Saturday, June 23, 2012

New report on west coast sea-level rise

The National Research Council has just released a major report on sea-level rise along the California, Oregon, and Washington coasts. From the news release:

The sea level off most of California is expected to rise about one meter over the next century, an amount slightly higher than projected for global sea levels, and will likely increase damage to the state's coast from storm surges and high waves, says a new report from the National Research Council.  Sea levels off Washington, Oregon, and northern California will likely rise less, about 60 centimeters over the same period of time.  However, an earthquake magnitude 8 or larger in this region could cause sea level to rise suddenly by an additional meter or more. 

Global sea level rose during the 20th century, and projections suggest it will rise at a higher rate during the 21st century.  A warming climate causes sea level to rise primarily by warming the oceans -- which causes the water to expand -- and melting land ice, which transfers water to the ocean.  However, sea-level rise is uneven and varies from place to place.  Along the U.S. west coast it depends on the global mean sea-level rise and regional factors, such as ocean and atmospheric circulation patterns, melting of modern and ancient ice sheets, and tectonic plate movements.  

. . .  

The committee that wrote the report projected that global sea level will rise 8 to 23 centimeters by 2030, relative to the 2000 level, 18 to 48 centimeters by 2050, and 50 to 140 centimeters by 2100.  The 2100 estimate is substantially higher than the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's projection made in 2007 of 18 to 59 centimeters with a possible additional 17 centimeters if rapid changes in ice flow are included. 

For the California coast south of Cape Mendocino, the committee projected that sea level will rise 4 to 30 centimeters by 2030, 12 to 61 centimeters by 2050, and 42 to 167 centimeters by 2100.  For the Washington, Oregon, and California coast north of Cape Mendocino, sea level is projected to change between falling 4 centimeters to rising 23 centimeters by 2030, falling 3 centimeters to rising 48 centimeters by 2050, and rising between 10 to 143 centimeters by 2100.  The committee noted that as the projection period lengthens, uncertainties, and thus ranges, increase. 

The committee's projections for the California coast south of Cape Mendocino are slightly higher than its global projections because much of the coastline is subsiding.  The lower sea levels projected for northern California, Washington, and Oregon coasts are because the land is rising largely due to plate tectonics.  In this region, the ocean plate is descending below the continental plate at the Cascadia Subduction Zone, pushing up the coast. 

Extreme events could raise sea level much faster than the rates projected by the committee.  For example, an earthquake magnitude 8 or greater north of Cape Mendocino, which occurs in this area every several hundred to 1,000 years with the most recent in 1700, could cause parts of the coast to subside immediately and the relative sea level to rise suddenly by a meter or more. 

"As the average sea level rises, the number and duration of extreme storm surges and high waves are expected to escalate, and this increases the risk of flooding, coastal erosion, and wetland loss," said Robert Dalrymple, committee chair and Willard and Lillian Hackerman Professor of Civil Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. 

Most of the damage along the west coast is caused by storms, particularly the confluence of large waves, storm surges, and high tides during El Niño events.  Significant development along the coast -- such as airports, naval air stations, freeways, sports stadiums, and housing developments -- has been built only a few feet above the highest tides.  For example, the San Francisco International Airport could flood with as little as 40 centimeters of sea-level rise, a value that could be reached in several decades.  The committee also ran a simulation that suggested sea-level rise could cause the incidence of extreme water heights in the San Francisco Bay area to increase from about 9 hours per decade, to hundreds of hours per decade by 2050, and to several thousand hours per decade by 2100. 

You can view a video produced by the Council below.

 Stephen R. Miller

June 23, 2012 in Beaches, California, Climate, Coastal Regulation, Water | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Craig on Oceans and Place-Based Management

The ever prolific Robin Kundis Craig has a new book out:

Comparative Ocean Governance Place-Based Protections in an Era of Climate Change

Comparative Ocean Governance examines the world’s attempts to improve ocean governance through place-based management – marine protected areas, ocean zoning, marine spatial planning – and evaluates this growing trend in light of the advent of climate change and its impacts on the seas.This monograph opens with an explanation of the economics of the oceans and their value to the global environment and the earth’s population, the long-term stressors that have impacted oceans, and the new threats to ocean sustainability that climate change poses. It then examines the international framework for ocean management and coastal nations’ increasing adoption of place-based governance regimes. The final section explores how these place-based management regimes intersect with climate change adaptation efforts, either accidentally or intentionally. It then offers suggestions for making place-based marine management even more flexible and responsive for the future. Environmental law scholars, legislators and policymakers, marine scientists, and all those concerned for the welfare of the world’s oceans will find this book of great value.

