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Vibrant Environment

A Road Map to Net-Zero? BLM’s Authority to Mitigate Climate Change on Public Lands

Public land
ELR Staff
Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Almost one-quarter of all U.S. CO2 emissions come from fossil fuels extracted from public lands. Producing more than 274 million barrels of oil, 3.3 billion cubic feet of natural gas, and 302 million tons of coal each year, BLM’s management decisions have a significant impact on climate change. In this month’s issue of ELR—The Environmental Law Reporter, authors Jamie Gibbs Pleune, John Ruple, and Nada Wolff Culver argue that the Bureau has not only the authority, but a legal duty to mitigate climate change in its permitting decisions. Using existing legal structures, they provide a road map for requiring all new BLM oil and gas development to achieve net-zero emissions.

ELPAR 2020: Opportunities and Challenges for FERC to Price Carbon Emissions

ELR Staff
Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Electricity generation, one of the leading sources of greenhouse gas emissions, rarely accounts for the social cost of damages caused by carbon dioxide emissions. Embedding these costs into market rates is one way to address the pressing need for decarbonization. In this year’s Environmental Law and Policy Annual Review (ELPAR), a special issue of The Environmental Law Reporter, authors Bethany Davis Noll and Burcin Unel argue that addressing the price of emissions falls within the authority of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The authors examine how imposing a cost on carbon aligns with FERC’s main goal of ensuring just and reasonable rates, and they explore opportunities and limits for FERC’s authority.

We Have What We Need to Address Climate Change Equitably

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

We have the solutions we need to build an equitable and just climate resilient future. Over the past year, coalitions of frontline environmental groups, labor organizations, tribal groups, and other mission-driven organizations in the United States have developed and published comprehensive policy platforms to address the climate crisis. These platforms outline federal, local, and state policy for building resilience and transitioning to renewable and regenerative economies.

Complex Implications of the COVID-19 Pandemic for Climate Mitigation

Alan B. Horowitz
Michael P. Vandenbergh
Margaret Badding
Monday, June 22, 2020

With the sweeping and difficult changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, including social distancing and an economic downturn with record-high unemployment, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have plummeted globally. Reductions in emissions for the year are projected to be between 4% and 7% globally and between 6.7% and 11% in the United States.

Getting to the Meat of the Matter

ELR Staff
Tuesday, June 16, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic is affecting a variety of industries, from travel to retail to restaurants. But perhaps the hardest-hit are meat and poultry processing plants, which have been experiencing outbreaks throughout the United States. In April, President Trump issued an Executive Order declaring these plants “critical infrastructure” to make sure they stay open, and the number of cases in these plants continued to rise in the days and weeks that followed. According to the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting, as of June 15 there have been over 25,000 reported positive cases tied to meatpacking facilities in at least 235 plants in 33 states, and at least 90 reported worker deaths at 39 plants in 24 states.

Why Are Bike Equity Initiatives Needed and How Should Cities Incorporate Them?

Zoe Bertol-Foell
Wednesday, May 20, 2020

If you have walked across downtown Manhattan recently, you may have been blinded by the new colorful green pavement marking protected bike lanes. NYC is one of many cities flaunting their new bike safety initiatives in political speeches, tourist brochures, and subway ads. Given the multiple economic, health, and environmental benefits of replacing car trips with bike trips, their pride is well-deserved. But in order for such initiatives to serve all New Yorkers, they must go a step further.

Offshore Wind Development in the United States and Lessons from Denmark

Piper Conway
Monday, May 18, 2020

As our global energy demand continues to rise, our dependence on renewable energy sources will inevitably increase as well. The offshore wind industry is a fairly new sector within the energy space. Although the United States is already one of the world’s largest onshore wind energy markets, there remains a substantial amount of growth potential off of our shores.

What Judges Are Saying About Climate Science

Scott Fulton
Wednesday, April 22, 2020

It’s amazing how quickly humanity’s concern can shift when circumstanc­es demand it, and the coronavirus pandemic has riveted our attention. Even today, Earth Day, talking about anything else risks seeming detached or indifferent to the enormous suffering, disruption, and dislocation that the COVID-19 vi­rus has unleashed on the world. But I need to alert you to a new ELI report analyzing the other major challenge that will be waiting for us on the other side of our current crisis, one that, like the pandemic, is deeply informed by science.

COVID-19’s Breath of Fresh Air: Pandemic Gives China and California Blue-Sky Glimpse of a Low-Emission Future

Zhuoshi Liu
Cynthia R. Harris
Akielly Hu
Monday, April 20, 2020

Nearly four billion people worldwide are under government mandates to socially distance themselves from one another in order to “flatten the curve” of COVID-19. Non-essential workers are hunkering down at home, bringing the daily commute and air travel to a virtual halt. The resulting decline in air pollution is stunning, visible even in satellite images.

Public Nuisance Lawsuits May Mitigate Meat Industry’s Environmental Impact

Micah Bradley
Linda Breggin
Wednesday, April 15, 2020

In “Animal Agriculture Liability for Climatic Nuisance: A Path Forward for Climate Change Litigation?,” Prof. Daniel E. Walters lays out a new path for climate litigation: environmental litigators should bring federal public nuisance suits to remedy environmental harms caused by animal agriculture.

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