Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy
Recent posts from the Center's blog.
News: Why It's Already Legal for Obama to Take On Climate Change Without Congress
News broke Wednesday that the Obama administration may propose a “politically binding” climate agreement at upcoming United Nations talks that would bypass the U.S. Senate, where the climate accord negotiated in Kyoto in 1997 famously went to die. The outcry among conservative members of Congress was immediate. House science committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) called it evidence that Obama “is willing to ignore the rule of law to get what he wants."
News: A tale of two people’s republics: China and Turkey
According to fellow columnist Nuray Mert, “millet,” a word used a lot by President-elect Recep Tayyip Erdo?an, could mean “people.” That would make Turkey a People’s Republic like China. Since I recently spent two weeks there, I can tell you that the two countries are actually quite similar.
Blog: Plodding Toward Paris: UN Climate Negotiations Summer 2014
As if somehow aware of the arrival of over ten thousand diplomats, researchers, and observers focused on climate change, the weather in Bonn, Germany turned a humid and hot 90 degrees Fahrenheit during the June 2014 international climate negotiations. While participants cleared security and swiped badges to enter the air-conditioned halls of the Hotel Maritime, the contrast stood out starkly between the “weirding” climate outside, and climate-controlled world of international policy inside.
Blog: Moving Forward on Offshore Wind in New Bedford: If You Build It, Clean Energy Will Come
A short walk from the famous Whalemen’s Chapel of Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick, offshore wind power is getting a major push. With construction of a new, $100-million marine commerce terminal well underway in New Bedford, Massachusetts, the city is on track to become a central hub for the emerging offshore wind industry in the United States – good news for the local economy, wind developers, and clean energy advocates alike. Recently, I had a chance to tour the site for this new marine commerce terminal and learn more about its goals and prospects. I’m grateful to Apex Companies’ Project Manager Dario Quintana for showing me around, and to Bill White and Matt Kakley at the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center for arranging the visit.
Blog: Passive houses and living buildings provide fresh direction in mitigating climate change
By 2100 it may be impossible for humans to work outside. If the world continues on its business-as-usual growth trajectory, global temperatures could rise beyond 95 degrees Fahrenheit – the highest tolerable “wet bulb temperature” – as the new norm in many parts of the world. Particularly in urban areas, where heat island effects can add up to 10 degrees Fahrenheit, temperatures would be especially unbearable.
How do we avoid such a bleak future?
Blog: Homegrown Energy and Homeland Security
In a quest to reduce dependence on foreign oil, the United States government is increasing its mandatory minimum levels of renewable biofuel production each year. Because the US’s first large-scale foray into biofuels—corn for ethanol—was heavily criticized, many non-food plant species are now under consideration for biofuel production. However, this search for non-food biofuels has another, currently underappreciated, impact: The introduction and spread of invasive plant species across the US.
News: Soil Pollution in China “Still a State Secret”
At Scientific American, Angel Hsu & William Miao argue that despite the release of new soil pollution data in December and a subsequent report in March, details about the state of China’s soil are little clearer than when earlier findings were labeled state secrets.