 

Jessie Owley

June 18, 2012 in Books, Climate, Environmental Law, Scholarship, Water | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Interesting Call for Papers

Here is a call for papers that may be of interest to some of our readers. I would love to submit somthing myself, but it seems like this is the 100th event scheduled for October 12th.

Call for Papers: Washington and Lee's "Climate Change in the Former Colonies: Challenges of Property and History"

From the CFP:

Washington and Lee University School of Law’s Law and History Center, in partnership with Virginia Sea Grant, will host a symposium on Climate Change in the Former Colonies: Challenges of Property and History. Recognizing the unique impact that the colonial legal experience continues to have on Eastern states, the symposium will focus on the application of legal historical research to contemporary problems and opportunities in the areas of policy-making, property rights, and hazard resilience in coastal communities. Panel presentations and potential topics include:

- How the colonial legal experience affects modern property rights and our responsiveness to climate change

- Historical and modern property doctrines—particularly nuisance, zoning, and eminent domain—and their relation to current climate change challenges and policies

- Changing notions of acceptable land use and natural resources

- Environmental hazard resilience policies and opportunities for their enhancement via legal strategies

We are open to suggestions of other related topics.

You can download the full CFP here:

 

Jessie Owley

June 16, 2012 in Climate, Conferences, Environmental Law, Property, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Carbon footprints of goods made in China and implications for American industrial areas

I recently came across several studies that answer a long-running question of mine:  what is the carbon footprint of goods traveling from China to that big box store down the road?  The answer also planted a more perplexing question:  could it be possible that the carbon footprint of goods in China, if built and assembled in China (or some other distant country) and shipped in a particular eco-sensitive way, could be less than goods "made in the USA"?

The issue of goods transportation and carbon footprints seems to me one of the most important, but potentially counter-intuitive, aspects of land use policy.  Independent of economic concerns, which of course is a huge issue of its own, we might presume that a consumer good "made in the USA" has a lower carbon footprint than one made in China.  But what if the "American" good is made from parts manufacturers around the world and simply assembled in the United States?  For instance, just 40% of the Ford Focus in made in the USA, and just 15% of that car is made in Mexico, with the remainder coming from non-North American parts suppliers.  Most "American" cars are really smorgasbords of parts suppliers shipped from the world over to a factory in the US.  At the very least, that provides factory assemply jobs for US workers.  But if we just consider the environmental impact for a minute, would the carbon footprints of those cars be lower if all the parts were made in one place in China, assembled in China, and then those cars were shipped to their US destinations?

While I can't answer that question directly, a really interesting November, 2011 paper, Moving Containers Efficiently with Less Impact: Modeling and Decision-Support Architecture for Clean Port Technologies, by Josh Newell and Mansour Rahimi at USC's School of Policy Planning and Development, traces the important steps in answering carbon footprint issues in the supply chain.  In particular, Chapter 2 in the report models the emissions from real container shipments of an undisclosed toy manufacturer from manufacturing destinations in China to various retail destinations across the US.

The report noted that there were three main contributors to carbon footprints, each of which were potential variables: 

The first is the land contribution, which is partitioned into China and United States segments, and is further partitioned into truck and rail segments. The second contribution comes from the sea, which is portioned into cruising speed, and slow speed segments. The third contribution comes from port operations for loading and unloading containers.

In general, the report concluded:

For the average container shipped from China to various U.S. destination zip codes, a carbon footprint of 2,821 kilograms per container per trip was determined. Transport by container ship is the most efficient in terms of CO2 burned per mile. So it is possible for a container to travel a greater distance, yet have a smaller carbon footprint than one that uses land transportation (train/truck) for a greater portion of the distance.

So there you have it:  2,821 kilograms per container on average.  And the further the container goes by ship, the lower the CO2 emissions.  A similar NRDC study studying retail apparel shipments from China to Denver compared air to ship transit and concluded:

[T]he truck-air-truck pathway emits over 5 times more soot (particulates) and 35 times more greenhouse gases than rail-ship-rail, sending an additional 99 tonnes [sic] of greenhouse gases into the air. On the ocean leg alone, a retailer would reduce GHG emissions by 99% sending cargo by ship instead of plane. Using this method, a retailer could send 101 full containers by ship and still emit fewer GHGs than one container sent by plane.

