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Towards an equitable microgrid policy

Heather Lewis, Clinical Teaching Fellow, Environmental Law Clinic | June 30, 2020

The 2020 fire season has already started, and we cannot repeat the mistakes of past fire seasons. PG&E recently pled guilty to 84 counts of manslaughter after 84 people were killed when a derelict PG&E transmission line sparked the 2018 Camp Fire. The 2019 fire seasons saw widespread public safety power shutoffs (PSPS events), most … Continue reading »

Green in black and white: It’s time to show up

Claudia Polsky, assistant clinical professor of law | June 5, 2020

My favorite opening line from any Earth Day speech ever was this: “Today, black and white, yellow and brown, we are all green.”  The speech was delivered three decades ago; the place was Times Square; and the speaker was David Dinkins, New York City’s first (and to date, only) African-American mayor. How I wish his … Continue reading »

A Green Stimulus to recover from the COVID Recession

Daniel Kammen, Class of 1935 Distinguished Professor of Energy | June 2, 2020

A Green Stimulus to recover from the COVID Recession Daniel Aldana Cohen and Daniel M Kammen The COVID-19 epidemic is ravaging our tattered health care system and shredding our economy. In the past month, over 20 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits, compounding the fear that unemployment could breach 32% absent massive public action. This … Continue reading »

What Are The Benefits Of Phasing Out California’s Oil & Gas Production?

Ethan Elkind, director, Climate Program at Berkeley Law | May 11, 2020

It might seem obvious that phasing out oil and gas production in California would benefit the climate. But the reality is much more complicated, in terms of emissions, economics and even geopolitics. CLEE just released the report Legal Grounds with policy options to reduce in-state production, but the question of how much a phase out … Continue reading »

Top 10 Worst Environmental Decisions in California’s History

Ethan Elkind, director, Climate Program at Berkeley Law | May 7, 2020

California has a paradoxical history with its environment. On one hand, the state boasts incredible natural beauty, along with a government that is an internationally recognized leader for strong environmental policies. But the state’s residents have also caused severe environmental destruction, particularly in the late nineteenth century — some of which helped spur the mobilization … Continue reading »

How Sustainable is the Electric Vehicle Battery Supply Chain? New “FAQ” Released Today

Ethan Elkind, director, Climate Program at Berkeley Law | April 15, 2020

The global transition from fossil fuel-powered vehicles to electric vehicles (EVs) will require the production of hundreds of millions of batteries. The need for such a massive deployment raises questions from the general public and critics alike about the sustainability of the battery supply chain, from mining impacts to vehicle carbon emissions. Growing demand for … Continue reading »

Please stop eating pangolins

Malcolm Potts, professor of population and family planning | March 11, 2020

Some years ago I was in Gabon. My host asked if I would like lunch in the French restaurant or to have traditional food. Without thinking, I said the latter. Sadly, it was one of many places that depended upon bush meat. We ended up having fricassee of pangolin and roast civet cat. I did … Continue reading »

Don’t let big agriculture squeeze out small cannabis farms

Michael Polson, anthropologist and postdoctoral researcher in environmental science, policy and management | February 18, 2020

California cannabis farmers are at a crossroads. Will cannabis go the way of ‘Big Agriculture,’ or can we develop an industry that supports a multitude of farmers, communities and the environment? The path that agriculture in the United States took has resulted in a highly consolidated industry that is debt-financed, built on underpaid labor, and … Continue reading »

How about we erect a ‘National Climate Denier Memorial’

Jonathan Jarvis, Executive Director of the Berkeley Institute for Parks, People and Biodiversity | December 11, 2019

In 1976, I worked as a ranger on the National Mall in Washington, DC, interpreting monuments to past Presidents Washington, Lincoln and Jefferson, as well as memorials to the men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice for the nation.  I spent that winter with Thomas Jefferson, who stands tall in a marble rotunda, surrounded … Continue reading »

Why we need data science in the fight for climate justice

Catherine Cronquist Browning, Assistant Dean of Academic Programs and of Equity and Inclusion at the School of Information | October 21, 2019

Climate change may not seem like an obvious information science issue. Isn’t this the realm of environmental scientists and social activists? Yes—and we continue to need their expertise and leadership as desperately as ever. But we must also recognize that understanding, communicating about, and addressing climate change is a large-scale and multifaceted information challenge that … Continue reading »

California’s wildfires are hurting our health. Here’s how to protect ourselves

Bruce Riordan, program director, Climate Readiness Institute | October 8, 2019

In California’s hotter climate, the severity of large wildfires is growing. Extreme events like the 2018 Camp Fire that leveled Paradise are having profound effects on human health. These impacts are felt by residents in the immediate fire zones, first responders and other fire workers, and people impacted by smoke who live many miles away. Our … Continue reading »

Climate crisis needs Berkeley’s leadership in social and environmental justice

Daniel Kammen, Class of 1935 Distinguished Professor of Energy | September 20, 2019

I came to UC Berkeley 20 years ago, largely because of its unrivaled reputation as a place that fosters both world-leading scholarship and social engagement. I have not been disappointed: my research has flourished here with hundreds of publications, and opportunities for work I value with state, federal and international agencies and non-governmental organizations on … Continue reading »

California isn’t full. We could provide housing for everyone

Karen Chapple, Professor, City and Regional Planning | April 24, 2019

California has long led the world in innovation, from Silicon Valley to Hollywood. For the last decade, it has also conducted a series of grand, and largely successful, policy experiments ranging from regulating greenhouse gas emissions to providing sanctuary for undocumented immigrants. When it comes to solving the housing affordability crisis, however, California seems at … Continue reading »

To solve the climate crisis, we must solve the housing crisis

Daniel Kammen, Class of 1935 Distinguished Professor of Energy | March 25, 2019

Co-authored with Scott Wiener, chair of California’s Senate Housing Committee. California has long been seen as a leader on climate change. The state’s history of aggressive action to reduce air pollution, accelerate the use of renewable energy and speed the transition to a low-carbon, climate-resilient economy has inspired governments around the world to set more … Continue reading »

Competition over California’s water, after the rains

Dennis Baldocchi, Professor of Biometeorology | March 6, 2019

California’s water balance, what is left after precipitation runs off, drains and evaporates, is complicated by its diverse geography, ecosystems and microclimates, its wet, cool winters and hot dry summers, and its swings between booms and busts in annual rainfall.  Consequently, water in California, is a highly variable and contentious resource that suffers from intense … Continue reading »

Our national parks deserve a dedicated workforce

Jonathan Jarvis, Executive Director of the Berkeley Institute for Parks, People and Biodiversity | February 20, 2019

In the recent government shutdown, the National Parks were left open to the public while the nearly 20,000 employees and many thousands of volunteers of the National Park Service were sent home. As a result, trash accumulated and toilets overflowed in Yosemite, roads snowed-in at Mt. Rainier, buildings were vandalized in the Great Smoky Mountains, … Continue reading »