Politics

Will Russia “Win” the Climate Crisis?

It’s complicated. But probably not.

The conventional view is that climate change is going to be a great thing for Russia.  The reason is pretty obvious: a lot of Russia is cold and icy right now; warming will be an improvement. That’s likely to be true in some ways, but warming may be a mixed blessing. Whether what is good …

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Will public power advance decarbonization?

Increasing public control of energy systems may not facilitate decarbonization

Over the past few years, there has been a push in both Europe and the United States for a “Green New Deal” in which decarbonization efforts would be pushed by aggressive, direct government investments in clean energy technology and infrastructure.  But in much of the United States and in Europe, large portions of the electricity …

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Good News from “Down Under”

Australia’s election signals a welcome change in climate policy.

Australia has had a change of government. The Liberal Party — conservative  in everything but name — lost control of the federal government to Labor.   Australia was recently ranked last out of sixty countries in climate policy.The victorious Labor candidate told his supporters, “Together we can end the climate wars. Together we can take advantage of …

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Badly Drafted and Constitutionally Suspect

New laws blacklist “discrimination” against fossil fuel companies in states that normally could care less about discrimination of any kind.

Texas and a number of other states have passed laws banning what they call “boycotts of fossil fuel companies.” More precisely, they ban state investment or contracting with firms that “boycott” fossil fuel companies.  Besides being fundamentally misguided and difficult to implement, these blacklist laws are poorly  drafted and quite likely unconstitutional. The “fundamentally misguided” …

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Ways of Price Making, Inflation, and Energy Price Shocks

Ras Laffan LNG terminal in Qatar

This post was originally published on the Law and Political Economy blog as part of a symposium on inflation. Energy prices have been much in the news over the past several months, occupying a prominent place in mainstream discussions of inflation. Higher prices for oil, natural gas, coal, and electricity are all pushing up inflation across …

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The 2022 Elections and State Environmental Policies

Governors are pivotal players in state regulatory policies

The formal powers of state governors vary from state to state. Like Presidents, however, they have been busy the past few decades centralizing control of their bureaucracies. That makes them key players in the environment and energy domain.  This year, some key governors’ mansions are up for grabs. Here’s a summary of the current state …

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The Battle for the Senate

The 2022 elections will have repercussions in 2024 and beyond.

How much does control of the Senate matter for purposes of environmental law?  If Congress remains in Democratic hands, the Democrats can make another run at a reconciliation bill. Even if the House flips, control of the Senate still matters a lot, though the reasons are more complicated. The State of Play. Here’s where things …

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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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