The Environmental Law Institute (ELI) at Columbia University is about to publish more than 1,000 specific recommendations for the municipal, state and federal laws necessary for the United States to decarbonize its economy and achieve the goals of the Paris Climate accord. More than 60 experts contributed to the book, titled “Legal Pathways to Decarbonization in the United States”. The editors are Michael Gerrard, Director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at the Columbia Law School, and John C. Dernbach, Distinguished Professor of Law at the Widener University Law School. The complete book is 1,100 pages. A shorter version can be downloaded here at no cost.
The Green New Deal is a proposal to make a rapid and comprehensive transition to a decarbonized economy, principally by shifting to 100% renewable power generation. Green groups have promoted the idea for some time, but one version is contained in a proposal by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the Democrat Socialist from New York who was elected to Congress last November.
Two reports issued last fall shook up the assumption that holding global warming to no more than 2oC above pre-industrial levels would be sufficient to avert catastrophic climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reported that the much safer goal is 1.5oC.
Now that the 116th Congress is underway, it appears that climate change will get more attention than it has in recent years. In addition to the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. Frank Pallone, is adding climate change to the focus of one of his subcommittees. Pallone also promised to make climate change the topic of the committee’s first hearing.