February 22


‘The wild west of wind’: Republicans push Texas as unlikely green energy leader


American Eletric Power Company, Inc. v. Connecticut, 131 S.Ct. 2527, 180 L.Ed.2d 435 (2011) – Study Guide

This case will take on special significance if the EPA loses the ability to regulate GHGs.

Native Vill. of Kivalina v. ExxonMobil Corp., 696 F.3d 849 (9th Cir. 2012)

Read through [47] – the majority opinion. We will discuss how this case applies AEPC. We will read the concurrence next class.

Background on Alaskan Villages


Video: Alaskan Village Copes With Real-life Impacts of Global Climate Change 9-minute segment of NewsHour with Jim Lehrer (PBS) about Shishmaref, Newtok, and Kivalina, AK. July 10, 2008.

Alaskan Village, Citing Climate Change, Seeks Disaster Relief In Order To Relocate

The Village That Will Be Swept Away


The US Climate Litigation Database

Take a look at this before class. I will use it to talk about private climate litigation before we talk about AEPC and Kivalina. I am linking to the original site because this is continually updated.

February 20


Pruitt questions agency’s authority to regulate carbon

The Republican Plan to Kill FEMA Might Have an Upside

No, The NOAA Never Faked Any Climate Change Data

Another look at subsidence – Fort Proctor

An alternative to the Master Plan – very interesting.

More detail on the alternatives to the Coastal Master Plan

Where is West Pointe a la Hache?

Impact of thaw and erosion of Arctic permafrost coasts.

Comic relief – Climate Name Game


Massachusetts v. E.P.A., 127 S.Ct. 1438 (2007)

Study Guide – Massachusetts v. E.P.A., 127 S.Ct. 1438 (2007)


Slides – Climate Class – Massachusetts v. E.P.A., 127 S.Ct. 1438 (2007)

Subject to revision

February 15


Utilities vote to close Navajo coal plant at end of 2019

This is the largest coal plant in the West. Another victim of cheap gas.

The Coastal Restoration Dog and Pony Show Feb 2017

Thursday at Lod Cook

King Tides Show Us How Climate Change Will Threaten Coastal Cities – Great short video

What is a King Tide?

This is February? 80°F in Denver, 99° in Oklahoma, 66° in Iceland, 116° in Australia | Weather Underground


Read Chapter 5 in the Master Plan




February 13


A Conservative Case for Climate Action

Interesting column on cost-benefit analysis in rulemaking, with a focus on climate change.



Now that you have the jargon on rulemaking to appreciate the news, we are going to back the sea level rise in Louisiana to set the stage for our discussion of mitigation (reducing GHGs) and adaptation (figuring out how to live with climate change). The Louisiana exercise is important because we are in LA and because it is a good way to get a sense of the changes that are in store for coastal areas around the world.

Louisiana’s Comprehensive Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast – 2017 Draft

Read the Executive Summary and Chapter 4. I want you to get enough background on the that you can compare to reality when I go through the geology and hydrology of the Mississippi Delta.

As you read this, look carefully at the maps and try to sort out the land building projects – the public face of the plan – from the levee projects. One of our questions will be whether the land building is just a pork barrel spending project and the only protection in the plan is through levees.


Mississippi Delta Cycle Slides – Part 1

Joshua D. Kent, Louisiana’s Height Modernization Efforts. National Height Modernization Partner’s Meeting, Mobile, Alabama (2014)


February 8


A Crack in an Antarctic Ice Shelf Grew 17 Miles in the Last Two Months https://nyti.ms/2jXq2li


See the Distinguishing Legislative Rules from Interpretative Rules article I have emailed to you. Read to page 561.

Also read: A Handy “Rulemaking Versus Guidance” Checklist For Federal Agency Counsel

Notice and Comment Rulemaking – 553

Introduction to Rulemaking

Reg Map for Informal Rulemaking – pdf

What does a rule look like?

Clean Water Rule: Definition of ‘‘Waters of the United States’’; Proposed Rule

Clean Water Rule: Definition of ‘‘Waters of the United States’’; Final Rule

What does a guidance document look like?

Enforcement Guidance: Reasonable Accommodation and Undue Hardship Under the Americans with Disabilities Act

Guidance to Federal Financial Assistance Recipients Regarding Title VI Prohibition Against National Origin Discrimination Affecting Limited English Proficient Persons

February 6


Why Nobody Cares the President is Lying

Cultural cognition from the point of view of a conservative radio talk show host with second thoughts.

Changes to EPA’s Page on Federal Collaborations on Climate Change

Data quality act and the EPA WWW site

G.O.P. Hurries to Slash Oil and Gas Rules, Ending Industries’ 8-Year Wait

The methane flaring and leak rule is a big climate issue.

Climate Science Denial Shifts to a New Tactic Among Trump Appointees

California’s approach to sea level rise

Variability in climate over the past 2000 years

Initiative Aims to Help Cut Losses from Extreme Weather Events

Read this short piece and look at the risk graphic from the World Economic Forum. The full report: The Global Risks Report 2017 12th Edition. This is not assigned but it is a good resource on global risks, including political risks.