So ships are cleaner than air transit, too.  And what if we could make ship transit cleaner, with greener fuels and such?

All of this brings me back to my new question.  If ship transport is relatively green (and we could likely make it greener), and we can run ships all around the world and ship things in containers for relatively low costs, would it be better from a carbon emissions perspective to build all the parts near an assembly site for a product in China and ship it here, or build parts around the world and assemble it in the US?  This presumes, of course, that we cannot convince manufacturers to both build the parts and assemble them in the US, which seems to be an industrial model that has gone the way of the dodo bird for economic reasons. 

The implications seem vast to me for our industrial areas, both for how we conceive of them in economic and environmental terms in this global age.  If the shipping container has changed the economics of manufacturing (anyone interested in this must read Marc Levinson's excellent The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger), might it also change the environmental aspects of manufacturing, too?  And if so, what might this mean for our city's industrial areas, and in particular, how we contemplate their environmental footprints?  I'd be curious if anyone has studied this particular issue. 

Stephen R. Miller

June 14, 2012 in Clean Energy, Climate, Economic Development, Oil & Gas | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Craig on the Clean Water Act, Climate Change, and Energy Production

Robin Kundis Craig (Utah) has posted The Clean Water Act, Climate Change, and Energy Production: A Call for Principled Flexibility Regarding 'Existing Uses,' forthcoming in the George Washington Journal of Energy & Environmental Law.  The abstract:

Numerous provisions of the Clean Water Act affect electricity generation, from potential siting restrictions that arise as a result of Section 404’s restrictions on discharges of dredged or fill material to effluent limitations that require power plants to cool their spent cooling water before returning it to streams, rivers, and lakes. This article focuses on two aspects of the Clean Water Act that directly raise — and, in a climate change era — will increasingly force — confrontations between electricity production, on the one hand, and water quality and aquatic ecosystem protections, on the other: (1) water quality standards, including both the Act’s antidegradation policy and states’ implementation of their standards through Section 401’s requirement that states certify federally-controlled discharges within their borders; and (2) Section 316’s requirement for cooling water intake protections, which — together with thermal discharge requirements to comply with water quality standards — is becoming increasingly important for thermoelectric plants.

After reviewing the history and import of the Clean Water Act for electricity production, this article discusses how climate change impacts on both water quality and electricity demand and production are likely to sharpen the perceived conflicts between the Act’s water quality requirements and goals and future energy policy. Applying the paradigm of principled flexibility, this article concludes that a key component of future energy and water quality policy should be the recognition that stationarity is dead on both sides of the equation — that is, while energy demands and production capability will be changing in response to climate change, so will aquatic ecosystems and the relevance of existing water quality standards. As a result, different kinds of decisions may be warranted for electricity production in and near aquatic ecosystems that climate change is fairly clearly destroying than for electricity production in and near aquatic ecosystems where strict enforcement of the Clean Water Act’s “existing use” requirements is likely to enhance the ecosystem’s ability to adapt to — and survive — climate change.

Matt Festa

May 31, 2012 in Climate, Environmental Law, Federal Government, Scholarship, Sustainability, Water | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Nolon on Regulatory Takings, Property Rights, and Sea Level Rise

John R. Nolon (Pace) has posted Regulatory Takings and Property Rights Confront Sea Level Rise: How Do They Roll.  The abstract:

Under the Beach and Shore Preservation Act, the State of Florida is authorized to conduct extraordinarily expensive beach renourishment projects to restore damaged coastal properties. The statute advances the State’s interest in repairing the damage to the coastal ecosystem and economy caused by hurricanes, high winds, and storm surges. The effect of a renourishment project conducted under the statute is to fix the legal boundary of the littoral property owner at an Erosion Control Line. Plaintiffs in Walton County v. Stop the Beach Renourishment, Inc. claimed that the statute took their common law property rights to their boundary, which would, but for the Act, move gradually landward or seaward, maintaining contact with the water. The Florida Supreme Court disagreed and the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari in Stop the Beach Renourishment, Inc. v. Florida Department of Environmental Protection to determine whether the state court reinterpreted Florida’s common law as a pretext for upholding the statute against the plaintiffs’ taking claim and, if so, whether that reinterpretation constituted a “judicial taking.” The Court ultimately decided that the Florida court’s interpretation was correct and that there was no regulatory taking. A majority of the Court could not agree as to whether a state court’s interpretation of state common law could constitute a “judicial taking.”

