Is climate change itself a form of colonialism?
“In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.” That’s what we learned in my grade school. Today, Columbus Day remains a day of celebration for some but has become a symbols of colonialism for others. Rather than entering that debate, I’d like to reflect on how issues of colonialism might relate to climate change. The study …CONTINUE READING
Lives can be lost when agencies fall down on the job.
What happens when agencies fail in their jobs? People can die. The most dramatic example is the opioid crisis, in which a whole series of state and federal agencies fell short. The result has been hundreds of thousands of deaths. The FDA was one of the prime culprits. It bought into a myth, carefully cultivated …CONTINUE READING
A Key White House regulatory office has remained unfilled for a record time.
The Biden Administration is looking to make big regulatory changes, not least regarding climate change. Yet the White House office overseeing regulations is vacant. The obscurely named Office of Regulatory Affairs and Information (OIRA) has to sign off on all significant regulations. Even the dilatory Donald Trump had nominated a permanent administrator by July of …CONTINUE READING
If we “beat” climate change, what will we have to show for it?
Suppose we bring climate change under control and deal with its fallout. What will have we achieved? We will have prevented great harm. That, of course, is the main goal. Untamed climate change means an dangerous, ugly future for all of us on “Spaceship Earth.” Preventing that future is surely enough of a reason to …CONTINUE READING
The latest science confirms the need for urgent action.
The IPCC issued the massive first volume of its new report on climate change on Monday. This volume focuses on climate science: how much will the world warm, and what will the impacts be? The bottom line is that the evidence is becoming ever firmer that (a) humans are causing an unprecedented rate of climate …CONTINUE READING
Making sure that regulatory incentives do what the regulators intended.
In a new post, Dan Farber mentions performance-based regulation as a promising tool for encouraging energy utilities to be enthusiastic in supporting the transition to clean energy sources. There are a lot of people who agree with him. After all, traditional utility regulation tends to encourage the companies to overspend on infrastructure and under spend …CONTINUE READING
The places hit hardest by opioids are often skeptical of vaccines. That’s probably not a coincidence.
The opioid crisis was the product of corporate greed run amok and a corrupted regulatory process. That crisis may have amplified deep distrust of the pharmaceutical industry and its government watchdogs — distrust that may now be reflected in vaccine skepticism. First, a little history. The manufacturer, Purdue Pharma, aggressively promoted the use of oxycontin, …CONTINUE READING
Or, how many megatons do we need to cut to prevent one extinction?
Economists often talk about the social cost of carbon, which basically translates the harm done by a ton of CO2 into dollars. The dollar metric is less useful as applied to ecological impacts like species extinctions than impacts of humans. It may be better to skip the dollar conversion, and just ask how much a …CONTINUE READING
Here’s an explainer on how federal regulations get issued and reviewed by courts.
Even most lawyers, let alone the rest of the population, are a bit fuzzy on how the regulatory system works. As the Biden Administration is gearing up to start a slew of regulatory proceedings, here’s what you need to know about the process. Issuing Regulations Q: Where do agencies like EPA get the power to …CONTINUE READING
A complicated cannabis regulatory system may be squeezing out small cannabis cultivators
In a prior blog post, I discussed how California’s experiment in legalizing cannabis has not been as effective as hoped for in bringing cultivators into the legal regulatory system. Low levels of compliance might be undermining the possibility of improved environmental outcomes – proponents of legalization argued that bringing formerly illegal cannabis cultivation into a …CONTINUE READING