Politics

Genetically Modified Organisms Return to the International Policy Agenda

March Against Monsanto, Vancouver, May 25, 2013. Photo by Rosalee Yagihara, CC BY 2.0

This first in a series begins by looking back at GMOs and environmental law

Although the big news in international biodiversity this week was the release of the summary of the first global assessment from a relatively new UN-affiliated body, the topic of another report warrants attention as well. Yesterday the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) published its findings on “the potential positive and negative impacts of synthetic […]

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HR 9: The First Climate Bill to Pass the House In a Decade

What you need to know about the bill.

Last Thursday, for the first time in a decade, the House of Representatives passed a climate change bill.  HR 9, the Climate Action Now Act, passed on a vote of 231-190. The heart of HR 9 is section 3, which blocks the use of any federal funds to withdraw from the Paris Agreement.  Section 4 […]

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Is Socialism Good for the Environment?

The answer is: “Sometimes yes, sometimes not so much.”

Some of the people who are most fervent about the environment these days describe themselves as socialists.  But is socialism actually a good thing for the environment?  That seems like a significant question in a political context where people on both sides are throwing around the word “socialist” so much, so I decided to see […]

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HUGE

New Addition to California’s Infill Housing Bill Could Transform the State’s Land Use

If there is one journalistic phrase I despise, it is “game-changer.” Everything seems to be a game-changer, no matter how small. But amendments just approved by the California State Senate for SB 50, Scott Wiener’s controversial bill upzoning lots near transit could be, well, a game-changer: On Wednesday, a key committee signed off on Senate […]

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Climate Change & the Democratic Candidates

The candidates are all in favor of climate action but there are significant variations in their stances.

It’s hard to keep track of the twenty or so Democrats who are in the running for the 2020 presidential nomination.   The differences between them on climate policy are minor compared with the gulf between them and President Trump.  All of them support the Paris Agreement, unlike Trump.  And all of them vow to restore […]

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Why Is Los Angeles Embracing Stupid Growth?

Council Wants Hotels, But No Housing

Yesterday, I expressed wonder that the City of Los Angeles actually did planning right for a change. Obviously, I jinxed it. Reducing VMT, and thus carbon emissions, requires cities to plan and zone for affordable housing (whether defined as deed-restricted or simply at a reasonable market rate). But despite city leaders’ claims of an affordable […]

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Grandma Saves The City!

New Data Shows Hope For Affordable Housing In the Most Unlikely Place: Los Angeles

It’s not often that you get some good planning news from Los Angeles, but at least if you believe the City’s numbers, there are some. The Planning Department’s latest housing numbers, from its year-end 2018 Quarterly Report, state that in light of SB 1069 (Wieckowski), which substantially liberalized the construction of Accessory Dwellling Units (ADUs), […]

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Trump’s Campaign to Gag Activist Shareholders

His recent executive order tries to “protect” oil companiy management from smart climate planning.

Exxon management was not pleased when shareholders forced them to produce a report on how climate change would impact their business. In May, Exxon is facing another shareholder vote on whether to form a climate change committee on the Board of Directors and whether to  disclose how sea level rise will impact its investments on the […]

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Journalism and Political Polarization

Reporters Might Hold A Key To Improving Environmental Politics

It’s no surprise that American politics has gotten significantly more polarized over the last three decades, so it stands to reason that legislatures have gotten more polarized as well. But in a recent article in the Journal of Political Economy by James Snyder and David Stromberg, brought to my attention by Professor Seth Masket writing […]

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Can Voter Registration Combat NIMBYism?

Homeless Voting Can Change the Urban Political Calculus

NIMBY land use politics stems from a classic political process failure: the people who would benefit from more housing do not yet live in the jurisdiction where it will be built — and for the most part, do not even know that they will be the ones who will live there. Thus, local officeholders have […]

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