On October 22, 2012, the Center for Climate Change Law at
Columbia Law School hosted a forum to discuss the future of RGGI. The event addressed results from the first
three years of RGGI’s existence, some perceived problems with the program, and
potential solutions. The speakers gave a wide range of assessments of the impact
of RGGI, from Mr. Snyder arguing that “by just about any measure, [RGGI] has
been a success,” to Mr. Stavins stating, “I don’t think it deserves credit for
much.” This Field Report will discuss
the perspective of the various speakers to determine who the winners and losers
have been under the program, its effectiveness as a tool against climate
change, and its future.
advancement of nanotechnology represents a tremendous opportunity for society
because of the unique traits that nanoscale materials possess. Unfortunately, the same physical traits that give nanotechnology its
economic and scientific value also make it a potentially dangerous emerging
form of pollution that is particularly difficult to regulate under current
law. After discussing the properties of
nanoparticles and the current, problematic legal framework surrounding their
environmental regulation, I will explore an alternative regulatory regime that
could prove to be more successful in confronting the environmental risk posed
This Field Report provides background on the MRGO and its role in Hurricane Katrina’s impact on the Gulf region, the subsequent district court litigation, and compares the initial Fifth Circuit ruling with the panel’s current ruling on the case. Although the reasons why the Fifth Circuit withdrew its initial ruling may never be known beyond the walls of the judges’ chambers, a comparison of the two rulings suggests that there was a change from emphasis on what the Corps actually did to an emphasis on the nature of the decision the Corps had to make. This revised opinion brings the Fifth Circuit back in line with its other decisions requiring the government merely to show that “the acts or omissions that form the basis of the suit are susceptible to a policy-driven analysis, not whether they were the end product of a policy-driven analysis.
1st March 2013By: Jonas J. Monast & Sarah K. Adair
Energy infrastructure across the United States is aging, and plant retirements are increasing due to a combination of newly implemented and impending environmental requirements andinexpensive natural gas. Utilities and regulators will have to decide how to update or replace aging facilities—estimated at a cost of $1.5 to $2 trillion over the next twenty years. These decisions will affect consumer prices and the environmental impacts of the electricity sector for decades. Future environmental requirements have the potential to significantly impact power plant operating costs as well as energy investment decisions, creating price risk for consumers if utilities make investments today on power plants that are more expensive to operate in the future. For these reasons, considering the direct link between consumer prices and environmental protection is an important element of maintaining affordable and reliable electricity.
Aircraft emit two to three percent of total global greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions per year. This amount is small compared with emissions from other sectors, such as ground transportation and electric power, but it is by no means trivial. Moreover, the amount is growing quickly, with aviation emissions projected to increase between 290 percent and 667 percent by 2050. There is also evidence that high-altitude aircraft emissions contribute disproportionately to climate change. Until recently, however, the global aviation sector has faced no limits on its emissions.
Could part of the solution to the problem of the United States’ reliance on fossil fuels exist just beneath our feet? The earth provides a major source of a renewable energy, known as geothermal energy, that is widely available in the United States and overlooked by current state financial incentive programs. Geothermal energy, or “energy from the heat of the earth,” can be utilized in one of two ways: direct use, i.e., directly heating or cooling buildings, or for the production of electrical energy.