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 »
Here’s a roadmap for California to phase out oil and gas production
The state’s continued oil and gas production clashes with the state’s aggressive climate mitigation policies while creating significant air and water pollution, particularly for disadvantaged communities in areas where much of the drilling occurs.
How Sustainable is the Electric Vehicle Battery Supply Chain? New “FAQ” Released Today
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
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
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’
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 »
California is burning: How can it stay golden?
It has now been three years in a row that, from my vantage point in Berkeley, I have been affected by the California fires. And as the Kincade Fire rages near Healdsburg, I am in touch with many of my friends and neighbors in Berkeley, Oakland and Marin County, whose power has been pre-emptively shut … Continue reading »
Why we need data science in the fight for climate justice
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 »
Turning off the lights in California
The state faces enormous challenges to prevent the catastrophic wildfires of recent years.
California’s wildfires are hurting our health. Here’s how to protect ourselves
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
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
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
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 »
Lessons about climate change and drought from Down Under
I went to Australia to represent AAEA in the Australasian Agricultural and Resource Economics Meeting in Melbourne, and while I was there, I visited Sydney and New Zealand. Melbourne is considered one of the most livable cities in the world – great weather, wonderful parks, and a Goldilocks pace of life: not too fast or … Continue reading »
Competition over California’s water, after the rains
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
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 »
We study the climate. We chose not to fly to D.C. for a conference on it.
UC Berkeley professor David M. Romps co-authored this with two other climate scientists, Peter Kalmus and Kim Cobb. It was first published Dec. 10 as an op-ed in the Washington Post. Romps was one of the two scientists who chose not to attend. This week, more than 20,000 Earth and planetary scientists from all over the world … Continue reading »
An irreparable loss
I’ve been having nightmares about the sperm whale found on the beach in Indonesia with a stomach full of plastic waste. Sperm whales have the largest brains in existence
By voting, students can lead the Just (Climate) Transition
Cal students have the power to help lead the nation through the changes needed to tame climate change
What are you getting if you buy clean electricity?
Many Community Choice Aggregators are marketing clean energy by simply rearranging where existing low-carbon electricity goes. Change is potentially afoot for me this November, and I’m not talking about the midterm elections. In November, if I do nothing, I will become an electricity customer of East Bay Community Energy. What does that mean? As their … Continue reading »