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Addicted to oil: U.S. gasoline consumption is higher than ever

Lucas Davis, Professor, Haas School of Business | September 26, 2016

August was the biggest month ever for U.S. gasoline consumption. Americans used a staggering 9.7 million barrels per day. That’s more than a gallon per day for every U.S. man, woman and child. The new peak comes as a surprise to many. In 2012, energy expert Daniel Yergin said, “The U.S. has already reached what … Continue reading »

Insights from Standing Rock: as school begins

Tasha Hauff, doctoral student and teacher at Sitting Bull College | September 5, 2016

In January this year I moved to Standing Rock Sioux Reservation to take a position at Sitting Bull College teaching Native American Studies, including the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ language. Standing Rock is where I wanted to be because of its incredible work with indigenous language revitalization, particularly its growing PK-2nd grade immersion school. The Sacred Stone … Continue reading »

What environmentalists get wrong about e-waste in West Africa

Jenna Burrell, associate professor, School of Information | September 1, 2016

Beginning in 2009, Ghana’s computer import industry went almost instantly from totally invisible, to worldwide infamy. The work of two photojournalists — Pieter Hugo and Kevin McElvaney — played a key role in this newfound visibility. Their imagery of e-waste and its young victims such as cable burners covered in dirt and soot in an area of Ghana’s capital … Continue reading »

Impunity and the murder of environmental activist Berta Cáceres

Rosemary Joyce, professor of anthropology | May 3, 2016

“The Honduran government lacks the veracity and political will to conduct a just, thorough and professional investigation.” This was the reaction of Silvio Carrillo, a nephew of Honduran environmental activist Berta Cáceres, when asked to comment on the news that four men have been arrested by Honduran police in connection with the March 3 assassination of … Continue reading »

Justice Scalia and environmental law

Dan Farber, professor of law | February 17, 2016

Over the past three decades, Justice Scalia did much to shape environmental law, nearly always in a conservative direction. Because of the importance of his rulings, environmental lawyers and scholars are all familiar with his work. But for the benefit of others, it might be helpful to summarize his major environmental decisions. The upshot was … Continue reading »

The future of the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant

Steven Weissman, associate director, Center for Law, Energy and the Environment | February 2, 2016

The role that nuclear power could or should play in helping to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions is worthy of serious debate, but the latest nuclear-related front-page story in the San Francisco Chronicle is a head-scratcher. Above the fold, the headline reads “Nuclear plant’s surprise backers,” followed by the following subheading: “Environmentalists push for Diablo Canyon … Continue reading »

On environmental policy, 2016 is the year of living dangerously

Dan Farber, professor of law | January 12, 2016

We are at the start of a year of danger for environmental policy. 2015 saw many accomplishments in environmental law: the Administration issued the “waters of the United States” and Clean Power Plan regulations, a Supreme Court ruling in favor of EPA’s cross-state air pollution rule, and the Paris Agreement on climate change. Much of this progress is … Continue reading »

Key environmental developments ahead in 2016

Dan Farber, professor of law | January 2, 2016

The year 2015 was a big one for agency regulations and international negotiations. In 2016, the main focal points will be the political process and the courts. Here are seven major things to watch for. The presidential election. The election will have huge consequences for the environment. A Republican President is almost sure to try to roll … Continue reading »

My annual review 2015

David Zilberman, professor, agriculture and resource economics | December 29, 2015

This year was a bittersweet year for us. The health of my mother-in-law, Hannah, hasn’t improved and Leorah is dedicated to helping her be as peaceful and pleasant as possible. I admire Leorah’s strength and love for her mother. We all remember her dynamic and creative personality while facing the current reality of old age … Continue reading »

Training environmental leaders in Nepal, Sandee style

David Zilberman, professor, agriculture and resource economics | December 21, 2015

I had always wanted to visit Nepal and between the 9th and 14th of December I finally made the voyage. I participated in a seminar of Sandee (the South Asian Network for Development and Environmental Economists) and spent some time with my colleague and friend Biswo Poudel. The flight to Kathmandu is among the longest as … Continue reading »

We are entering a new era of migration – and not just for people

David Ackerly, professor, integrative biology | October 22, 2015

By Jessica Hellmann, University of Minnesota, and David Ackerly, UC Berkeley The world is watching as refugees flood into a Europe unprepared for the new arrivals. Conflict and social unrest due in part to climate stress – including induced food shortages and social conflict – have prompted migrants to search for new homes and new … Continue reading »

VW’s Deepwater Horizon?

Maximilian Auffhammer, professor, international sustainable development | September 21, 2015

Last week one of the biggest environmental scandals since the Deepwater Horizon disaster made its way to somewhere near the bottom of page 11 of most major newspapers. Volkswagen admitted to systematically cheating on emissions tests of its diesel vehicles. This might sound snoozy, until you read up on the details. Vehicles across the U.S. … Continue reading »

Special guest lecture: ‘Is a sustainable global economy possible?’

Malcolm Potts, professor of population and family planning | August 27, 2015

Like every university, UC Berkeley is home to an intellectual chasm that makes the Grand Canyon look like Strawberry Creek. Classical economists teach a world where economic growth is sacred, perpetual and always good. Those in the life sciences and some physical sciences, such as energy and astronomy, understand that our world is small and finite. Faculty … Continue reading »

From Carter to Obama: A new context for a message on energy, economy and environment

Robert Chester, lecturer, history department | August 14, 2015

More than 35 years ago, President Jimmy Carter gave a courageous yet unpopular speech outlining the environmental and economic forces threatening American affluence. He acknowledged his conversation with the American people as “an unpleasant talk  . . . about an . . . unprecedented problem in our history.” He went on to tell Americans what … Continue reading »

What the market is telling us about coal

Dan Farber, professor of law | August 13, 2015

The market’s message is simple: coal’s day is ending. Three major coal companies (Alpha Natural Resources, Walter Energy, and Patriot Coal) have gone into bankruptcy. The two largest publicly traded  companies (Peabody and Arch) are now trading for a dollar a share, down from $16 and $33 within the past year. They, too, may well … Continue reading »

Mountaintop mining rule evokes protest firestorm. #getagrip

Dan Farber, professor of law | July 23, 2015

Political polarization has gotten to the point where there would be immediate denunciations if the President issued a proclamation honoring apple pie. Another intrusion into consumer choice, besmirching those who prefer cherry and pumpkin! Another blatant overreach by an out-of-control, incipient tyrant! Not only is every executive action accompanied by loud resistance, but the same explosion of … Continue reading »

Environmental leadership: Lessons learned from Beahrs program

Robin Marsh, resident researcher, Institute for the Study of Societal Issues | July 17, 2015

When we created the Beahrs Environmental Leadership Program 15 years ago, it was with the conviction that UC Berkeley would be a perfect place for a residential training of global environmentalists. The combination of Berkeley faculty pioneering a range of environmental fields, and the surrounding Bay Area innovation culture would be stimulating and help launch … Continue reading »

On the origins of the Beahrs ELP

David Zilberman, professor, agriculture and resource economics | July 14, 2015

The Beahrs Environmental Leadership Program [ELP] is celebrating its 15th anniversary. Every summer, we bring about 40 up-and-coming leaders from mostly developing countries to a 3 week intensive training and exchange program. We cover topics such as environmental policy, conflict resolution, management of climate change, impact assessment, and the participants also take tours of California. The … Continue reading »