This article discusses greenhouse gas emissions, global warming, sea level rise, and the ferocity of coastal storms associated with climate change. It explores the tension between these movements in nature and the policy of the State of Florida to fix property boundaries, which under common law would move landward as sea level rises. The property rights and title to land of littoral landowners are described and the effect of the Beach and Shore Preservation Act on them discussed. The article contrasts the Florida coastal policy regarding beach and shore protection with the policies and programs of federal, state, and local governments that use other approaches such as accommodating rolling easements, prohibiting shoreline armoring, requiring removal of buildings, purchasing development rights or the land itself, and imposing moratoria on rebuilding after storm events. These may be less expensive and more realistic approaches to long-term coastal erosion and avulsive events and the inevitability of sea level rise as the climate warms and worsens. The article concludes with a recommendation that the framework for federal, state, and local cooperation in coastal management be revisited and strengthened so that the critical resources and knowledge are brought to bear on this critical issue. It suggests that strengthening those ties, rather than radically restructuring the relationship between state and federal courts, is a more productive method of meeting the needs of a changing society.

This is the latest in a series of articles by Prof. Nolon addressing how local land use law can be used to manage climate change, including  The Land Use Stabilization Wedge Strategy: Shifting Ground to Mitigate Climate Change; Land Use for Energy Conservation: A Local Strategy for Climate Change Mitigation; and Managing Climate Change through Biological Sequestration: Open Space Law Redux.  The article also discusses Stop the Beach and our favorite Texas Open Beaches Act "rolling easement" case Severance v. Patterson, and offers some solutions toward an integrated federal-state-local framework for coastal management.

Matt Festa

May 24, 2012 in Beaches, Caselaw, Climate, Coastal Regulation, Conservation Easements, Constitutional Law, Environmental Law, Environmentalism, Federal Government, History, Judicial Review, Local Government, Property Rights, Scholarship, State Government, Supreme Court, Sustainability, Takings, Texas, Water | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

DuVivier Wins Best Title Contest

How can you pass up a document called "Beware the Dark Side of Trees?"

K.K. DuVivier recently posted a very helpful document about planting trees in a way that does not reduce the potential passive solar heating you can get for your home. It even comes with helpful diagrams. Who knew a law professor could produce something so practical!

Here is DuVivier's abstact:

Everyone loves puppies, and everyone loves trees. But just as we had to learn to curb and clean up after our dogs, we now need to learn to become responsible tree owners. Many of today’s well-intentioned tree-planting programs ignore the dark side of trees that threaten green energy solutions such as urban gardens, buildings with passive solar designs, solar hot water, and solar-generated electricity systems.
This short pamphlet (one 2-sided page with illustrations) is an attempt to alert everyone to be aware of the dark side of any tree you plant — both the planting location and the shade footprint. Otherwise, any carbon-capture gains from the new trees may be offset by the increased fossil-fuel burned to replace the clean solar energy lost.

Jessie Owley

May 22, 2012 in Clean Energy, Climate, Property | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Markell on Climate Change and the Roles of Land Use and Energy Law

David L. Markell (Florida State) has posted Climate Change and the Roles of Land Use and Energy Law: An Introduction, Journal of Land Use & Environmental Law, Vol. 27 (2012).  It's the intro to a Symposium issue.  The abstract:

The challenges posed by climate change are daunting and have spawned an enormous literature, indeed many literatures. The legal regimes that govern our use of land and energy have already been and will continue to be integral to the effort to devise effective responses. My aim in this introductory essay is to identify and review six aspects of climate change in an effort to capture some of the ferment that now exists as policy makers, scholars, and others wrestle with the challenges that climate change poses for extant legal regimes. I then briefly summarize the articles in this symposium volume.

Matt Festa

March 20, 2012 in Climate, Conferences, Environmental Law, Oil & Gas, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Nolon on Land Use for Energy Conservation and Sustainable Development

John R. Nolon (Pace) has posted Land Use for Energy Conservation and Sustainable Development: A New Path Toward Climate Change Mitigation. The abstract:

Land use tools and techniques have impressive potential to reduce energy consumption, improve the economy, and mitigate climate change. This article explores the little understood influence of local land use decision-making on energy conservation and sustainable development and how it can mitigate climate change if properly assisted by the federal and state governments. The construction and use of buildings combined with extensive vehicular travel throughout the nation’s human settlements consume large amounts of energy, and much of that consumption is highly inefficient. By enforcing and enhancing energy codes, encouraging the use of combined heat and power and district energy systems, properly orienting and commissioning buildings, incorporating renewable energy resources, and promoting transit and other methods of reducing vehicle miles travelled, local land use law’s potential to achieve energy conservation and sustainable development can be unlocked. These techniques can be organized at the neighborhood level and aggregated by adopting local Energy Conservation Zoning Districts in neighborhoods where significant energy conservation can be achieved. The article proposes federal and state policies, combining features of both the Coastal Zone Management Act and the Enterprise Zone initiative, that can facilitate local land use initiatives that will shape human settlements and control the built environment as a new path toward energy efficiency and climate change mitigation.

