ELI In the News
A top White House climate adviser denounced "fiscally irresponsible repeat spending on disaster after disaster" and said the government should improve the nation's resilience to floods and other perils. David Hayes, President Biden's special assistant for climate policy, says in a new article that the Federal Emergency Management Agency should encourage states to develop "climate resilience plans" to help them incorporate risks from warming into disaster recovery. . . .
President-elect Joe Biden ran his campaign, in part, on a promise to fight climate change. But climate isn’t the only crisis in town. The world also faces biodiversity losses on a massive scale. In 2019, the United Nations put out a report documenting the current biodiversity crisis, noting that 1 million animal and plant species could be at risk of extinction. And, just as with climate, the Biden administration could take action to protect biodiversity, conservationists say. . . .
I was raised in the segregated Deep South in Jackson, Miss., and was not yet 12 in 1963, when Bull Connor used firehoses and snarling dogs in an effort to prevent students from demonstrating outside of Birmingham’s City Hall. In June of that same year, civil rights leader, Medgar Evers, was assassinated in Jackson. Later that fall, four African-American schoolgirls, ages 11 to 14—Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson, and Carol McNair—were killed by a white supremacist who bombed their Birmingham church during Sunday morning services. The following summer, civil rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner were found dead, buried in an earthen dam in Mississippi. . . .
Initial data indicate ride-hailing isn’t as good for the environment as many assumed, at least not in its current form. With a focused, practical bent, Joshua Skov, an instructor of management and sustainability at the Lundquist College of Business at the University of Oregon, and his colleagues sought to disentangle ride-hailing from other sources of carbon emissions in community-scale greenhouse gas (GHG) inventories. . . .
Since time immemorial, the Inuit were solely responsible for managing Arctic resources. A new multi-year study published last month looks at ways to once again put traditional knowledge and Indigenous people in the driver's seat of marine management decisions. "There is a very strong sense that Indigenous people have a very deep understanding of our ecosystem that western science or people do not have," said Mary Peltola, an advisory member on the project as well as the director of Kuskokwim River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission in Bethel. "This is not one person or a faction of people, this is unanimous from people.". . .
This week, thousands of people will convene (virtually) for the Global Bioeconomy Summit, a biennial event normally held in Berlin to discuss emerging opportunities and challenges of the bioeconomy. Many anticipate the biotechnology market to be worth $727.1 billion by 2025, so events like these are capturing the increased attention and active involvement of government agencies that may be key to driving growth in multiple economic sectors in the future. As public and private sector investments ramp up, what exactly can we expect in terms of new applications and products? . . .
On November 7, Joe Biden was projected to become President-elect. This news alert provides a high-level review of issues to watch and changes to expect in a Biden administration. Although the makeup of the Senate is not yet entirely clear, it seems that there will not be a change in Senate leadership and that the House will remain under Democratic control. The ultimate fate of the Senate majority will be decided on January 5, 2021 with the runoff of the two Georgia Senate Seats. For the Democrats to become the majority, they would need to prevail in both Senate races. . . .
The most deadly, destructive and widespread catastrophic-scale forest fires in Oregon’s history erupted on Labor Day this year, driven by strong east winds. Unless we change how our national and state forests are managed, these events will be just one more chapter in this age of predictable, increasing and ever-greater firestorms. I spent my career studying forest fires and forest health. In a 2018 Daily Caller interview, a few weeks before the California Camp Fire destroyed the town of Paradise, I said: "You take away logging, grazing and maintenance and you get firebombs." Then someone took my quote, put it on a forest fire photo and posted it from the ruins of Paradise. The resulting meme quickly went viral on Facebook. . . .
Under President Donald Trump, the federal government has rushed into a deregulation push unlike anything longtime environmental advocates say they have ever seen. The changes, including rollbacks to landmark rules on issues such as clean air and endangered species, go beyond familiar partisan seesawing between Republican and Democratic leadership. “On some level, the administration .... see(s) this as perhaps a generational opportunity to remake what the federal role in environmental protection is about,” said James McElfish, a senior attorney at the Environmental Law Institute. . . .
