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The cost of irrigation water and urban farming

Dennis Baldocchi, Professor of Biometeorology and Executive Associate Dean of Rausser College of Natural Resources | January 26, 2018

It’s great to see all these urban farms blossoming across the open lots and schools in the Bay Area. They are producing healthy and tasty lettuce, tomatoes and assorted vegetables for high-end restaurants and local farmer markets. Being close to markets they have a small carbon footprint in transportation costs. And, they are credited for … Continue reading »

What does the stock market tell us about the California wildfires?

Lucas Davis, Professor, Haas School of Business | January 16, 2018

California utilities have lost $20 billion in market value since the wildfires began. The horrific wildfires in Northern California’s Wine Country in October and then in Southern California in December killed more than 40 people, burned 1.2 million acres, destroyed thousands of buildings, forced hundreds of thousands to evacuate their homes, and led to deadly … Continue reading »

Are Mexican renewables really this cheap?

Lucas Davis, Professor, Haas School of Business | December 4, 2017

(Co-authored with Veronica Irastorza, a graduate of UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy and former undersecretary of energy in Mexico. Veronica is associate director at NERA Economic Consulting.) The latest good news on renewable electricity generation comes from Mexico, where results were just announced for the country’s third renewables auction for large-scale projects. After average winning … Continue reading »

Will global warming increase or decrease U.S. energy consumption?

Lucas Davis, Professor, Haas School of Business | October 23, 2017

I thought I knew the answer, but now it’s not so clear. U.S. households and businesses use a whopping 11.5 quadrillion BTUs of energy annually for heating and cooling, about one-third of all residential and commercial energy use. How will this be impacted by global warming? When it comes to electricity, the answer is fairly … Continue reading »

Self-interest, the denial of climate change, and resistance to agricultural biotechnology

David Zilberman, professor, agriculture and resource economics | September 25, 2017

I first encountered the debate on climate change in the 1980s when I helped to organize a workshop at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center. Our aim was to discuss the findings and implications of emerging research on climate change. As I recall there was not yet a consensus among meteorologists and other scientists about interpreting … Continue reading »

Houston, we all have a problem

Kristina Hill, associate professor of landscape architecture and environmental planning | August 29, 2017

The problem Houston represents for all of us this week is that we don’t know enough about the impacts that localized, intense rainfall will have on cities.

No evolution in thinking in ‘Food Evolution’

Alastair Iles, associate professor, Environmental Science, Policy & Management | July 17, 2017

But we’re learning new things about privacy and emails in the age of FOIA. For many years, I’ve studied environmental and science policy, looking into how governments, industry and NGOs jointly help find ways toward greater sustainability. Most of my work has been on chemical policies and greening chemistry, but in recent years I’ve developed … Continue reading »

The Pope and sanitation

Christopher Hyun, PhD student, Energy and Resources Group | May 26, 2017

The pope’s encyclical on climate change once again makes headlines as, probably for the first time, it has been presented to President Trump to read. Peter Gleick, president emeritus of the Pacific Institute, Tweeted what I felt when I heard the news: Short as it is, the president will probably not read it. So, Gleick shared a … Continue reading »

Jumpstarting the market for accessory dwelling units

Karen Chapple, Professor, City and Regional Planning | May 23, 2017

How did Portland, Oregon, go from permitting two accessory dwelling units (ADUs) per month in 2009 to almost two per day in 2016?  Now, more than one of every 10 housing units built in Portland is an ADU.   Compared to other housing types, ADUs, or separate small dwellings embedded within single family properties, are … Continue reading »

This drought may be over, but it is bound to happen again

Dennis Baldocchi, Professor of Biometeorology and Executive Associate Dean of Rausser College of Natural Resources |

Is the drought finally over? It must be, judging by the local resident whom I saw hosing dirt off his sidewalk on a recent rainy day. It is true that this winter was exceedingly wet. Many regions across the state received rainfall totals that were between 150 and 200 percent of normal. So, yes, technically … Continue reading »

What is the “politics of shit”?

Christopher Hyun, PhD student, Energy and Resources Group | May 22, 2017

My search for the first Tweet on the “politics of shit” came up with this one: The Tweet above from 2009 could have been written for America in 2017. In fact, Anderson Cooper just mentioned shit and politics last week on CNN as seen in this Tweet: The first Tweet also sums up my work as a researcher — in that I do wake … Continue reading »

Why we should march for science

Ronald Amundson, professor in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management | April 17, 2017

The summer rains on our farm in South Dakota carved rills and gullies in the soil as the water cascaded down small streams to the bottom of the hills. Even as a teenager, I knew that the soil removed by these streams, and the farming practice that allowed it, was unsustainable. Watching the devastation year … Continue reading »

Lessons from the movement for marriage in a fractious age

Martin Meeker, mmeeker | April 10, 2017

The jury is still out with regard to what the Trump administration will mean for hard-won protections for lesbians, gay men and transgender people. Surely no one is anticipating an expansion of protections, such as the passage of the long-proposed Employment Nondiscrimination Act, so the question is asked in terms of how much retrenchment can … Continue reading »

Why it is a bad idea to burn more coal and reduce car fuel-efficiency standards: Carbon Math 101

Dennis Baldocchi, Professor of Biometeorology and Executive Associate Dean of Rausser College of Natural Resources | March 15, 2017

The new administration wants society to burn more, not less, fossil fuels in the future. If we are to cap warming at 2° C (or 3.6° F) globally, we need to establish policies that enable us to continue the development and expansion of technologies that will cap atmospheric CO2 levels below 450 parts per million … Continue reading »

California may have to fund climate modeling and renewable energy research

Dan Farber, professor of law | January 25, 2017

(Co-authored with Ann Carlson, a professor of environmental law and the faculty co-director of the Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at UCLA) President Donald Trump’s plans for climate and renewable energy research are no secret. His leaked budget memo advocates eliminating most of the Department of Energy programs for climate and energy research. … Continue reading »

Policy uncertainty discourages innovation and hurts the environment

Lucas Davis, Professor, Haas School of Business | December 19, 2016

Large-scale changes are anticipated for U.S. environmental policies heading into 2017. The new administration has promised a “comprehensive review of all federal regulations,” which include policies aimed at carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, fuel economy standards, oil and gas production, and tax credits for solar panels, wind turbines and electric cars. Exactly what form … Continue reading »

Milton Friedman is dead, and really misunderstood

Maximilian Auffhammer, professor, international sustainable development | December 14, 2016

Many of my colleagues are trying to find a silver lining in the outcome of the election, but for those of us concerned with energy and the environment I am afraid all we’re going find is a used Kentucky Fried Chicken napkin. There are two distinctly different, yet connected, things at immediate risk: policy and … Continue reading »