In the footnotes, Prof. Nolon notes that this is part of a trilogy:

FN.1. This article is one of three that examine how local land use law that can be used as an effective strategy to mitigate climate change. See John R. Nolon, The Land Use Stabilization Wedge Strategy: Shifting Gound to Mitigate Climate Change, 34 WM. & MARY ENVTL. L. & POLY REV. 1 (2009) [hereinafter Land Use Stablization Wedge] and John R. Nolon, Mitigating Climate Change through Biological Sequestration: Open Space Law Redux, 31 STAN. ENVTL. L.J. (forthcoming Winter 2011) [hereinafter Open Space Law Redux].

This is a great set of articles for anyone interested in the subject from one of the leaders in land use and local environmental law.

Matt Festa

November 7, 2011 in Climate, Coastal Regulation, Environmental Law, Environmentalism, Federal Government, Green Building, Local Government, Planning, Scholarship, State Government, Sustainability, Zoning | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Georgetown Releases Climate Adaptation Tools

From Vicky Arroyo at the Georgetown Climate Center:

Climate change may be a politically charged topic in Washington, but as we all know, states and communities don't have the luxury of waiting for the federal government to act.  

Facing extreme storms, flooding, drought, and water shortages, those on the front lines are responding now to the impacts of climate change (whether they use the words "climate change" or not) and are being forced to rethink planning for everything from roadway design and location to building standards to development along our nation's coasts.

 

Please join us for an important discussion and webinar on Tuesday, Nov. 1, [1 p.m. Eastern] when the Georgetown Climate Center will release the following tools and reports to help policymakers, reporters, and others locate and pursue policies that enable communities to adapt to climate change:
  • The Adaptation Clearinghouse - A new online community and database to help planners find and share policies that address climate change impacts.  Policymakers, reporters, and the public can find adaptation policies and plans created for their communities.    
  • Adaptation Case Studies in the Western United States - Two new case studies explore water shortages in the West and the protection of a ground-dwelling bird: the greater sage grouse.  The report looks at the policies and unique approaches being adopted in Colorado and Wyoming, in particular, to tackle the problems - even though the solutions may not be adopted with the sole intent of addressing climate change.    
  • Adaptation Tool Kit: Sea-Level Rise and Coastal Land Use - A new report issued by the Georgetown Climate Center looks at 18 existing land use tools that communities can use to prepare for rising sea levels and the flooding that will result from climate change.
Please join me along with Jason Vogel, co-author of "Adaptation Case Studies in the Western United States"; Jessica Grannis, author of "Adaptation Tool Kit: Sea-Level Rise and Coastal Land Use"; and Cristina Rumbaitis Del Rio of the Rockefeller Foundation for this important webinar. 

You can link to the Webinar from this page.
Jamie Baker Roskie

 

November 1, 2011 in Climate, Coastal Regulation | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Amazing "Vertical Forest"

Inhabit.com has a beautiful slide show and accompanying article about the world's first residential building incorporating a verticle forest.

The Bosco Verticale is a system that optimizes, recuperates, and produces energy. Covered in plant life, the building aids in balancing the microclimate and in filtering the dust particles contained in the urban environment (Milan is one of the most polluted cities in Europe). The diversity of the plants and their characteristics produce humidity, absorb CO2 and dust particles, producing oxygen and protect the building from radiation and acoustic pollution. This not only improves the quality of living spaces, but gives way to dramatic energy savings year round.

Each apartment in the building will have a balcony planted with trees that are able to respond to the city’s weather — shade will be provided within the summer, while also filtering city pollution; and in the winter the bare trees will allow sunlight to permeate through the spaces. Plant irrigation will be supported through the filtering and reuse of the greywater produced by the building. Additionally, Aeolian and photovoltaic energy systems will further promote the tower’s self-sufficiency.

