Michael Barnett, Author at State of the Planet

Will the economy call the EPA’s bluff?

As expected, the Environmental Protection Agency is calling carbon dioxide (CO2) a danger to public health and welfare, a necessary first step for the agency to regulate CO2 under the Clean Air Act.  Commentators, including myself, have doubted that the endangerment finding will lead to comprehensive regulation of CO2 under the Clean Air Act, as… read more

by |March 24, 2009

Giving new meaning to the word “hybrid”

Last week, we learned that the Obama EPA will conclude that carbon dioxide is an air pollutant as defined by the Clean Air Act (CAA).  But a so-called endangerment finding on CO2 won’t lead to comprehensive CAA regulation, as I argued a few posts ago. Rather, the Obama administration will use the CAA as a… read more

by |February 24, 2009

Oil sands on Obama’s Canada agenda

President Obama visits Canada today, and climate change is expected to be on the agenda. In Canada, the big issue is the development of the Albertan oil sands, which promise greater energy independence from the Middle East (a longtime U.S. goal) but also greater emissions as a result of the energy-intensive process of extracting oil from… read more

by |February 19, 2009

Watch out GHGs: the Clean Air Act is coming to get you!

It took two years and a new administration, but the EPA is finally going to formally consider regulating carbon dioxide under the Clean Air Act. In the 2007 case Massachusetts v. EPA, the Supreme Court held that the Clean Air Act (CAA) was capable of regulating CO2 and ordered the EPA to give good reasons… read more

by |February 18, 2009

Emissions standards to get Californicated

Less than a week into his presidency, Barack Obama is poised to take his first step on the long road to averting climate catastrophe. The Times reports that Obama will allow California to raise automobile emissions standards for greenhouse gases above the national level. (OK, technically Obama has only ordered the EPA to review California’s… read more

by |January 26, 2009

Paying extra for electricity, feeling like a sucker

I couldn’t have been happier when, back in October, my local electricity company offered me the chance to switch to alternative energy.  The colorful advertisement from Consolidated Edison was festooned with windmills and said the switch would lead to only a 10 percent increase in the average family’s electricity bill.  Here was a chance to… read more

by |January 25, 2009

Around the world: Canada, Part II

First off,  I apologize for the inexcusably long time between posts.  From now on I hope to post at least once a week (still not good enough, I know).  This is Part II of our look at the climate change reduction efforts (or lack thereof) of Canada, our fascinating yet sometimes forgotten neighbor to the… read more

by |January 19, 2009

Around the world: Canada, Part 1

Periodically I’ll be taking a look at how countries other than the Big Four are faring in the fight against severe global warming, as commentators tend to focus on the United States, China, India and the European Union. This is the first in a two-part post on Canada. Oh, Canada! Our enlightened neighbor to the… read more

by |December 18, 2008

Climate change law comes to Columbia

Climate change is coming to the legal profession in a big way. And law schools are starting to notice, with Columbia Law School announcing today that it has hired environmental lawyer Michael Gerrard to head a new Center for Climate Change Law.

by |December 12, 2008