Archives for Spring 2017

Exam Information

Questions and Answers

 

Resources that can be used on the exam.

GAO – FLOOD INSURANCE Comprehensive Reform Could Improve Solvency and Enhance Resilience 2017

April 26

Exam Info

Exam opens – Monday, May 1 at 8:30 am.

Exam closes – Monday, May 15 at 2:00 pm.

Exam document identified only by exam number will be emailed to Kristi Parnell <Kristi.Parnell@law.lsu.edu> Time allotted – no limit (exam will be word limited) The exam software will not be used.

Exam is open book – any materials we used in class, materials linked to on the class blog, and your own notes may be used. General Internet research is prohibited. (This is not a research paper.) The exam will be provided through Moodle.

News

Could we live on earth without CO2 in the atmosphere?

This is a calculation of the earth’s temperature without any CO2 in the atmosphere, which would be about 0F. (You can also use this to calculate how much CO2 you would need to add to the Martian atmosphere as you are  terraforming it replace the earth.)

Methane

Scientists just found telltale evidence of an ancient methane explosion in the Arctic

Counterpoint to the methane story in last Wednesday’s news (Could Subsea Methane Hydrates Be a Warming “Tipping Point”?)

Another interesting methane paper

How a Warming Planet Drives Human Migration https://nyti.ms/2oUj07f

Is It O.K. to Tinker With the Environment to Fight Climate Change? https://nyti.ms/2oQZJ6M

Assignment

Finish materials from last Wednesday.

FEMA Recovery Guidance  Advisory Base Flood Elevation for New Orleans – 2006 – Presentation

New Orleans’s New Flood Maps: An Outline for Disaster

THE NATIONAL FLOOD INSURANCE PROGRAM: CHALLENGES AND SOLUTIONS. American Academy of Actuaries Flood Insurance Work Group (2017)

Read sections 4 and 10.

Paris Update

Scott Pruitt calls for an ‘exit’ from the Paris accord, sharpening the Trump White House’s climate rift

Condition Letter for U.S. Remaining in the Paris Agreement

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s claim that China and India have ‘no obligations’ until 2030 under the Paris Accord

National Security and Climate Change (read these for Monday, but we will not finish them until Wednesday)

Asylum & the Rights of Refugees

How are the rights of refugees under the International Refugee Convention different from those of climate migrants?

Werrell, Caitlin E., and Francesco Femia, eds. The Arab Spring and climate change: a climate and security correlations series. 2013.

This explores how global climate and extreme weather events drove the Syrian civil war.

Insurgency, Terrorism and Organised Crime in a Warming Climate Analysing the Links Between Climate Change and Non-State Armed Groups (2017)

Read the Executive Summary through page 9 and then scan the different case studies.

Resources

Util. Air Regulatory Grp. v. E.P.A., 134 S. Ct. 2427, 189 L. Ed. 2d 372 (2014) – Court limits the expansion of GHG regs under NAAQS. official version from the court – 12-1146_4g18 – UARG Study Guide

We are not reading this, but I am providing it because it is the major Supreme Court case after American Electric Power Company, Inc. v. Connecticut, 131 S.Ct. 2527, 180 L.Ed.2d 435 (2011).

 

April 24

Breaking News!

We will have a guest speaker on Monday, a senior disaster response manager who will talk about the issues in disaster response and the career opportunities in the field. He is an alum of the law school and deeply understands the problems that LA faces.

We will carry over the assigned material to Wednesday.

April 19

News

When Rising Seas Transform Risk Into Certainty

Could Subsea Methane Hydrates Be a Warming “Tipping Point”?

A little good news – original article: Ruppel, C.D. & Kessler, J.D., 2017. The interaction of climate change and methane hydrates. Reviews of Geophysics, 55(1), pp.126–168. Available at: http:https://dx.doi.org/10.1002/2016RG000534.

Assignment

Introduction to the NFIP

NOAA Coastal Flood Mapping Tool

National Flood Insurance Program – Dwelling Form – Standard Flood Insurance Policy – F-122 / October 2015 – this is the actual residential flood insurance policy (Standard Flood Insurance Policy Forms – Current)

Answers to Questions about the National Flood Insurance Program – this is the official FAQ on the policies and the program – par. 42, et seq. (2011 is the current version) (Answers to Questions about the National Flood Insurance Program – edited for discussion)

Why is grandfathering a problem with sea level rise?

