Politics

BREAKING: SB 50 Voted Down By State Senators Representing Affluent Suburbs

Final vote today kills major climate-land use legislation to legalize apartments near transit

The California State Senate this morning (after an initial vote last night) narrowly and finally voted to kill SB 50, a major climate-land use bill that would have allowed apartment buildings near major transit stops and job centers, as well as fourplex conversions statewide. Despite high-profile opposition from some low-income tenants groups, the senators voting …

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Can the Center Hold?

The Challenge to Mainstream Environmentalism

Is environmentalism facing a paradigm shift? Since the 1970s, mainstream environmentalists, lawyers, and scholars have sought incremental progress based on established law and political realities. But frustration with that approach is palpable. The face of climate advocacy is now seventeen-year-old activist Greta Thunberg rather than Establishment politician Al Gore. And there is growing frustration with …

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Looking Ahead: Inauguration Day, 2021.

There are 3 plausible scenarios for the new balance of power.

Inauguration day is a year from today.   What will the balance of power be then?  The House doesn’t seem to be in play.  Democrats have an uphill fight to win the Senate,  so a GOP White House would probably mean a GOP Senate.  That leaves three likely scenarios, with different implications for environmental law. Scenario …

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Congress Mandates Pentagon Climate Action

The GOP’s climate denial doesn’t extend to DOD.

Everyone says climate laws can never pass Congress.  But there’s a major exception. Each year since Trump took office, Congress has passed climate legislation as part of Defense Department spending. Trump has signed all of those laws.  In 2017, there was a congressional finding that climate change is a threat to national security.  In 2018, …

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We Can’t Count on Cutting Greenhouse Gas Emissions to Prevent Dangerous Climate Change

Last week’s climate summit yielded little in the way of action. Photo via UNFCCC.

Although reducing emissions remains essential, it is time to focus on additional responses

Last month, representatives of all countries gathered for their annual meeting to prevent climate change. Despite the motto “Time for Action,” the New York Times described it as “one of the worst outcomes in a quarter-century of climate negotiations.” Should we be surprised? Disappointed? Despairing? I believe that insufficient cuts in greenhouse gas emissions — …

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Bright Spots of 2019 (Yes, there were some!)

A bad year in many ways, but with promising signs for the future.

It’s been a tumultuous and often grim year in terms of environmental protection. The Trump Administration continued its onslaught against environmental protection, completing major regulatory rollbacks. Nevertheless, there were some rays of sun through the darkening clouds. State Initiatives.  Progress as the state level continued, as it has throughout the Trump Administration.  New York State …

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Threat Assessment: The Supreme Court & the Environment

The current bench is tilted against environmental regulation. It could get worse.

In September, Take Back the Court issued a study entitled, “The Roberts Court Would Likely Strike Down Climate Change Legislation.”  In my view, that’s too alarmist. But the current conservative majority definitely will be an obstacle to aggressive use of government regulation.  That could hold true well into the 2030s, depending on who leaves the …

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Guest Blogger Divya Rao: Confronting Reality: A Lack of Accountability at COP25

Action at Madrid COP25

The Support of Toyota and Other Manufacturers for the Trump Administration’s Policy Rollbacks Shows the Need to Confront Corporate Decisionmaking on Energy and Climate

As Cara Horowitz and Idalmis Vaquero discussed in their blog posts, the true highlight of COP 25 has been the numerous youth and indigenous interventions, actions, and disruptions. After spending four days at the COP, I came away from the events surprised by the level of corporate visibility and greenwashing in the side events, but …

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BoJo versus Trump on Climate

Why is the GOP such an outlier on climate change?

Boris Johnson is like Trump in many ways, including a casual disregar for truth, but they’re not alike on climate change. Right after his victory, Johnson renewed his pledge to make the UK carbon-neutral by 2050. He called for “colossal new investments. . . to make this country the cleanest, greenest on earth, with the …

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Guest Blogger Tom Callahan: The Fallacy of Climate Choice

COP 25 Blumenthal panel climate choice

Promoting Positive Climate Choices at Every Level of Decision-making

One of the undercurrents of the negotiations at COP 25 in Madrid is the lack of leadership from the United States government after the decision to pull out of the Paris Agreement. While the formal decision-making process here only involves nations that are party to the agreement, there are numerous NGOs, business groups and other …

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