The Little Ice Age

We are looking at this because it is important to the climate change skeptic narrative. It is real, and it shows the importance of other factors than CO2 in climate.

The Little Ice Age – Literature Review – skim

The Little Ice Age – Overview and Video – read and watch video

2000 Years of Drought Variability in the Central United States – skim

The Effect of Sea Level Rise on Coasts

We are now starting our deep look at sea level rise and coasts, the most predictable effect of global warming.

Jennifer Howard et al., Clarifying the role of coastal and marine systems in climate mitigation, 15 Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 42–50 (2017)

While this is a technical publication, it is mostly aimed at policy makers, not scientists. Read it to get a sense of the carbon sequestration role of wetlands and marine systems and the implications of their failure. Skip the technical parts you do not understand.


Natural Cycles and the Mississippi Delta

February 1


Proposed Budget Cuts

“At the Department of Energy, it would roll back funding for nuclear physics and advanced scientific computing research to 2008 levels, eliminate the Office of Electricity, eliminate the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and scrap the Office of Fossil Energy, which focuses on technologies to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.”


Same reading as last class. We are going to discuss the risks from climate change as outlined in the IPCC report.


IPCC Graphics Topics 2&3 Edited

January 30


The end of climate regs: Presidential Executive Order on Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs

Climate Deregulation Tracker

In America’s Heartland, Discussing Climate Change Without Saying ‘Climate Change’ https://nyti.ms/2jHpu3Y


Carry over readings from last class. Read pp. 56-73.


Carbon Cycle and Ocean Acidification

Climate Change 2014 Synthesis Report – Enhanced Graphics for Discussion (from last class)

January 25

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

This is the core source for climate information. We are going to look at its basics so we understand where the climate science we will discuss comes from.



What is the IPCC? – read

History of the IPCC – read

Climate Change 2014 Synthesis Report – Fifth Assessment Report – Read pp. 35-56

Climate Change 2014 Synthesis Report – Enhanced Graphics for Discussion


Why is there an atmosphere around our earth and not around other planets?

How did the earth’s atmosphere form?

What causes the seasons?

Milankovitch cycles

Solar Variability

What is the temperature on the Moon?

What is Ocean Acidification?

What are the main greenhouse gases?

 Water as a GHG

January 23

Climate Change Law in the News (check back for breaking news)

The New White House Page on Climate Change

An America First Energy Plan

We will discuss this in class.

Reading assignment

Kahan, Dan M., Climate-Science Communication and the Measurement Problem (June 25, 2014). Advances in Pol. Psych., 36, 1-43 (2015). (SSRN-id2459057: Edited for presentation)

We are going to start our discussion of climate change by looking at the cultural cognition problem – what shapes people’s beliefs about scientific issues? Do the people you disagree with just not know the facts?

Read this article through page 37. This research explores the critical distinction between what a person knows and what a person believes, or put another way, what a person knows as opposed to who the person is. This has important implications for communicating information about controversial subjects such as climate change. It is also fundamental to trial practice: you have to persuade jurors to believe your story, not just know your story.

The article is well written, but can be heavy going. Pay attention to the graphs. Look carefully at the section that discusses why telling people that 97%  of scientists believe something is not a good way to get them to change their mind.

There is a section on climate change beliefs in south Florida starting on page 33. I disagree with the author here on using this as an example of a community that has accepted climate change despite their political divisions. My question: are you really accepting climate change/sea level rise if the actions that you take in your plan cannot work if sea level rises? This has direct application to Louisiana.

January 18

Class Information

All the assignments will be posted to this blog. Check before class for breaking news updates. I reserve the right to use class participation points.

Seating – this is a small class in a big room. Please sit toward the center on the first few rows.

Climate in the News

Earth on the edge: Record breaking 2016 was close to 1.5°C warming

President Obama’s Last Piece on Climate Change

The Extremes of the Climate Debate

We are all going to die – soon

From Season 3, Episode 3 of Newsroom:


Is this so crazy? See: http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2014/11/climate-desk-fact-checks-aaron-sorkins-climate-science-newsroom

It is just a liberal plot:


It might be getting warmer, but who knows why?


A thoughtful skeptic:


Evaluating science in the media

The Canadian House Hippo

The Impact of Global Warming on Louisiana

Sea level rise is the major global warming threat to coastal Louisiana and New Orleans. We are going to have a representative from NOAA in class to talk about the effects of relative sea level rise on coastal Louisiana.

Tim Osborne: The Realities of the Coast and It’s Populations

Please review these articles before class:

Scientists say Louisiana’s latest projections for coastal flooding are grim, but realistic

With gloomier estimates, should coastal plan look further than 50 years?

As we will discuss later in the course, even these articles overstate the possibility of coastal restoration. For example, the best evidence is that river diversions will not build land at all:

Pictorial Account and Landscape Evolution of the Crevasses near Fort St. Philip, Louisiana