Unraveling Hydrogen, Part I
Legal Planet
by Gabriel Greif
1d ago
Photo by Raymond Spekking (CC BY-SA 4.0) For over a century, supporters of hydrogen energy have billed H2 as the fuel of the future. In his 1874 novel, The Mysterious Island, Jules Verne wrote that “water will one day be employed as fuel, that hydrogen and oxygen which constitute it, used singly or together, will furnish an inexhaustible source of heat and light, of an intensity of which coal is not capable.” Nearly one hundred years later, General Motors unveiled Electrovan, a clunky (and very dangerous) Handi-van outfitted with hydrogen fuel cell technologies similar to those deployed by the ..read more
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Here’s a New Acronym: CBAM. You’re Going to be Seeing It a Lot.
Legal Planet
by Dan Farber
1d ago
In December, the EU provisionally adopted a carbon tariff on imports. The official name is the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism, or CBAM for short. The purpose of the mechanism is that EU companies, unlike many in other countries, have to pay a price for the carbon emitted in manufacturing. They need a border adjustment to remain competitive. As the chair of the EU environment committee put it: “The message to our industries is clear: there is no need to relocate because we have taken the necessary measures to avoid unfair competition and carbon leakage.” Lord Stern, the eminent climate eco ..read more
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Tightening the Net
Legal Planet
by Duncan McLaren
1d ago
The global stampede to adopt net-zero climate goals continues unabated. As a goal net-zero is achieved when any residual carbon emissions are counter-balanced fully by dedicated carbon removal. Delivered at a global level, this would stabilise global temperatures. Almost 70% of states (accounting for 90% of the world’s economic activity) have adopted net-zero goals, as have 40% of the world’s largest companies. Does this mean climate procrastination is finally coming to an end? A lot depends on what net-zero really means. In Which Net Zero, a new paper in Ethics and International Affairs, Chr ..read more
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…In Which I Attempt To Read My Water Bill
Legal Planet
by Jonathan Zasloff
2d ago
Smart Water Meter: A Secret Weapon For Climate Adaptation That Should Not Be Secret I felt at least decently about myself when I paid my water bill recently, because I was told that my usage was somewhat better than other people in my neighborhood (which is a low bar, but you take what you can get). But when I tried to figure out why it was better, I got no information whatsoever. That’s a huge problem. Michael E. Webber, in his fantastic book Thirst for Power: Energy, Water, and Human Survival, puts it well. Imagine, Webber suggests, if you were shopping for groceries, but with no prices on ..read more
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The fight over California’s greenhouse gas and ZEV car standards continues
Legal Planet
by Cara Horowitz
4d ago
Of the many achievements of California’s legendary legislator Fran Pavley, one of the most remarkable is then-Assemblywoman Pavley’s modest bill, AB 1493, which directed California to become the first jurisdiction in the country to control greenhouse gas emissions from cars.  That bill, introduced in 2001 and passed the next year, told the California Air Resources Board to create such standards using ARB’s special powers under the Clean Air Act to develop more strict air pollution controls for cars than the federal government (explained here). Not surprisingly, Pavley’s proposal was subj ..read more
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The Obesity Pandemic
Legal Planet
by Dan Farber
4d ago
I’ve written in the past about the American obesity epidemic. Obesity rates have continued to climb in the United States, though the rate of increase has leveled out. But obesity is also on the rise globally. The obesity rate has increased everywhere. In nine countries, at least one out of five people is now obese: South Africa (23.3%), USA (32%), Brazil (21.4%), Mexico (25%), Egypt (30%), Iran (20.1%), Iraq (21%), Russia (21.5%), and Turkey (26%). What’s causing this global increase?  Scientists have lots of ideas but nothing like a definitive answer. Theories abound: too many carbohydr ..read more
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Is Bipartisanship Possible?
Legal Planet
by Dan Farber
4d ago
We are now, as so often, in a time of divided government. That makes bipartisan cooperation necessary. We are also in a time of hyper-partisanship.  That makes bipartisan cooperation difficult. Nevertheless, there may be some opportunities for cooperation across party lines on climate issues.  Given the urgency for climate action, we cannot afford to neglect those opportunities. It’s easy — and not entirely wrong — to dismiss current Republican moves away from climate denial as far too little and far too late. I think that would be a mistake.  But that overlooks an important be ..read more
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My Farewell to UCLA
Legal Planet
by Sean Hecht
1w ago
This will be my final Legal Planet post as a member of the UCLA faculty. After 20 wonderful years at UCLA School of Law, directing our Environmental Law Center and Wells Clinic and then co-directing our Emmett Institute with Cara Horowitz, I’m leaving to join Earthjustice as the managing attorney of the organization’s California Regional Office. I’ll be leading a team of about two dozen litigators and other advocates, working on a wide range of environmental issues. This move is both very exciting, and also bittersweet, for me. Earthjustice is a leader in environmental advocacy, and I’ve seen ..read more
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What Would King Do?
Legal Planet
by Jonathan Zasloff
1w ago
Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church: Add Some Housing As Martin Luther King day ends here on the west coast, the role of churches and religious institutions looms large. King’s activism arose out of his spiritual commitment. And in California, it looms large in a surprising way concerning the built environment. Land use is (in)famous for its acronyms: NIMBY, BANANA (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anybody), NOPE (Not On Planet Earth), and YIMBY (Yes In My Backward). Now we have YIGBY: Yes In God’s Back Yard. Churches and synagogues expanded rapidly in the 50’s and early 60’s: as David E ..read more
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The Emergence of the Environmental Justice Movement
Legal Planet
by Dan Farber
1w ago
Dr. King died in 1968, and the Civil Rights Movement had already been a powerful national presence for well over a decade.  Yet it was fourteen more years until environmental justice entered the national spotlight. Environmental justice issues first received widespread attention in 1982 when protests erupted over the construction of a new waste disposal facility in a black community in North Carolina. In 1997, the United Church of Christ Racial Justice Commission published a report showing that hazardous waste sites were disproportionately located in black communities. In the interim, th ..read more
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