It looks like something out of Tolkein - I highly recommend you take a look.

Jamie Baker Roskie

October 17, 2011 in Architecture, Climate, Community Design | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Ostrow on Land Law Federalism

Ashira Ostrow (Hofstra) has posted Land Law Federalism, 61 Emory L.J. ___ (forthcoming 2012). A must-read, this foundational work explores the theoretical framework for appropriate federal intervention in the state/local-dominated area of land use regulation. Here's the abstract:

In modern society, capital, information and resources pass seamlessly across increasingly porous jurisdictional boundaries; land does not. Perhaps because of its immobility, the dominant descriptive and normative account of land use law is premised upon local control. Yet, land exhibits a unique duality. Each parcel is at once absolutely fixed in location but inextricably linked to a complex array of interconnected systems, natural and man-made. Ecosystems spanning vast geographic areas sustain human life; interstate highways, railways and airports physically connect remote areas; networks of buildings, homes, offices and factories, create communities and provide the physical context in which most human interaction takes place.

Given the traditional commitment to localism, scholars and policymakers often reflexively dismiss the potential for an increased federal role in land use law. Yet, modern land use law already involves a significant federal dimension resulting, in part, from the enactment of federal statutes that have varying degrees of preemptive effect on local authority. Moreover, this Article maintains that federal intervention in land use law is warranted where the cumulative impact of local land use decisions interferes with national regulatory objectives (such as developing nationwide energy or telecommunications infrastructure).

Finally, this Article advances an interjurisdictional framework for federal land law that harnesses (a) the capacity of the federal government, with its distance from local politics and economic pressures, to coordinate land use on a national scale and (b) the capacity of local officials, who have detailed knowledge of the land and are politically accountable to the local community, to implement land use policies.

Jim K.

 

October 11, 2011 in Climate, Development, Environmental Law, Environmentalism, Federal Government, Globalism, Green Building, Inclusionary Zoning, Local Government, NIMBY, Planning, Scholarship, Smart Growth, Sprawl, Subdivision Regulations, Sustainability, Transportation, Wetlands, Zoning | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Outka & Feiock on Local Promise for Climate Mitigation

Uma Outka (Kansa) and Richard C. Feiock (Florida State--Public Administration) have posted Local Promise for Climate Mitigation: An Empirical Assessment. The abstract:

This interdisciplinary work contributes empirical grounding to the growing literature in law and public policy on local governments and climate mitigation. Much of the recent scholarship presents an optimistic view of the potential in local climate action. Here, we refine the optimism for local governments’ impact with new performance data that probes local progress and capacity for climate governance. Our analysis – based on a new study measuring policy choice, implementation, and influences – calls into question a number of assumptions undergirding this scholarship. At the same time, it provides direction and support for targeted investment and research.

Matt Festa

October 5, 2011 in Climate, Environmentalism, Local Government, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Lewis & Clark Clinic Wins Big Victory Against Coal

I'm a bit tardy in getting this out, but over the summer the folks at Lewis & Clark's Pacific Environmental Advocacy Center won a big victory against Portland General Electric, effectively making Oregon a coal free state.  LC law students were integrally involved in this case, making for one of the most fantastic clinical experiences ever (in my opinion).

Read more about it on the LC website. (Full disclosure: If it seems like I'm bursting with price, perhaps it's because I am an LC [undergraduate] alumna.)

Jamie Baker Roskie

August 22, 2011 in Clean Energy, Climate, Environmental Law, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, August 12, 2011

2011 Conference on Litigating Regulatory Takings

John Echeverria (Vermont) sends along the announcement for the 14th annual Conference on Litigating Regulatory Takings Claims:

The 14th Edition of the Conference on Litigating Regulatory Takings Claims will be held this year on November 18 on the GULC campus in Washington, D.C. The conference will be co-sponsored by Vermont Law School and Georgetown University Law Center. Additional co-sponsors include: American Planning Association, Planning and Law Division; International Municipal Lawyers Association; Maryland Municipal League; National Association of Counties; National League of Cities; National State Attorneys General Program at Columbia Law School; U.S. Conference of Mayors, and Virginia Municipal League.
 
Speakers include: Mark Barron, J. Peter Byrne, David Callies, Martin R. Cohen,
Steven J. Eagle, John D. Echeverria, Mark Fenster, Denise G. Fjordbeck,
Alexandra B. Klass, Robert Meltz, Thomas W. Merrill, J. Michael Ponder,
Joseph L. Sax, Christopher Serkin, Daniel L. Siegel, Gregory M. Stein,
A. Daniel Tarlock, and William M. Treanor.
 
