Oct. 29, 2018 by Daniel Farber

States Rally Around Renewables

Cross-posted from Legal Planet.

The Center for Law, Energy, and the Environment published a survey of state energy policies through 2017. The trend toward renewables has continued in 2018. Even after nearly two years of the Trump presidency, states haven't given up. Instead, they're moving forward aggressively. If anything, Trump seems to have stimulated these states to try even harder.

Here's a quick rundown of what's happened so far in 2018:

  • California mandated that all new homes have solar energy and adopted bold new goals in a statute mandating 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2045.  
  • Colorado adopted California's car standards, including greenhouse gas standards.  
  • Connecticut adopted new laws requiring utilities to get 40 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2030, mandating that the state cut greenhouse gases 45 percent below 2001 levels by 2030, requiring that government-funded coastal projects take into account a projected sea level rise of two feet by 2050.  
  • Florida, a long-term laggard in solar power, changed its rules to allow long-term leasing of rooftop solar installations to consumers.  
  • Hawaii passed new legislation that rewards utilities for increasing the use of distributed resources like rooftop solar.  
  • Illinois regulators approved a pathway to 25 percent renewables …

Oct. 2, 2018 by Sidney Shapiro, Robert Verchick

Originally published in The Regulatory Review as part of a series on social justice and the green economy. Reprinted with permission.

The reactions to our article, Inequality, Social Resilience, and the Green Economy, have a clear message: We, environmentalists, have our work cut out for us.

We wrote our article to start an overdue conversation about environmental policy and social and economic well-being, and we thank our commentators for joining us in starting this conservation. In response, we would note that, although protecting the environment and achieving justice has never been easy, the United States has made progress over time. We are persuaded, despite the caveats our commentators have identified, that the country can do so again.

Michael P. Vandenbergh warns of the political danger of tying the environmental agenda to social well-being in our current political state, and we agree with this warning for all of …

Sept. 26, 2018 by Alice Kaswan

Originally published in The Regulatory Review as part of a series on social justice and the green economy. Reprinted with permission.

A recent study tells us that Hurricane Maria, which struck Puerto Rico in September 2017, may have caused as many as 4,600 deaths, far exceeding the initial official death toll of 64. In contrast, contemporaneous hurricanes in Texas and Florida appear to have caused far fewer deaths: 88 in Texas and 75 in Florida.

The differing outcomes bring home the importance of Sidney A. Shapiro and Robert R. M. Verchick’s recent article, which explores the way that underlying social vulnerability determines the impacts of major environmental transitions.

Just as a hurricane’s consequences differ dramatically depending on many socioeconomic factors—including infrastructure, access to medical care, and financial resources—the consequences of a shift to a green economy will differ based on the impacted …

Sept. 25, 2018 by Daniel Farber

Originally published in The Regulatory Review as part of a series on social justice and the green economy. Reprinted with permission.

Despite noisy political claims to the contrary, the weight of the evidence suggests that regulation has a small impact on the total number of jobs. Still, regulation is bound to have some effect on who has jobs, what kinds of jobs they have, and where those jobs can be found. How much should we care about that?

In a new article, Sidney A. Shapiro and Robert R. M. Verchick argue that environmentalists should devote far more attention to job loss. Their concern about job loss is well taken. Before responding to the issue, however, we need a better understanding of the extent of job loss due to regulation and a clearer map of the resulting types of harms.

To begin, we need to consider three kinds …

Sept. 24, 2018 by Sidney Shapiro, Robert Verchick

Originally published in The Regulatory Review as part of a series on social justice and the green economy. Reprinted with permission.

A green economy will generate thousands of new jobs — many more than will be lost to regulations on carbon pollution. But a green economy may also increase wealth inequality in some parts of the United States because people who lose jobs to carbon controls are not the same as those who will get them when the green economy blooms. For example, the kiln operator laid off from a cement plant in Virginia will probably not end up installing rooftop solar panels New Mexico. And based on the demographics of today's fossil fuel industry, job losses due to environmental regulations will likely affect whites, Hispanics, and African-Americans in significant numbers.

Nevertheless, when regulatory advocates have responded in the past to critics who thunder against "job-killing" regulation, they …

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More on CPR's Work & Scholars.
Oct. 29, 2018

States Rally Around Renewables

Oct. 2, 2018

Environmental Justice Is Worth Fighting For

Sept. 26, 2018

Expanding Environmental Justice to Achieve a Just Transition

Sept. 25, 2018

The Jobs and Regulation Issue Revisited

Sept. 24, 2018

Regulating the Green Economy