Read these and figure out what is covered, what is excluded, and what the zones mean.

Digital flood maps – look up your house or apartment and other places you are familiar with. See how the flood zones work.

Paper Flood Maps – FEMA Flood Map Portal

Sample pre-digital Flood Maps: Baton RougeNew OrleansVenice (these need to magnified to see the detail)

Resources

FEMA Recovery Guidance  Advisory Base Flood Elevation for New Orleans – 2006 – Presentation

Flood Map Zones

 New Orleans’s New Flood Maps: An Outline for Disaster

Topography-based Analysis of Hurricane Katrina Inundation of New Orleans

Interactive Flood Map for New Orleans

Regional interactive flood map

Surging Seas: Sea level rise analysis by Climate Central

April 12

News

ELECTRIC VEHICLES – Sometimes charging is pricier than gassing up

Assignment

This is going to be basic insurance law day. Important practice info for a community that has just been flooded. Lots of reading, but well worth it. You can scan for the core law, the details do not matter.

Louisiana Insurance Law

Sher v. Lafayette Ins. Co., 988 So.2d 186 (La. 2008)

Legal standards for construction of insurance policies. [39]

Barbara Landry v. Louisiana Citizens Property Ins. Co., 983 So.2d 66 (La. 2008)

This looks at the Louisiana Valued Policy Law and how it affects claims when there is a total loss. [65]

Restrictions on suing the National Flood Insurance Program

Gibson v. American Bankers Insurance Co., 289 F.3d 943 (6th Cir. 2002)

DeCosta v. Allstate Ins. Co., 730 F.3d 76, 77 (1st Cir. 2013)

Resources

Why was the Louisiana Flood of August 2016 so severe?

Standard Flood Insurance Policy Forms

April 10

News

Climate change adaptation staffers reassigned

Assignment

This is the defining (recent) extreme weather disaster in the US. It is also a local story, telling us much about the failure of state and local government, as well as problems in the legal system that will loom large in future disasters.

What was the role of state and local authorities?

Should Katrina have been a surprise? – Washing Away – Definitely take a look at these stories.

The Mythical Hurricane Response Plan – If this had be followed, there would have been a lot fewer deaths.

The Hurricane Pam Exercise, in which Louisiana promised FEMA that it was ready for a major hurricane.

Preparing For A Catastrophe: The Hurricane Pam Exercise Hearing Before The Committee On Homeland Security And Governmental Affairs, United States Senate, One Hundred Ninth Congress, Second Session, January 24, 2006.

The Cases

Court dismisses Industrial Canal cases for failure of FTCA notice – In re Breaches, No. 06-2268 – 2008 WL 4449970 (E.D.La. 2008)

Read [34] – [46] This notice problem cuts across all the cases.

 In re Katrina Canal Breaches Consol. Lit., 533 F.Supp.2d 615 (E.D.La. 2008)

Read p. 26-35. This is the analysis of the application of the FCA that will carry through the case. In this opinion, it is applied to flood walls on the 17th Street Canal.

In re Katrina Canal Breaches Consolidated Litigation, 647 F.Supp.2d 644 (E.D.La. Nov 18, 2009) Final opinion and appendix.

Use these slides as you skim the opinion to find the core issues: In re Katrina Canal Breaches Consolidated Litigation, 647 F.Supp.2d 644

 In re Katrina Levee Breaches, 5th Cir, Round II

The very rare situation where the 3 judge panel overrules itself, rather than the case going on to en banc review. Read [51] to the end. Before getting to the DFE, the court slightly modified the lower court’s interpretation of Sec. 702, but still focuses only on the MRGO and not the waters or the levees.

April 5

News

Conservatives and liberals united only by interest in dinosaurs, study shows

Fukuyama rethinks the end of history

Assignment

Hurricane Betsy

Remembering Betsy: WVUE-TV 09/1990 

Watch this outside of class – pay special attention to the levee comments at about 12:30 and the ending comments at 27.

