U.S. progress on preventing climate change has been slow and sporadic. The Clinton Administration mostly missed its chance; the Bush Administration actively fought progress; legislation during President Obama's first term died in the Senate at the hands of solid Republican opposition and Democratic division; and President Trump is openly hostile to doing anything about climate change, refusing even to acknowledge the science behind it.
Given political realities, the best remaining hope for action at the federal level during the Obama years was Executive Branch regulation, and the Obama EPA embraced the opportunity, rules relying on its Clean Air Act authority to issue rules aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, most notably, the Clean Power Plan. The Trump Administration has made clear it intends to roll back as much of that effort as it possibly can, setting up what will likely be a long-running battle in Congress and the courts.
Read about CPR Member Scholars' work on how to prevent and mitigate climate change:
Carbon Pricing: Essential But Insufficient. In her July 2019 issue brief, CPR Member Scholar and Board Member Alice Kaswan explains that while setting a price on carbon emissions is essential to addressing climate change, it's not sufficient on its own. Rather, we need a comprehensive, visionary approach to a green transition that includes but does not rely on carbon pricing. Also in PDF.
Virginia Toxic Floodwaters. More than 1,000 industrial facilities regulated for toxic and hazardous chemicals in the James River Watershed are vulnerable to flooding, imperiling more than 470,000 Virginians living in nearby low-income communities. Read CPR's March 2019 report.
The 'Economy vs. Environment' Myth. Read "Healthy Environment, Strong Economy Can Co-Exist," by Robert Adler, published in the September 24, 2011 Salt Lake Tribune, debunking the argument that strengthening the economy requires weakening environmental protections.
Myths About CAA Regulation of Greenhouse Gases. For years, the Bush Administration resisted regulating the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change, asserting (among other things) that it lacked the authority under the Clean Air Act to do so. The Supreme Court finally instructed the Administration otherwise, a ruling the Bush White House all but ignored. The Obama Administration, however, has sought to discharge its legal obligation to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act. Somehow, the right wing argument that the Clean Air Act doesn't cover planet-threatening greenhouse gases persists, however. In April 2011, CPR Member Scholars Amy Sinden and Dan Farber released a short white paper, correcting the record on Six Myths About Climate Change and the Clean Air Act(CPR White Paper 1105).
California Waiver Op-Ed. Read William W. Buzbee's December 28, 2007 op-ed in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on the Bush EPA's denial of California's request for a Clean Air Act waiver that would allow it and 16 "piggybacking" states to fight global warming with stricter automobile emissions standards.
Op-Ed on Allocation of International Carbon Credits. Read "Adam Smith Meets Climate Change," a proposal for allotting international carbon credits, by CPR Member Scholar Doug Kysar and Ian Ayres, published in Slate Magazine, September 25, 2008.
Climate Change Conference. See the media advisory and agenda for "Facts, Ideas, and U.S. Climate Change Policy: A Conference on Climate Change," an October 20, 2007 conference sponsored jointly by CPR, the University of Kansas School of Law, and the Commons at the University of Kansas. Watch a brief video clip from the conference of Member Scholar David Driesen.
Preemption and Adaptation. Read about CPR Member Scholars' work on two other critical aspects of climate change: Adaptation and Preemption of state and local climate change laws and policies.
Responding to Lomborg. Read "Hot Air," Eban Goodstein's review of Bjorn Lomborg's Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming, published on Slate.com, August 29, 2007. For another look at the quality of Lomborg's scholarship, read Joel Mintz's review, published in The Environmental Lawyer, in 2002, of Lomborg's earlier book, The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real State of the World. (Reprinted by permission of the American Bar Association.) Or read Frank Ackerman's 2002 review in the March 25, 2002 edition of The Nation. Or read Doug Kysar's 2002 review.