Tag: Climate change

Habitat Conservation Plans and Climate Change: Recommendations for Policy

The Center has released a report, coauthored by Center Director Melinda Taylor and Professor Holly Doremus of the University of California, Berkeley’s Center for Law, Energy and the Environment, that makes policy recommendations to address the impacts of climate change on endangered species.  The report focuses on habitat conservation plans, a tool used by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service, to protect habitat for rare species on private land.  Over 670 habitat conservation plans have been approved by the Services, and the plans cover more than 47 million acres of land across the United States.  Professors Taylor and Doremus note that most scientists agree that climate change is likely to affect habitat for many species.  The Services should consider policy options for adapting habitat conservation plans to ensure that the habitat protected continues to benefit the species the plans were designed to accommodate.

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The Limits of Liability in Promoting Safe Geologic Sequestration of CO2

Deployment of new technologies is vital to climate change policy, but it invariably poses difficult tradeoffs.  Carbon capture and storage (“CCS”), which involves the capture and permanent burial of CO2 emissions, exemplifies this problem. This article provides an overview of CCS in Part I, focusing on geologic sequestration, and analyzes the scientific work on the potential for releases of CO2 and brine from sequestrian reservoirs. Part II evaluates the comparative advantages of government regulation and common law liability. Part III examines the relative efficiencies of different doctrines of common law liability when applied to likely releases from sequestrian sites.  The authors propose a hybrid legal framework in Part IV that combines a traditional regulatory regime with a novel two-tiered system of liability that is calibrated to objective site characteristics.

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Climate Change, Federalism, and Promoting Technological Change

This chapter of Beyond Environmental Law: Policy Proposals for a Better Environmental Future examines the level of government—state versus federal—at which an Environmental Competition Statute could be most effectively implemented.  After years of inaction, the federal government is now debating legislation to address climate change. Recent federal action follows a period of rapid policy development by state and local governments.  In the absence of strong federal leadership, a growing number of states have filled the void in climate policy with a broad array of programs, including regulation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from vehicles and power plants, renewable energy mandates, GHG emissions registries, and energy-efficiency initiatives.  The question Adelman addresses is how state initiatives can operate in conjunction with federal programs to induce the technological change needed to mitigate climate change.  This chapter seeks to refocus attention on the independently valuable objective of inducing technological change through measures like an Environmental Competition Statute. It then explores several avenues for state to induce technological change, whether through technological innovations or adoption of existing technologies.  Market dynamics will differ according to whether states adopt policies in the shadows of federal legislation or instead act alone; both scenarios are examined herein.  The chapter demonstrates that technology-forcing laws such as an Environmental Competition Statute, can be effectively implemented by state and federal governments.  It concludes with specific recommendations for harmonizing state and federal climate change policies.

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