The Wilderness Act is one of the iconic pieces of environmental legislation, and it is 50 years old this year. It created a process and management standard by which millions of acres of relatively undeveloped federal land were protected from development and most forms of active human management. These lands … More >
With the historical release of the Environmental Protection Agency’s new carbon emissions policy, I took an extra day to comb through and digest the news. I have organized my intermediate microeconomics class around something called the “Yoga Theorem.” This almost universal truth states that the less flexible you are, the more … More >
There has (rightly) been a lot of attention paid to the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rule controlling greenhouse gas emissions from power plants pursuant to Clean Air Act, Section 111(d). All of that analysis — how effective the rule will be, how it will be implemented, the prospects for successful … More >
The military considers climate change to be a threat to national security. Naturally, that’s news that the House Republicans would like to suppress. Last week, they tried to do something about it with an appropriations rider. Luckily, the amendment is so poorly drafted that it would accomplish almost nothing.
I have read a number of news stories about air pollution in the major Chinese cities recently. A soupy smog of particulates, ozone, sulfur and nitrogen oxides hangs over Beijing, Tianjin and other northern cities. The concentration of particulate matter (PM2.5) in Beijing recently registered at 501 μg/m3, more than 15 … More >
In the last several weeks, I gave talks on sustainable development and technology in China as well as in several forums in the US. I stated my strong belief that the use of molecular and cell technologies in agriculture (one of their main applications is in genetically modified [GM] products) … More >
Many people who have studied the issue tell me that the Keystone XL issue is mostly symbolic, because the Alberta oil sands are going to be used one way or another. But I’m having some second thoughts because of arguments made (here) by Berkeley economist Max Aufhammer. He’s a pretty hard-headed … More >
You know this already, but let’s review:
Climate change is a global emissions problem.
California produces about 1% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Over the next few decades, the majority of emissions will come from developing countries.
If we don’t solve the problem in the developing world, we don’t solve the problem.
The … More >
Virtually all economists working on climate change agree that we should price greenhouse-gas emissions. Doing so creates an incentive to reduce emissions without the government directing specific technology adoptions or activity changes, that is, without “picking winners.”
Nearly as many economists agree that we should subsidize basic R&D. Doing so, accelerates … More >