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 …CONTINUE READING
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 …CONTINUE READING
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 …CONTINUE READING
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, …CONTINUE READING
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 — …CONTINUE READING
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 …CONTINUE READING
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 …CONTINUE READING
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 …CONTINUE READING
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 …CONTINUE READING
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 …CONTINUE READING