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.
The Congressional Research Service (CRS) has issued a new analysis of different options for creating a carbon tax. Key issues for Congress, should it take up the issue this session (which it should), include how much the tax should be and how to use its revenues. The most disturbing fact in the CRS report: “…carbon tax analyses do not generally consider the benefits that would be gained by reducing GHG emissions and avoiding climate change and its adverse impacts.” That is information — the cost of doing nothing — that Congress must consider.
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.