Arctic ozone deficiency gets severe and moves beyond the Arctic region

If you thought that limitations on CFC production and usage would solve the ozone "hole" problem, unfortunately you were mistaken. A number of factors play a role. First, as noted in prior posts, some of the replacement chemicals turn out to not be ozone neutral, one might say, but attack ozone...

The solar cycle is decreasing the impact of GHG emissions, but probably only for the near-term

The sun's activity waxes and wanes on a cycle that averages roughly 11 years, though cycles as short as nine years and as long as 14 years have been observed. Chinese astronomers were already tracking the sun's activity using sunspots more than 2,000 years ago; the modern record of solar output...

Electric Utilities and States Present Oral Arguments in Supreme Court on Second Circuit Ruling on Power Plant Emissions

WASHINGTON, D.C. - (Mealey's) On Tuesday, April 19, The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments over whether it should uphold a Second Circuit ruling reinstating two lawsuits brought by eight states seeking to limit emissions from five power companies under the Clean Air Act (CAA) ( American Electric...

Two Key Rulings Pending in Global Warming Suits

By John G. Nevius, Esq., P.E. On Tuesday, April 19, 2011, two separate oral arguments were held that will help determine the future of climate-change litigation - and whether and how insurance coverage is available to defend against certain climate-change claims. The first oral argument involved...

Columbia Law School Center for Climate Change Law: AEP v. Connecticut – The Reply Briefs

By Daniel Firger, Associate Director, Center for Climate Change, Columbia Law School On April 11, 2011, petitioners in American Electric Power v. Connecticut , five private investor-owned utility companies, filed their reply brief . On the same day, the Solicitor General filed a separate reply...

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...