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An articulate end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it view from Thomas Friedman

I am certainly old enough to remember a variety of doomsday scenarios, usually built around decreases in agriculture productivity or population growth (or both). There have also been some modern scholarly papers that posit that things are going to get very very difficult indeed really soon. See, for...

Flooding from Irene: Whither the Flood Plain?

By J. Wylie Donald, Partner, McCarter & English My train this morning usually continues to New York. Today it terminated in Philadelphia, a victim of the deluge delivered by Hurricane Irene. Amtrak explained: Most Northeast Regional service will operate south of Philadelphia, but no Acela Express...

Penguin decline may turn on presence or absence of krill, not the loss of sea ice per se

Researchers have been following the penguin population off the tip of the West Antarctic Peninsula since the 1970's. Winter air temperatures in the region have climbed a significant 5 to 6 degrees Celsius in recent decades with a concomitant loss of sea ice; this region is one of the fastest warming...

Air pollution may be causing mega-cyclones striking India & the Middle East

It is well known that warm sea-surface temperatures can boost the intensity of hurricanes (known in the Indian Ocean as cyclones). For many decades water in the Arabian Sea has been warm, which should enhance the strength of cyclones. However, regional winds in the upper and lower atmosphere tend to...

The Sustainable Corporation: The New Climate Metric – The Sustainable Corporation and Energy

By Steven Ferrey Introduction: The New Vocabulary A. The Alphabet Starts with "C" "C" is for "carbon," "climate," and "conundrum." The environmental vernacular at the millennium is shifted forever - "carbon footprint," "offsets...

Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Financing: Recent Controversy and Litigation

By J. Cullen Howe, Environmental Law Specialist, Arnold & Porter LLP There is a continuing controversy over Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing, which provides loans for improving energy efficiency in buildings. Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Financing has been challenged in...

Colony collapse disorder, has the answer finally been found? Possibly

Prior posts have discussed the various research done and theories put forth related to colony collapse disorder (see Colony Collapse Disorder for an overview). The range of potential causes includes pesticides, global warming, disease, and habitat destruction. The problem has been getting worse since...

Wind Turbine Control Software Code Lawsuits Winding Their Way Up Through Chinese Appellate Courts

In previous posts ( here and here ), I discussed the IP litigation in China between American Superconductor (AMSC) and Chinese wind energy system maker Sinovel . The of heart of the dispute is AMSC's allegations that Sinovel misappropriated its propietary software code for controlling wind turbines...

Photoelectric Cells to Dye For - Solar Power From Indoor Lights

Is it possible to efficiently harness the often dim and indirect light found inside a room (e.g., from incandescent bulbs, fluorescent tubes, compact fluorescent bulbs, and light emitting diodes). The answer would now appear to be "yes." A Walsh firm claims to have taken the efficiency of...

Acidification of Oceans May Affect the Brains of Fish

Yesterday's post noted some of the adverse consequences that are likely to arise from acidification of oceans. Another recent study shows that such acidification can influence the behavior of fish because of impacts on their brains; the response of nerve cells can be reversed as acidifying seawater...

Can addressing air pollution decrease global warming? You betcha

Prior posts have noted the adverse health impacts from small particles, often referred to generally as PM10 and/or PM2.5. Prior posts have also noted the adverse impact of soot on global warming, which because it is black and absorbs heat warms up the atmosphere and whatever it is coating (e.g., glaciers...

US Governments Propose Wildlife Climate Adaptation Strategy

By Dianne Saxe, Ontario Environmental Lawyer As hundreds of starving sea lion pups wash up on the California coast, and as the Canadian government shuts down research into climate change, a coalition of American federal, state and tribal government agencies has released a National Fish, Wildlife and...

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...

Governor Jerry Brown Urges Conservation As California Runs Dry

BROWN URGES CONSERVATION AS CA RUNS DRY: With the state facing its worst drought in decades, California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) urged Golden State residents last week to cut back their water usage wherever possible. Brown said residents should voluntarily be taking shorter showers, turning off faucets while...

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...

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...

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...

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...

SCCCL and Lamont-Doherty Release New Collaborative Working Paper on “Scientific and Legal Integrity in Advancing a Land-Degradation Neutral World”

It is no secret that the fight against desertification isn’t going well. In the two decades since the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification came into force, desertification has worsened considerably. Many within the desertification community and beyond are calling for a fresh approach...

California Appellate Court Holds that Regional Planning Agency Must Examine the Long-Term Impacts of Its Transportation Plan on Reduction of Greenhouse Gases

By: Daniel P. Selmi*, Visiting Scholar, Sabin Center for Climate Change Law and Fritz B. Burns Professor of Law, Loyola Law School In an emphatic opinion, a state appellate court has invalidated the environmental impact report for the first “sustainable communities strategy” prepared...

CEQ’s Revised Draft Guidance on Addressing Climate Change under NEPA: Federal Agencies Should Analyze Both GHG Emissions and Impacts of Climate Change on Proposed Action

On December 24, 2014, the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) released Revised Draft Guidance on how federal agencies should evaluate GHG emissions and the impacts of climate change when conducting reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).[1] The revised guidance is significantly...

World Bank Sells Record $91M of Green Bonds Tied to “Ethical” Companies

By E. Lynn Grayson The World Bank sold $91 million in green bonds tied to an index of "ethical" companies – its largest offering of green bonds linked to an equity index and the first offered to individual investors. Green bonds were created to increase funding by accessing the...

The Constitutional Foundation for the Clean Power Plan

As members of Congress wisely examine the legal basis for the Clean Power Plan, they should feel confident that the Environmental Protection Agency is acting with a solid constitutional foundation. At a Tuesday hearing of the Subcommittee on Energy and Power of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce...

State Net Capitol Journal – Deepening California Drought Poses Several Challenges

After years of magical thinking about rains that rarely came, California agencies are struggling to combat the state’s prolonged drought through myriad mandates, restrictions and development of alternative sources of water. They have a long way to go. Responding to a fourth year of drought that...