Green

Nebraska has become the first solid Red state to adopt climate targets

Last week, Nebraska became the first state under complete Republican control to adopt a 2050 goal of net-zero emissions from the grid. No Democratic presidential candidate has carried the state in almost fifty years (and the last previous time was before World War II). Republicans have controlled the state legislature and governor’s mansion since this …

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What to Be Thankful For (2021 edition)

Here’s the one thing environmentalists should be most thankful for this year.

If there is a single thing for environmentalists to be thankful for this year, it is simply this:  the virulently anti-environmental Donald Trump is no longer in the White House. My Thanksgiving post last year began, “Nearly four years into the Trump Administration, we’re now accustomed to waking up every morning to learn about a …

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What’s in the Reconciliation Bill?

The House takes an important step toward transforming the energy system

Last Friday, the House passed its version of the Build Back Better Act. Due to a quirk in parliamentary procedure, the Senate will be able to consider the $1.7 trillion bill under the “reconciliation” process, which means no filibuster is allowed. It remains unclear whether anyone can wrangle all fifty Senators into supporting some version …

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The Climate Bill inside the Infrastructure Bill

The US takes a major step forward on the path to carbon neutrality.

Late Friday, the House passed Biden’s infrastructure bill. As the Washington Post aptly observed, the bill is the biggest climate legislation to ever move through Congress. It also attracted key support from some Republicans, which was essential to passing it in both houses of Congress. Biden is pushing for an even bigger companion bill, but …

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