The 2012 California Environmental Legislative Recap--The Calm Before the Storm

Get the latest expert analysis on California's enacted environmental legislation. The article describes recent California legislation addressing climate change, air quality, energy and fuels, water quality and supply, hazardous waste, land use, environmental quality (CEQA), solid waste and recycling...

Columbia Law School Center for Climate Change Law: GHG Protocol Releases New Corporate GHG Reporting Standard

In April 2013, the GHG Protocol, a partnership between the World Resources Institute and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, released new guidelines to account for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in both upstream and downstream corporate activities. Previously, GHG Protocol developed...

Can New York Communities Use Land Use Law To Keep Hydraulic Fracturing Out Of Their Backyards?

Professor Michael Gerrard of Columbia Law School laid out the pluses and minuses fracking and climate change mitigation at a recent panel discussion. On the plus side: burning natural gas yields about one-half the amount of carbon dioxide as burning coal for the same amount of energy. This has been demonstrated...

Jenner & Block: New Guidance On Social Cost Of Carbon

By E. Lynn Grayson , Partner, Jenner & Block The Interagency Working Group on Social Cost of Carbon - a multiple federal agency initiative - has issued new guidance on the social cost of carbon to estimate the climate benefits of any rulemakings or other federal actions. Regulators are now assuming...

CEC Approves New Operational Plan For 2013-2014

Last week the Council of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) agreed to a new Operational Plan for 2013-2014 that focuses on collaborative actions in three strategic areas to maximize the overall impact: greening transportation, tackling climate change while improving air quality, and addressing...

Environmental Impact Statements Addressing Resiliency and Adaptation

Ethan I. Strell, Associate Director & Fellow, Columbia Center for Climate Change Law In a subtle but meaningful shift, the environmental impact review process in New York City is beginning to more systematically consider the potential effects of a changing climate on proposed projects, not...

Ivory Smuggler Guilty – Narwhal Tusk Trafficking: $385,000 Penalty

The federal government is continuing its strategy of infrequent environmental prosecutions with large penalties. Last week, Gregory (Greg) Logan, of Woodmans Point, New Brunswick, was convicted of seven offences for the illegal export of 250 Narwhal ivory tusks to the United States over seven years....

State Net Environmental Law News: California, Washington and Oregon Sign Climate Pact

CA, WA AND OR SIGN CLIMATE PACT: The governors of California, Washington and Oregon signed a pact with the Canadian province of British Columbia last week that commits the four governments to coordinate their policies to battle global climate change. Although the agreement is non-binding, the quartet...

Rating State Hazard Mitigation Plans

The Columbia Center for Climate Change Law has released a report (and accompanying Excel database ) surveying and ranking all 50 State Hazard Mitigation Plans. The Survey considers to what extent and in what manner climate change related issues are incorporated into existing plans. In accordance with...

Battles over Stormwater: Maryland Counties Fight the 'Rain Tax'

It's not secession like Colorado but three Maryland counties are staging their own Fort Sumter. The Carroll County Council has received a notice from the State that the County did not appear to be meeting its obligations under the 2012 Stormwater Management – Watershed Protection and Restoration...

EPA Excludes Carbon Dioxide Waste Streams from RCRA - A (Very Small) Step Forward for CCS

By J. Wylie Donald The Congress may be dysfunctional but the administrative agencies are still moving the ball. A case in point is last month's Christmas present from EPA to the carbon capture and storage community. On December 17 EPA issued its final rule , Hazardous Waste Management System...

Nuclear Regulatory Commission Downplays Risk of Sea Level Rise in Waste Storage EIS

By Ethan I. Strell, Esq. Associate Director & Fellow The Columbia Center for Climate Change Law (CCCL) has submitted comments on the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s “Waste Confidence Draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement” (DGEIS) , which concerns the storage...

New CCCL Paper: Federal “Green” Product Procurement Policy In The U.S.

