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Lessons from an epidemic

Dan Farber, professor of law | October 7, 2014

Ebola’s natural reservoirs are animals, if only because human hosts die to too quickly. Outbreaks tend to occur in locations where changes in landscapes have brought animals and humans into closer contact. Thus, there is considerable speculation about whether ecological factors might be related to the current outbreak. (See this New York Times opinion piece.) At … Continue reading »

On the Accomplishments of our Environmental Leaders

David Zilberman, professor, agriculture and resource economics | October 2, 2014

This summer, the 14th cohort of the Beahrs Environmental Leadership Program graduated. The Beahrs ELP summer program brings mid-career professionals to Berkeley for professional training and I was fortunate enough to be the co-director of the program, alongside Dean Keith Gilless. When Dick Beahrs gave us the means to start the Beahrs ELP, I thought … Continue reading »

The Gathering Storm – Michael Mann & Daniel M. Kammen

Daniel Kammen, Class of 1935 Distinguished Professor of Energy | September 19, 2014

This post is coauthored by scientists Michael Mann and Daniel M. Kammen. Winston Churchill saw the gathering storm long before the rest of the world. Europe sacrificed millions of people before it openly acknowledged and then directly confronted the crisis. Yet, even after the Allies responded, the outcome was uncertain. Only when the U.S. entered … Continue reading »

Eco-Puritanism

Claude Fischer, professor of sociology | April 28, 2014

For years, political divisions over the environment have had the seemingly odd feature that Americans farthest from the open country have tended to be most supportive of protecting the environment, while those nearest to it — farmers and other rural residents — have been most resistant. This split has been muddled in recent years as … Continue reading »

Should the poor pay for the anxieties of the rich?

David Zilberman, professor, agriculture and resource economics | April 21, 2014

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) is crucial because it allows … Continue reading »

Rand Paul versus clean water

Dan Farber, professor of law | March 17, 2014

Rand Paul recently won a big victory in the straw poll held by CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference.  In the environmental area, his signature measure is the Defense of Environment and Property Act. On its surface, the goal of the law is to cut back on federal jurisdiction over wetlands. The bill would drastically cut back on … Continue reading »

UC’s investments in fossil fuels are hurting the planet

Daniel Kammen, Class of 1935 Distinguished Professor of Energy | December 8, 2013

I ran this op ed last week in the Daily Californian: Today, UC Berkeley and most institutions are financially invested in destroying our future. This may sound a little bit surprising to some — even unfounded. Let me explain. When it comes to climate change, the scientific community has presented a clear, unambiguous message: Human … Continue reading »

Duke Energy pleads guilty over eagle deaths at wind farms

Patrick Donnelly-Shores, former student, College of Natural Resources | December 4, 2013

In a precedent-setting agreement with the U Fish and Wildlife Service, Duke Energy agreed to pay $1,000,000 in fines related to 160 bird deaths at two wind farms in Wyoming. A subsidiary, Duke Energy Renewables, plead guilty in Wyoming Federal District Court to violations of the Migratory Bird Act, targeted specifically in the deaths of 16 golden eagles since … Continue reading »

The filibuster and the environment

Dan Farber, professor of law | November 25, 2013

In the short run, limiting the filibuster will strengthen the hands of environmental regulators. What about the long run effects? The filibuster arguably served a useful function when it allowed the minority to block action in extraordinary cases where its views were especially intense.  It became no longer tolerable when it became a routine barrier … Continue reading »

Postcard from Barcelona: Looking at the Catalonian path to sustainability

Steven Weissman, associate director, Center for Law, Energy and the Environment | October 29, 2013

Flying into Barcelona, it becomes immediately obvious that this is a city with its eye on a sustainable future. Right along the waterfront is a large photovoltaic array, perched on four giant supports. It is emblematic of a broader set of initiatives that, for a short time, placed Spain at the forefront of renewable energy … Continue reading »

CEQA reform 2013 holds promise for improving the environment

Ethan Elkind, director, Climate Program at Berkeley Law | October 16, 2013

Governor Brown recently signed into law this year’s version of California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) reform, which as my colleague Eric Biber noted was decidedly stripped down from what it could have been. SB 743 (Sen. Darrell Steinberg) got a lot of negative attention for giving the Sacramento Kings basketball arena proponents accelerated environmental review … Continue reading »

The debt ceiling and the environment

Dan Farber, professor of law | October 8, 2013

It slipped under the radar screen due to all the furor over the impending government shutdown, but the NY Times ran an important article two weeks ago about the debt ceiling.  The Republican plan is apparently to condition their agreement to raise the debt ceiling and save the country from default on a massive regulatory rollback. This … Continue reading »

Monitoring problems again

Eric Biber, professor of law | August 21, 2013

I’ve posted a lot on how important monitoring of environmental conditions is for environmental law, and how difficult it can be to do monitoring well. Here is another recent example from the news: After the Deepwater Horizon blowout, there was a lot of concern about how much oil was leaked into the Gulf of Mexico, … Continue reading »

Nurturing environmental leaders: The Beahrs ELP

David Zilberman, professor, agriculture and resource economics | July 22, 2013

Last Friday we celebrated the graduation ceremony of the 13th year of the Beahrs Environmental Leadership Program [ELP], a three week summer program that targets up-and-coming environmental professionals. The ELP has 502 alumni from 102 countries, and the geographic composition of the participants changes over time. This year we had 38 participants, twenty from Africa … Continue reading »

Nest(ing): A home-energy home run for Mother Earth

Maximilian Auffhammer, professor, international sustainable development | April 22, 2013

Happy Earth Day everyone! I briefly contemplated a doom and gloom post about the state of the global climate and lack of regulation. But let’s focus on what does work, albeit at a much smaller scale, instead of what doesn’t work. Team Auffhammer has invested a lot of money in energy efficiency measures in our … Continue reading »

Fracking: BLM’s illegal sale of oil and gas leases in California

Jayni Foley Hein, former director, Center for Law, Energy & the Environment | April 10, 2013

On April 8, a federal magistrate judge issued the first major ruling in a California fracking lawsuit, finding that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) by failing to take the necessary “hard look” at the impact of hydraulic fracturing when it sold oil and gas leases in California. … Continue reading »

Farewell to the NYT’s ‘Green Blog.’ Now what?

Jayni Foley Hein, former director, Center for Law, Energy & the Environment | March 8, 2013

A few days ago, The New York Times cancelled its “Green Blog,” dedicated to environmental and energy news.  The Times told readers to look for environmental policy news on the “Caucus blog,” dedicated to politics, and energy technology news on the “Bits blog,” dedicated to the business of technology.  The demise of the Green Blog came less than two … Continue reading »

Pope Benedict XVI on crisis, development, and truth

Carola Conces Binder, Ph.D. candidate, economics | February 11, 2013

Today, Pope Benedict XVI announced that he will resign from his ministry at the end of the month, citing declining strength in his advanced age. His Papacy began in 2005 and many of his written messages reflect upon the global economic and financial crisis that characterized the world to which he ministered. Most notably, his 2009 encyclical Caritas in veritate (Charity … Continue reading »

From green governor to conservative candidate: The amazing transformation of Mitt Romney

Dan Farber, professor of law | October 30, 2012

“EPA New England applauds Governor Romney for his strong environmental leadership.” That quote from EPA’s regional director in 2004 shows the extent of Romney’s transformation in the past eight years. It’s no secret that Mitt Romney’s current views on many issues differ from his actions as Governor of Massachusetts.  Still, it’s a bit shocking to … Continue reading »