Skip to main content

The quiet failure of climate denial in 2013

Dan Farber, professor of law | January 6, 2014

The latest IPCC report proves that scientists are unwavering in their view that human carbon emissions are causing dangerous climate change.  In the scientific world, climate denial has no traction.  It isn’t gaining traction in the judicial or congressional worlds either. First, the judiciary.  A three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit, headed by a conservative … Continue reading »

Is demonizing ‘big carbon’ a strategy or a cop-out?

Severin Borenstein, professor of business | December 18, 2013

Are we really being tricked, bullied or seduced into burning fossil fuels?  That seems to be the message behind two arguments made recently by prominent advocates for climate action: we should blame the producers of fossil fuels for the failure to make progress on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The Union of Concerned Scientists made a splash last … 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 »

Is climate change a bulldozer or bullet train?

Dan Farber, professor of law | December 5, 2013

We’re in the early stages of climate change — just how much depending in large part on whether we control our emissions. But how quickly will this happen?  Is it a bulldozer we can dodge or a bullet train that’s too fast to avoid?  That makes a lot of difference in terms of our ability … Continue reading »

Rethinking climate ‘adaptation’

Dan Farber, professor of law | November 18, 2013

I’ve spent a lot of time and energy talking about the need to adapt to climate change, but I’ve also become increasingly uneasy about “adaptation” as a way to think about the situation. One of the things I don’t like about the term “adaptation” is that it suggests that we actually can, at some expense, … Continue reading »

Denial as a way of life

Dan Farber, professor of law | October 10, 2013

As it turns out, many of the same people who deny that climate change is a problem also deny that government default would be a problem.  No doubt there are several reasons: the fact that Barack Obama is on the opposite side of both issues; the general impermeability of ideologues to facts or expert opinion; a general … Continue reading »

Environmental haiku for summer

Dan Farber, professor of law | July 3, 2013

Just for amusement: Environmental haiku On a summer day. ____________ Across the hilltops, Slowly wheeling their white blades, Stand lines of windmills. ____________ A nap in the shade, Dreaming that new studies make Fox News fall silent. ____________ “Global climate change” – A long and abstract title For a world in pain. ____________ A beautiful … Continue reading »

On the challenge of consensus

David Zilberman, professor, agriculture and resource economics | July 2, 2013

I have been teaching and working as an environmental economist for 40 years and I consider climate change and population growth as the most pressing challenges facing humanity. While I am familiar with much of the political rhetoric surrounding these issues, still I found myself wondering why not much has been done to address these … Continue reading »

Putting a collar on carbon prices

Severin Borenstein, professor of business | June 4, 2013

When it was launched in 2005, the European Union cap and trade program for greenhouse gases (known as the Emissions Trading System or EU-ETS) was a bold and important step in addressing climate change.  But from the beginning, the EU-ETS has often been a painful learning experience, much of the learning by politicians: –  A … Continue reading »

The MPG Illusion

Catherine Wolfram, faculty co-director, Energy Institute at Haas | June 3, 2013

It’s the beginning of summer, which means the beginning of driving season. Perhaps anticipating summer driving, many people bought new vehicles last month, putting automakers on track to have the best year since 2007. So, here’s a question, particularly for readers who were part of this vehicle-buying wave: Which of the following two choices leads … Continue reading »

The story of a presidential tweet

Daniel Kammen, Class of 1935 Distinguished Professor of Energy | May 29, 2013

We generally complain that action on climate change is mired in polarized partisan politics and thus nothing can be done. True to an extent, but let’s hold on a bit. In terms of generating important discussion about the clarity that exists around the conclusion that the scientific debate over climate change as an anthropogenic process … Continue reading »

Why it’s important that we know we’re at 400 ppm of CO2

Eric Biber, professor of law | May 20, 2013

A major (and unfortunate) milestone has been crossed this past week.  Measurements of atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide passed 400 parts per million, the highest in millions of years.  Others have commented  on how worrying this milestone is for the planet. But what I want to focus on here is how important it is that … Continue reading »

Coal power and climate denial

Steven Weissman, associate director, Center for Law, Energy and the Environment | May 17, 2013

What causes certain political figures either to deny the potential for climate change, or deny that human activity is a major cause? That question came to mind while reviewing a new report issued by Ceres entitled Benchmarking Air Emissions for the 100 Largest Electric Power Producers in the United States. The report does an impressive … Continue reading »

The future of climate politics (pt. 2)

Eric Biber, professor of law | February 22, 2013

In my last post, I noted a recent report that called for a new political path for environmentalists and others seeking to enact carbon policy in the United States, one that focused on developing policy proposals that would help mobilize a grassroots movement to support limits on greenhouse gases.  My question was, is there anything … Continue reading »

The death of climate legislation revisited

Dan Farber, professor of law | February 12, 2013

Why did the push for climate legislation fail even though Democrats controlled Congress and the White House in 2008-2010 ? Theda Skocpol, a Harvard political scientist, addressed this issue in a controversial recent paper.. Matt Kahn and I have both blogged before about her paper (here and here). Now that I’ve had a chance to read the 150-page article more … Continue reading »

What’s Keystone XL got to do with it?

Severin Borenstein, professor of business | February 5, 2013

Let’s face it. The opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline isn’t about dirty oil. It’s about oil. James Hansen and the other leading opponents focus on the greenhouse gases is that will be released when all of the oil in the Canadian tar sands (Canada’s relabeling as “oil sands” just hasn’t stuck with me) is … Continue reading »

Doha schmoha

Maximilian Auffhammer, professor, international sustainable development | December 12, 2012

On Saturday (Dec. 8) another wildly unsuccessful round of climate negotiations, in Doha, Qatar, concluded with applying a band aid to solve the rapidly accelerating climate problem. The 1997 Kyoto accord was extended to 2020. If you think this is a good thing, you are severely mistaken. China, the US and the other usual suspects … Continue reading »

Heating up the Eurozone

Dan Farber, professor of law | November 27, 2012

The European Union has issued a new report about climate impacts. The picture is mixed, with some good news (warmer winters in the Northern and Eastern Europe) but bad news in other respects. The report has this to say about some disaster risks: Increases in health risks associated with river and coastal flooding are projected … Continue reading »