Looks like a great lineup once again.  For more information, the conference website is http://www.vermontlaw.edu/Takings2011/.
Matt Festa

August 12, 2011 in Climate, Coastal Regulation, Conferences, Constitutional Law, Eminent Domain, Environmental Law, Environmentalism, Judicial Review, Planning, Property Rights, Scholarship, Takings | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Craig on Making Marine Zoning Climate Change Adaptable

Robin Kundis Craig (Florida State) has posted Ocean Governance for the 21st Century: Making Marine Zoning Climate Change Adaptable, which relates to her forthcoming book, COMPARATIVE OCEAN GOVERNANCE: PLACED-BASED PROTECTIONS IN AN ERA OF CLIMATE CHANGE (forthcoming Edward Elgar Press 2012).  The abstract:

The variety of anthropogenic stressors to the marine environment - including, increasingly, climate change - and their complex and synergistic impacts on ocean ecosystems testifies to the failure of existing governance regimes to protect these ecosystems and the services that they provide. Marine spatial planning has been widely hailed as a means of improving ocean governance through holistic ecosystem-based planning. However, that concept arose without reference to climate change, and hence it does not automatically account for the dynamic alterations in marine ecosystems that climate change is bringing.

This Article attempts to adapt marine spatial planning to climate change adaptation. In so doing, it explores three main topics. First, it examines how established marine protected areas can aid climate change adaptation. Second, the Article looks at how nations have incorporated climate change considerations into marine spatial planning to increase marine ecosystem resilience, focusing on the international leader in marine spatial planning: Australia. Finally, the Article explores how marine spatial planning could become flexible enough to adapt to the changes that climate change will bring to the world’s oceans, focusing on anticipatory zoning. Governments, of course, can establish marine zoning governance regimes in anticipation of climate change impacts, as has already occurred in the Arctic. However, drawing on work by Josh Eagle, Barton H. Thompson, and James Sanchirico, this Article argues that governments could also combine anticipatory zoning and closely regulated marine use rights bidding regimes to encourage potential future private users to make informed bets about the future productivity value of different parts of the ocean, potentially improving both our knowledge regarding climate change impacts on particular marine environments and ocean governance regimes for climate-sensitive areas.

Matt Festa

August 4, 2011 in Climate, Comparative Land Use, Environmentalism, Scholarship, Sustainability, Zoning | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

CFP: Connecticut Conference on Legal Solutions to Climate Change Adaptation

From Prof. Sara Bronin, here's an announcement about an opportunity to participate in an upcoming conference.  There is more information at the conference website.

Call for Papers:
“Legal Solutions to Coastal Climate Change Adaptation in Connecticut”

Conference Date: February 10, 2012

Conference Location: University of Connecticut School of Law,  
Hartford, CT

Deadline for paper abstract submissions:  September 30, 2011

Key Issues covered by the conference: The conference presentations and  
discussions aim to enhance understanding and promote discussion of  
cutting-edge policy and legal approaches to climate change adaptation  
in coastal areas, with potential application to Connecticut.

Topics of Interest: We invite practitioners, academics, and students  
in the field of law as well as others with expertise and interest to  
submit a 2 to 3 page paper proposal that focuses on existing or  
proposed innovative legal, policy and related incentive-based options  
for climate change adaptation in coastal environments. We invite  
papers that lay out the existing legal and regulatory structure in  
Connecticut as well as in other states, identify gaps and obstacles in  
these approaches, present innovative and environmentally sound  
approaches to climate change adaptation and stimulate legal thinking  
on legal and policy remedies to this issue of international  
importance. All submitted papers must contain a legal, policy or  
regulatory approach, solution or tool designed to facilitate climate  
change adaptation in Connecticut.

