Politics

Some Thoughts About “The Pursuit of Happiness”

What did the Declaration of Independence mean? And why does it matter?

When looking for something else, I stumbled on a Fourth of July post that I wrote almost a decade ago.  Despite the temptation to rewrite,  I’ve made a only a few small tweaks.   It seems, if anything, more relevant today, when our society seems so divided about fundamental values and our President has devoted his life to […]

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The Democratic Presidential Candidates Should Debate How to Address Climate Change

The DNC Can Help to Make Climate Change Into an Issue of Consequence for the Campaign

This is my first post in my new role at the UC Berkeley Center for Law, Energy, and Environment, working on Project Climate.  Last year, as a Legal Planet guest blogger, I wrote that political will and scale are the two biggest challenges of climate change response.  So for this first post, I want to […]

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Helping Repair Our Broken Governance System

Our institutions have been battered. How will we be able to fix them?

Much of Trump’s damage to the environment is obvious: his efforts to increase gas and oil production, his regulatory rollbacks, and his efforts to gut the agencies charged with protecting the environment. But he has also done deeper damage to the institutions we need to address climate change and other daunting environmental challenges. These problems […]

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The Forgotten Environmental Legacy of Jimmy Carter

Carter saved millions of acres of wilderness, signed the Superfund law, and began the renewables revolution.

Many people today know Jimmy Carter as an ex-President who has strongly advocated for human rights. His Presidency is probably best remembered for the Iranian Hostage crisis. His post-presidential career was at least as notable as his time in the White House. Historians find his presidency flawed by micro-management and lack of rapport with the […]

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Guest Bloggers Will Martin and Michael P. Vandenbergh: Can Private Environmental Governance Address Nationalism’s Threat To International Environmental Law?

As Some Nations Retreat From Internationalist Approaches to Transnational Environmental Challenges, Corporate Actions May Play a Larger Role

The withdrawal by Japan from the International Whaling Convention and its related Commission in December 2018 and the on-off threat by the new leader of Brazil to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on Climate Change are the latest signals that International Environmental Law (“IEL”) is under siege. The move by Japan and the possible withdrawal […]

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The Surprising Mr. DeSantis

Florida’s GOP Governor proves unexpectedly pro-environmental.

There was little reason to expect much from Governor DeSantis. The GOP candidate for Governor was expected to be Adam Putnam, the Agriculture Commissioner. Instead, due to Trump’s personal intervention, Ron DeSantis snagged the nomination. DeSantis pledged to “reduce bureaucracy, eliminate unreasonable regulations and crack down on lawsuit abuse.” He called himself the #1 conservative […]

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What Do Dems Think about Climate Policy?

The candidates are united on some issues, but divided or equivocal on others.

Yesterday, the Washington Post published a survey of the Democratic candidates’ positions on climate change.  The differences between candidates probably don’t have a lot of immediate policy relevance, given the political and legal constraints on what a new president could accomplish. But they are very revealing about the direction of the Democratic Party today. The […]

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A Motley Crew

The leadership at EPA has lots of experience, much of it in opposing environmental protection.

The best-known figure at EPA is Andrew Wheeler, the ex-coal lobbyist who is now the fox in charge of the henhouse. But it’s worth looking at some of the key remaining staff so we can see just what’s happened to EPA since Trump took office. Compared to some of Trump’s cabinet appointments, they all look […]

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Genetically Modifying Wild Populations

Gene drive inheritance. Image from the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine.

The third in a series examines powerful new gene drive tools

In my previous two posts, I introduced what I call first, second, and third generation genetically modified organisms: (1) GM bacteria for diverse, mostly indoor purposes; (2) GM crops and agricultural animals; and (3) GMOs that would be intentionally placed into natural environments, where they would live, reproduce, and transmit their modified genes to offspring. […]

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California Housing Reform Goes Into Suspended Animation

NIMBYs Win A Battle, But Trench Warfare Continues

  The NIMBYs have won a battle: A high-profile bill that would have increased home building near mass transit and in single-family home neighborhoods across California has been killed for the year, ending a major battle over how to address the state’s housing affordability crisis that has attracted attention nationwide. Senate Bill 50 by Sen. […]

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