Politics

Climate Change Legislation: Is the Train (Finally) Leaving the Station?

I posted yesterday about Rep. Boehner’s bone-headed statement about climate change.  My first thought was that this was completely idiotic, making a childish argument that even George W. Bush would have scorned.    The fact that some CO2 is normal and even necessary proves nothing about what happens when concentrations go beyond the normal level: salt …

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Oh What A Difference A President Makes

We’re not even 85 days into the Obama Administration and yet the signs of environmental change are all around us.  The EPA announced today its  formal determination under the Clean Air Act that greenhouse gases are pollutants that endanger public health and welfare.  This is only the latest in a string of announcements that show just how quickly Obama is …

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Low-hanging carbon

I’m looking forward to hearing Scripps climate scientist Veerabhadran Ramanathan speak at an event next week in Los Angeles, and I hope he’ll talk about black carbon, which many are calling the low-hanging fruit of the climate change problem.  Black carbon is the fine black soot that’s generated by carbon combustion, these days mostly from traditional cookstoves and …

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T.R.–Our First Environmental President

I confess that Theodore Roosevelt has always been my favorite President. In part, it was his joie de vivre; in part his eclectic, passionate intellectual curiosity; and, in part, his sunny optimism in the face of often-formidable challenges. I recalled these traits when I read a fascinating excerpt in this month’s Vanity Fair from a …

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Cleaning Up the Bush EPA’s Dry Cleaning Rule

The Washington Post reported that EPA “is reconsidering whether to compel dry cleaners to phase out a cancer-causing chemical used in tens of thousands of operations nationwide.”  In 2006, the Bush Administration issued an air toxics rule for professional dry cleaners using perchloroethylene in which it tightened technology requirements, but refused to phase out use …

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Free Allowances! Get Your Free Allowances!

From WashPo, The Obama administration might agree to postpone auctioning off 100 percent of emissions allowances under a cap-and-trade system to limit greenhouse gas pollution, White House science adviser John P. Holdren said today, a move that would please electricity providers and manufacturers but could anger environmentalists. Why would this “anger environmentalists’?  I certainly see …

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Waxman-Markey: Adaptation

(This post is co-authored with Alejandro Camacho, Associate Professor of Law, University of Notre Dame, and cross-posted with permission from the Center for Progressive Reform blog.) It’s heartening that the recently released Waxman-Markey climate change bill discussion draft includes a lengthy subtitle on Adapting to Climate Change. No matter how rapidly the world acts to …

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The Omnibus Public Lands Management Act of 2009–A Macro and Micro View

I’d like to follow up on Sean Hecht’s recent posting concerning Congressional passage and President Obama’s signing into law of the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act of 2009. This massive bill designates two million acres of wilderness in nine states as permanently off-limits to development, and increases the number of river miles protected under the …

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The Washington Post versus George Will

The paper seems to be disavowing the views of its own columnist: The new evidence — including satellite data showing that the average multiyear wintertime sea ice cover in the Arctic in 2005 and 2006 was nine feet thick, a significant decline from the 1980s — contradicts data cited in widely circulated reports by Washington …

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Shifting the Regulatory Status Quo: The Case of Climate Change

A basic insight of positive political theory is that the existence of veto points makes it possible for an agenda setter to substantially influence political outcomes.  Essentially, an outcome is viable so long as it satisfies a basic condition: it must be closer than the status quoto to the optimum outcome  for at least one …

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