Hannah Chang, Author at State of the Planet

Mandating energy benchmarking: the next step for cities in addressing climate change?

  by Marne Sussman Within the past two years, two cities in the U.S. have passed ordinances mandating that existing buildings benchmark their energy usage. Benchmarking requires a building owner to report energy use data which can then be compared to data from buildings of a similar size and function and to past data from… read more

by |April 26, 2010

Considering All Consequences of Single-Use Bag Laws

by Jason James, Center for Climate Change Law Led by Ireland’s nation-wide tax on single-use plastic bags implemented in 2002, which lowered the use of plastic bags by more than 90%, several large American municipalities have implemented similar regulations on single-use bags distributed by retail outlets.  These regulations seek to reduce waste and, often, generate… read more

by |April 14, 2010

Coca Production, Deforestation and Climate Change

By Elisa Botero* Colombia is the number one cocaine producer in the world. Hundreds of hectares of coca bush, the main component of cocaine, are planted each year to produce this popular recreational drug, consumed mainly in Europe and North America.  The local social, economic and environmental impacts of illicit drug production have been discussed… read more

by |March 24, 2010

Keeping PACE: How NY municipalities can implement a property assessed clean energy program to make use of available federal funds to reduce energy use

By Marne Sussman Recently passed legislation in New York State authorizes municipalities to create a PACE, or property assessed clean energy, program using federal grant assistance or federal credit support. In a PACE program a municipality sets up a special clean energy finance district capable of issuing low-interest bonds. Homeowners opt into these districts and… read more

by |March 17, 2010

Cap-and-Trade Under the Clean Air Act?: Rethinking Section 115

  As comprehensive climate legislation stagnates in Congress, the possibility of greenhouse gas (“GHG”) regulation under the Environmental Protection Agency’s (“EPA”) existing Clean Air Act (“the Act”) authority as the sole federal means of addressing climate change becomes increasingly likely.  Whether EPA has existing authority to implement a cap-and-trade program for GHGs, which many believe… read more

by |March 8, 2010

A “Legally Binding” Climate Agreement: What Does it Mean? Why Does it Matter?

The term “legally binding” has become a touchstone of sorts in international climate policy.  The Copenhagen Accord taken note of by the fifteenth Conference of Parties (COP) under the United National Framework Convention on Climate Change in December 2009 is not legally binding.  Heads of state and activists alike call for a legally binding agreement… read more

by |February 23, 2010