David Rejeski, visitor scholar at the Environmental Law Institute, describes efforts to obtain objective information about the “green” impacts of technological innovations such as blockchain, platform sharing and artificial intelligence. When the environmental community addresses advances in technology, it often does so “10 to 15 years too late,” says Rejeski. In the process, it tends to get pulled in opposite directions — viewing a particular aspect of technology as either the destruction or salvation of the planet. ELI’s recent research in this area is an attempt to find middle ground, with conclusions driven by objectivity and analytical rigor. Such an approach has been lacking when it comes to modern-day advances in tech, Rejeski says. Not enough money or effort is being spent by governments and independent research groups on assessing the true impact of technology on the environment. As a result, “The questions are really hard to answer.”
The Environmental Law Institute (ELI) has announced that on October 15, 2020, Denis Hayes, the organizer of the first Earth Day, will receive ELI’s 2020 Environmental Achievement Award in recognition of his visionary leadership and outstanding environmental stewardship over a most distinguished career. . . .
Environmental law constitutes a decent sliver of the Supreme Court's caseload, but none of the current justices seems to have much interest in environmental law, as such—or so I argue in my new article, "Which Way for the Roberts Court?", the cover story for the November/December 2020 issue of The Environmental Forum, published by the Environmental Law Institute.
Hydropower, which generates electricity through falling water, is Ethiopia's the most valued a renewable resource and accounts for more than 43 billion MW of electricity generation capacity. Unfortunately, this potential has not yet been fully utilized. Ethiopia's current power generation capacity is 4,300 MW and more than 80 percent of it is from water and the rest are from wind, solar and thermal. This clearly shows that hydropower is and will be the backbone of Ethiopia's energy-hungry economy of the country. The 4.5 billion USD dam, the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) is at the heart of Ethiopia's manufacturing and industrial dreams and is expected to get the country out of poverty. When completed, it is expected to be able to generate a massive 6,000 megawatts of electricity and change the overall geostrategic importance of the Eastern Nile nations and the so-called historical rights of water use. . . .
The EPA’s pesticide inspectors will keep focusing on imported products, electronic commerce, and the accuracy of claims made in products purporting to protect against coronavirus infections, agency enforcement officials said Tuesday. The sheer volume of e-commerce in the midst of the pandemic has been a core reason the Environmental Protection Agency has focused on online sales of products making pesticidal claims, said Royan Teter, a supervisory life scientist at the EPA. . . .
The Environmental Law Institute (ELI) recently released Environment 2021: What Comes Next?, a report that looks at the Trump Administration’s impact on environmental law and policy and what lies ahead. ELI states that the report is “a response to growing demand for analysis of how deregulatory initiatives by the Trump Administration will affect environmental protection, governance, and the rule of law with a focus on what might happen in a second Trump administration or a new administration.” . . .
As a lifelong resident of St. John the Baptist Parish, Robert Taylor watched as the demographics of his hometown changed once the massive, powerful DuPont chemical company opened a chloroprene production plant in the parish in 1969. As soon as news broke more than a half-century ago that the DuPont plant was in the works, Taylor said, the white residents of St. John gradually picked up their stakes and left, as if they knew something very bad was about to happen. . . .
The Environmental Law Institute (ELI) has announced it will present its 2020 Environmental Achievement Award to Denis Hayes, the organizer of the first Earth Day and current president of the Bullitt Foundation, in recognition of his visionary leadership and outstanding environmental stewardship over a most distinguished career. . . .
At a meeting tomorrow, the US Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to confirm President Trump’s nomination of 37-year-old Justin Walker to become a judge on the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, the second-most-powerful court in the land and often a stepping-stone to the Supreme Court. The DC appeals court has made some key rulings on climate cases, and Walker will hold a lifetime appointment to it. Does he believe human activity is contributing to or causing climate change? . . .
A top Justice Department lawyer is defending the agency’s elimination of a popular settlement tool in environmental cases—and offering reassurances that the government will still require polluters to clean up their messes. Deputy Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Brightbill on Wednesday stressed that a March memo eliminating supplemental environmental projects, or SEPs, in federal enforcement deals doesn’t affect mitigation and other cleanup requirements. . . .
I know this risks sounding like what my kids call a ‘grandpa story,’ but context is important, particularly when talking about environmental regulation. Most Americans alive today were born after April 20, 1970, so have no personal frame of reference for what the country’s environment looked like before the first Earth Day, but it was not good. . . .