Thursday, June 30, 2005
Sunstein and Hahn continue their campaign against the precautionary principle in this article, arguing that it does not help make difficult choices and can paralyze decision-making. Unsurprisingly, cost-benefit analysis comes to the rescue. The basic argument is simply that protective action can imposes other costs/risks that make it less protective than the status quo. Link: The Precautionary Principle as a Basis for Decision Making.
You can read the article as a guest even If you or your institution subscribe to the Economist's Voice.
The ABA will have a teleconference on Kelo on July 12th moderated by Prof David Callies of University of Hawaii -- with counsel for plaintiffs and defendants as well as Prof. Gideon Kanner of Loyola of LA and Prof. Thomas Merrill of Columbia. This conference will have another spin -- perhaps more oriented towards the problems arising from state and local government action. Link: ABA-CLE | The Supreme Court Rules on Eminent Domain for Private Redevelopment: Kelo v. City of New London.
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
Thanks to Jim Salzman. He has brought Richard Lazarus' always prescient scholarship to my attention. Richard has addressed this subject empirically. Link: SSRN-Environmental Scholarship and the Harvard Difference by Richard Lazarus.
This blog reports on a study categorizing the writing in Harvard Law Review and arguing that Environmental Law is a "strong sell," in other words, there will be a bear market for environmental law professors for the foreseeable future. A fun piece -- but one that may adversely influence students interested in teaching and in environmental law.
The most obvious methodological flaw (apart from choosing Harvard Law Review as her standard) is that Harvard doesn't have much of an environmental law program. I would expect a significant link between the quality of Harvard's environmental program (??????) and the likelihood that top students with an interest in environmental law will go to Harvard and edit the Law Review.
Monday, June 27, 2005
I am working on creating links to career resources for students. Not the garden variety large NGO, firm and government jobs -- but the smaller niches. This is an example of what one of my students has chosen to do.>
Link: Cascade Resources Advocacy Group. Could others provide links and I'll add them to the blog's permanent resources.
Last week, the weekly question asked about whether judges (and law professors) should accept expense paid trips from FREE and other organizations -- and whether judges should serve on boards of directors of such organizations.
Jonathan Adler forwarded his piece on FREE conferences in response to the weekly question. Link: Jonathan H. Adler on Judicial Conferences on National Review Online.
Case School of Law sponsored a Kelo conference in February. Video of the conference is available for those who would like additional perspectives -- and a chance to check out the participants' predictions, given the benefit of 20-20 hindsight. Center for Business Law & Regulation - Case School of Law.
Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation is sponsoring a conference on Natural Resources in Indian Country in Albuquerque on November 10-11, 2005. My experience representing industry in Indian country was a quite foreign, but unique and wonderful, experience. This is a good way to start. RMMLF Indian Natural Resources Conference N.B. The RMMLF Annual Institute is up in Portland this July 21-23.
For those of you teaching takings:
Sunday, June 26, 2005
Those of you teaching natural resources/ocean resources/international environmental law might want to glance at BBCs coverage of the recent International Whaling Commission meeting.
Today's posts review some scientific literature published during the last week. Link: Environmental Law Prof Blog.
Similarly, reviews of the economic literature will be posted on a regular basis.<>
These will be regular features -- since many of us want to keep up with developments in the sciences and social sciences, but find it difficult to do so.>
A report published in Science on Friday by Jacobson, et.al., suggests that hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles fueled by hydrogen produced through wind electrolysis provide the greatest public health benefits at a cost that may be less than the cost of gasoline.
Research by Davis, et. al., published in Science on Friday indicates that snow added to Antarctica's ice sheets by changing climate patterns may mitigate sea level rise accompanying global warming. In the same issue, David Vaughan cautions that the mass balance or balance of thickening and thinning areas in Antartica is unclear -- and thus the contribution of the Antartica ice sheets to global sea level remains uncertain.
Research by Bassett et al. (published online Science Express 23 Jun 2005) suggests historically that Antartica's contribution to global sea level is larger than thought. Sea level simulations The study modeled the influence of Earth and ice processes on sea level.
Previous attempts to simulate the sea level rise due to the melting of
ice sheets 14,000 to 9,000 years
ago failed to explain sea-level changes in some places. This study shows
that a model combining a stiff lower mantle and rapid
melting of Antarctic ice sheets better explains data on historic global sea changes. These results provide another line of evidence that
Antarctic ice may be responsible for more of the deglacial sea level rise
than previously thought.
Research published in Science on Friday:
Climate change is well established as a potential threat to biodiversity and the services and benefits that people gain from ecosystems. Perry et al. (p. 1912, published online 12 May 2005) examined the effects of climate change on a key ecosystem service, marine fisheries. Many species have exhibited a strong northward shift during the last 25 years in the North Sea. Many commercially important fish such as cod, whiting, and anglerfish have shifted from 50 to 800 kilometers northward. If current climate trends continue, some species may have withdrawn completely from the North Sea by 2050.
Link: Science Express Highlights. (AAAS members only)
A forthcoming Science article indicates that the upper parts of all of the oceans of the world have become warmer during the past 50 years, such warming could only have been caused by the absorption of huge amounts of heat, and the warming patterns can only be explained by human activities. The article by Barnett et al.
examines the patterns of warming on an ocean-by-ocean basis, as a function of amount, location, and time and discuss the physics responsible for the observed trends. The patterns of warming can be reproduced accurately by two different climate models only if anthropogenic forcing is included. In addition to showing that these climate models can faithfully reproduce how the oceans have responded to global warming, and by implication that they are in fact credible tools for predicting climate, these results also show that this ocean warming must be the result of radiative forcing of atmospheric greenhouse gas increases caused by human activity.
GAO's report on mercury controls at powerplants released last week indicates that emerging technologies such as sorbent injection can achieve up to 95% removal and that 70% removal for a medium-sized power plant would cost roughly $ 1 million in capital costs and $ 3.4 million annually in operating and maintenance costs. GAO acknowledges that efficiency and cost are affected by a variety of factors. GAO also suggests that previous EPA and DOE cost estimates overstated the cost of mercury controls. GAO report on mercury removal efficiency and costs
This report follows the controversy about EPA's cost-benefit analysis of the March 15 mercury rule. EPA mercury rule and supporting documents GAO had previously criticized EPA's cost-benefit analysis.. GAO report on EPA Cost-Benefit Analysis of Mercury Rule
Thursday, June 23, 2005
Question 1: Should law professors and/or judges accept expenses paid seminars from groups that have a particular political perspective or agenda, such as FREE?
Question 2: Should judges serve on the Boards of such organizations?
According to the Washington Post, Judge James Loken recently dismissed a complaint against Judge Danny Boggs, chief judge of the 6th Circuit, for serving on the Board of Directors of the Foundation for Research in Economics and Environment (FREE). FREE provides expenses-paid seminars for federal judges and law professors exploring various environmental issues from free market economic perspectives. The FREE seminars tend to provide at least nominal participation from other perspectives. The complaint by Community Rights Counsel alleged that service on the Board created an appearance of partiality because FREE accepts contributions by various corporations. Justice Steve Breyer may review Loken's decision to dismiss the complaint.
Wednesday, June 22, 2005
Georgetown Environmental Law and Policy Institute sponsors the 8th Annual Georgetown takings conference, "Litigating Takings." The program will focus on the recent and forthcoming Supreme Court cases: San Remo Hotel, Lingle, and Kelo. The conference will be held at Harvard Law School on October 27-28, 2005. GELPI Takings Conference