Specific Topics: Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:
·         Opportunities for and roadblocks to adaptation in existing  
laws and policies; lessons from other areas:
·         Interplay between the protection of public resources and  
private property rights
·         Using the CZMA and Coastal Management Act for climate change  
adaptation
·         Rolling easements, ambulatory vs. fixed property lines
·         Ecosystem-based adaptation incentives via policy and legal  
approaches
·         Land use planning, growth strategies and regulatory  
approaches to climate change at the municipal and state levels
·         Climate Justice and Adaptation Planning: Who bears the  
burden? Who reaps the benefits?
·         Legal approaches to emergency planning and changing hazards
·         Adaptation Economics: the costs of adapting or not adapting,  
who pays and when?
·         Reactive versus proactive legal approaches to climate change  
adaptation
·         Legal strategies or barriers to financing climate change  
resilience planning/implementation

Publication of Papers: Submitted papers that are accepted for  
presentation will be published in a special issue of the Sea Grant Law  
and Policy Journal. How to Submit: 2 to 3 page paper proposals should be submitted via e-
mail to seagrantresearch@uconn.edu  by September 30th.  Be sure to  
include your affiliation and contact information.

Matt Festa

July 5, 2011 in Beaches, Climate, Coastal Regulation, Conferences, Environmental Law, Property Rights, Scholarship, State Government, Sustainability | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Craig on Energy System Impacts

Robin Kundis Craig (Florida State) has posted Energy System Impacts, forthcoming in THE LAW OF ADAPTATION TO CLIMATE CHANGE: U.S. AND INTERNATIONAL ASPECTS, American Bar Association, 2012.  The abstract:

The exact impacts of climate change in the U.S. are still uncertain, so the effects on the energy sector are also highly uncertain, although the uncertainty is greater regarding effects on energy supply and production than regarding energy demand. Overall, climate change is likely to increase energy demand, increase peak demands, and shift energy needs from heating oil and natural gas to electricity, all of which effects will be driven primarily by increased needs for residential, industrial, commercial, and agricultural space cooling as summers grow hotter and heat waves become more frequent. As for production and supply, the greatest overall effects of climate change in the U.S. are likely to be on operators’ abilities to cool power plants and the consequent loss of efficiency and capacity as a result of increased air and water temperatures and reduced water supplies; on hydroelectric generation as a result of reduced and more variable flows; and on energy-related infrastructure of all types as a result of increasingly severe weather events and sea-level rise. Importantly, however, these national or overall projections mask important regional variations in climate change impacts, and hence adaptation strategies should be cognizant of and responsive to those regional differences. Moreover, climate change impacts on the energy sector strongly indicate that adaptation efforts will need to coordinate energy policy and water policy to reflect the likelihood that climate change will have significant impact on the energy-water nexus.

Matt Festa

June 21, 2011 in Climate, Environmental Law, Environmentalism, Scholarship, Water | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Comparative Law Conference on Sustainability June 11th in Montréal

Weekend in Montréal anyone? The McGill Faculty of Law and Vermont Law School present a joint cross-border conference on Sustainability: Achieving Environmental Sustainability in the Face of Climate Change. 

Kat Garvey

For the full agenda...

Continue reading

June 2, 2011 in Climate, Coastal Regulation, Comparative Land Use, Conferences | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, May 23, 2011

LaCroix on Urban Green Uses

Catherine LaCroix (Case Western) has posted Urban Green Uses: The New Renewal, published in Planning and Environmental Law, Vol. 65, No. 5, p. 3, May 2011.  The abstract:

As they confront dramatically reduced population and little prospect of significant near-term growth, several cities in the rust belt have turned to innovative tactics to put excess land to beneficial use. These measures include the creation of active land banks, downzoning for "green" uses such as urban agriculture, possible consolidation of population and abandonment of utility and public services, and installation of green infrastructure, such as stormwater retention and renewable power generation facilities, on publicly owned land. In the process, these cities face intriguing legal questions: What steps are needed to form an effective land bank? What is the liability of land banks for cleanup of contaminated properties? Are cities required to provide municipal services to unpopulated areas within their boundaries? In the unlikely event that a city uses eminent domain to relocate owners of sparsely-populated areas, what is “just compensation” for this action? What issues might arise with zoning land for less intensive uses such as urban farms? Some of the answers are emerging. For example, state authorizing legislation has been enacted to establish the type of active land bank successfully implemented in St. Louis, Cleveland, and other cities, and it appears that cities need not provide infrastructure and services throughout their land area, though they are best advised retain any rights of way or easements that may be needed in the event of future development. Other questions – both legal and practical - have yet to be fully answered, as rust belt cities lead the way in what might tentatively be called "The New Renewal" – a form of sustainable development that dovetails well with the policies of cities that seek to combat and adapt to climate change.

Matt Festa

May 23, 2011 in Agriculture, Climate, Density, Eminent Domain, Environmentalism, Green Building, Local Government, Planning, Scholarship, Sustainability, Urbanism, Zoning | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)