With a clever if contrived argument, the Second Circuit tries to eliminate climate change litigation.
On Friday, the Second Circuit issued an important decision in a lawsuit against the oil industry. New York City had sued the oil companies for harms relating to climate change. The appeals court ordered the case dismissed, on the ground that any harm relating to fossil fuel is exclusively regulated by the Clean Air Act. …CONTINUE READING
Here’s what the conservative response might look like.
Conservatives often come to the defense of fossil fuels and disdain renewable energy. Is that really consistent with their principles? Let’s imagine what conservatives might say if the table were turned, Suppose liberals proposed government support for fossil fuels. The conservative response might look something like this: Another Liberal Boondoggle Now they want to prop …CONTINUE READING
Use of coal is dwindling across the country, but very unevenly. We need to give it a good shove.
The NY Times ran a story last week about a coal area in Wyoming that is embracing renewable energy as its economic future. Residents of Carbon County, WY, aren’t necessarily happy about it but they recognize that the times are changing. As one county commissioner said, “You can stand at the tracks when the train …CONTINUE READING
State agencies will need help to deal with a fast-changing energy system.
The COVID pandemic has provided a vivid picture of what happens when ill-prepared governments are suddenly hit with huge responsibilities. Underfunded state and local public health agencies were overwhelmed, while governors and local officials found themselves struggling to obtain and distribute vital supplies, from respirators to vaccines. Efforts to accelerate the transition away from carbon, …CONTINUE READING
What went wrong in Texas and what can we learn from it?
The rolling blackouts in Texas were national news. Texas calls itself the energy capital of the United States, yet it couldn’t keep the lights on. Conservatives were quick to blame reliance on wind power, just as they did last summer when California faced power interruptions due to a heat wave. What really happened? It’s true …CONTINUE READING
Wikipedia and climate actions by cities and states have more in common than you might think.
Wikipedia is celebrating its twentieth birthday. When it was launched, this effort to create an encyclopedia seemed like a joke compared with Microsoft’s big-money effort, which was called Encarta. Encarta is long gone but Wikipedia has thrived beyond anyone’s expectations. Today, Wikipedia has fifty-five million entries, with 270,000 active editors a month. While imperfect, the …CONTINUE READING
Under Trump, it’s been a mixed picture, with progress except in two states. What were Midwestern states doing during the four years Trump was busy promoting fossil fuels? States with Democratic governors are making progress. Of the three states under unified Republican control, two are trying to prop up coal. Ohio has decreased support for …CONTINUE READING
There was Biden’s Executive Order, of course. And two other things. Or maybe three.
Yesterday, I read three encouraging stories about the U.S. and climate change. One was about action by the federal government, one about action by the states, and one about action by the private sector. The biggest news was from the federal government, in the form of Biden’s Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at …CONTINUE READING
How do we sell climate policies to huge swathes of Trump country?
The 2020 elections revealed America as bitterly divided as ever. The split between rural and urban voters is intensifying, with rural voters delivering massive support to Trump and down ticket Republicans. Success in decarbonizing the economy will ultimately require the support of those voters. Short of a miraculous turnaround in attitudes about climate change, how …CONTINUE READING
Climate Change, California v. Trump Cases Lead the List
This is the second of three year-end posts on the most important environmental law decisions in 2020 from the U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and California Supreme Court. (The key U.S. Supreme Court rulings were the focus of yesterday’s post, and tomorrow’s will feature California Supreme Court decisions.) Today, …CONTINUE READING