By Shawna Ganley, CCCL Contributor and Former Visiting Scholar With the recent COP19 in Warsaw showing questionable progress towards a universal climate agreement in 2015 ( as reported previously by CCCL ), government procurement represents an uncontroversial way to achieve greenhouse gas reductions...

Sustainability vs. Competitiveness in the EU

By Teresa Parejo Navajas, Associate Professor of Law (Carlos III University, Spain) Visiting Scholar at the Center for Climate Change Law The EU Strategy 2020, adopted in 2010, is about delivering growth for a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy with more effective investments in education...

New CCCL Paper- Reverse Environmental Assessment Analysis For The Adaptation Of Projects, Plans And Programs To The Effects Of Climate Change In The EU

By Teresa Parejo Navajas, Associate Professor of Law. Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (Spain), Visiting Scholar at the Center for Climate Change Law (Columbia University) Columbia’s Center for Climate Change Law has published a new white paper analyzing the Reverse Environmental Assessment...

Banks Get Involved in Environmental Strategies

Why have some of the largest banks in the world invested large sums of money to environmental and sustainability causes? Why did both Citigroup and Bank of America pledge to invest $50 billion each in alternative energy and conservation projects and – more important – work hard to meet these...

Proposed Federal Strategies to Reduce Methane Emissions

While energy conservation, reducing fossil fuel combustion to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, is important to combat climate change, another GHG of importance is methane (CH 4 ), which is 21 times more potent than CO 2. CH 4 emissions do not derive from combustion, but instead from natural decomposition...

Reed Elsevier Provides Global Support for the United Nations World Environment Day

Reed Elsevier is excited to announce its global support for the United Nations World Environment Day which takes place today, Thursday, June 5. This is the most widely-celebrated global day for positive environmental action and this year’s focus on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) draws attention...

Climate Change and US Energy Infrastructure

According to a recent GAO report ( http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/660558.pdf ), US energy infrastructure is increasingly vulnerable to a number of different climate change impact effects, increasing the risk of disruptions of energy critical for US economic growth and operation, such as: • Resource...

Toronto Trees: $7B In Health and Environment

Toronto trees are worth an estimated $7 Billion, or about $700 per tree, according to a June 9, 2014, report from TD Economics . Toronto trees provide residents with over $80 million, or about $8 per tree, of environmental benefits and savings a year, as they are a critical factor in environmental conditions...

Alaska District Court Considers “Reverse Environmental Impact” in Issuance of Section 404 Permit

The National Environmental Policy Act of 1970 (NEPA) requires federal agencies to prepare environmental impact statements (EISs) for all “major Federal actions significantly affecting the quality of the human environment.”[1] This includes the issuance of federal permits. Even after an EIS...

Clean Power Plan Proposal Includes Incentives For States To Focus On Controversial Nuclear Energy

There has been a lot of discussion and press around the EPA’s new Clean Power Plan , which is intended to reduce CO2 emissions from existing power plants by 30% from 2005 levels by 2030. The EPA proposed this plan on June 2nd under its Clean Air Act §111(d) authority, which “requires...

Judge Endorses Use of the Social Cost of Carbon in NEPA Analysis

In 2010, the U.S. government formed an interagency working group of scientific and economic experts to develop an estimate of the social cost of carbon (SCC). The SCC puts a dollar figure on the damages done or damages avoided for possible scenarios resulting in discrete amounts of carbon dioxide emission...

New Data on Open Burning of World’s Garbage

By E. Lynn Grayson Unregulated trash burning around the globe is pumping far more pollution into the atmosphere than shown by official records. A new study led by the National Center for Atmospheric Research estimates that more than 40 percent of the world's garbage is burned in such fires...

Council on Environmental Quality Declares That Climate Change is Already Covered in Environmental Impact Review, and No New Regulations Needed

By Michael B. Gerrard The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), signed into law by President Richard Nixon on January 1, 1970, was the first U.S. environmental statute of the modern era. It requires the preparation of environmental impact statements (EISs) for major federal actions that may...