LBJ and Russel Long right after Hurricane Betsy: https://millercenter.org/the-presidency/educational-resources/lbj-and-senator-russell-long-on-hurricane-betsy

Graci v. United States, 456 F.2d 20 (5th Cir. 1971)

The Hurricane Betsy case. How does the court get past Flood Control Act immunity? What is the Louisiana law it uses for the liability phase of the FTCA analysis? What is remanded?

Graci v. U.S., 435 F.Supp. 189 (E.D.La. 1977)

What did the court decide on remand and how might this be relevant to the Hurricane Katrina Cases?

Central Green Co. v. United States, 531 U.S. 425 (2001)

The key Supreme Court case on Flood Control Act immunity for dual use projects. Think about how this modifies Graci.

Resources

Slides on Flooding: Megaproject Failure:The Louisiana Coastal Restoration Plan. LSU Law School Energy Law Symposium, Baton Rouge, March 30, 2017.

David Roth, Louisiana Hurricane History (2010).

Slides: Graci and Central Green

Albert E Cowdrey, Land’s End, a History of the New Orleans District US Army Corps of Engineers, and Its Lifelong Battle With the Lower Mississippi and Other Rivers Wending Their Way To the Sea. US Army Corps of Engineers. (1977) (large file)

LM Alperin, History of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. US Army Corps of Engineers, Study NWS-83-9 (1983)

These both contain historical information on MRGO and where it fit into the larger navigation system.

Charles L Bretschneider & J Ian Collins, Storm Surge Effects of the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet: Study A (National Engineering Science Company) (1966)

Showing that the MRGO did not increase flooding with Hurricane Betsy

 

April 3

News

Impact of the Westinghouse Nuclear bankruptcy

PARIS AGREEMENT: On balance, the world wants Trump to stay

Trump tried and failed to build a wall in Ireland. That could mean big trouble for Europe.

A political organization that doubts climate science is sending this book to 200,000 teachers

Assignment

We are going to do some serious case reading. Prior to the passage of the Federal Tort Claims Act in 1946, you could only sue the federal government for takings and for contract claims. You could not sue for torts. The first two cases deal with the construction of the then new FTCA. Be sure to read the dissent as well in Dalehite – many contemporary scholars still think the dissent was right. Allen homes in on what it means to do something terrible on purpose and what that means for liability.

Federal Tort Claims Act

§ 2674 – Liability of United States
§ 2680 – Exceptions
§ 2672 – Administrative adjustment of claims

Dalehite v. U.S., 346 U.S. 15, 73 S.Ct. 956, 97 L.Ed. 1427 (1953) – history of the FTCA. Read paragraphs 28-34.

Allen v. U.S., 816 F.2d 1417 (10th Cir. 1987), Certiorari Denied by Allen v. U.S., 484 U.S. 1004 (1988)

Does immunity under the Flood Control Act of 1928 survive the FTCA?

National Mfg. Co. v. United States. Great Western Paint Mfg. Corp., 210 F.2d 263 (8th Cir. 1954)

The FCA is critical to understanding the potential liability of the federal government for flood control projects.

Resources

Slides: Introduction to the FTCA and the FCA

March 29

News

China Poised to Take Lead on Climate After Trump’s Move to Undo Policies https://nyti.ms/2nzwELP

Donald Trump Could Put Climate Change on Course for ‘Danger Zone’ https://nyti.ms/2emlyH9

Pleistocene Park

Have markets rendered KXL, Clean Power Plan irrelevant?

Assignment

EXECUTIVE ORDER – PROMOTING ENERGY INDEPENDENCE AND ECONOMIC GROWTH – 2017

First priority – Read this

Analysis of the impact of the EO on GHG emissions

Updated analysis

Exxon Letter Supporting Paris Agreement – March 2017

Read why Exxon wants Trump to stay in the Paris Agreement

Resources

The President’s Climate Action Plan

Obama – Executive Order 13693—Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade

Review Obama’s executive order on sustainability.

Continue our discussion of the Paris Agreement

March 27

News

Trump to sign executive order undoing Obama’s clean power plan

Pruitt criticised the Paris climate agreement, which Trump has reportedly said he will “cancel” and which Pruitt said was too lenient in its provisions for China and India, which, like the US, are among the world’s leading producers of carbon dioxide.

“China and India got away, the largest producers of CO2 internationally, got away scot-free,” he said. “They didn’t have to take steps until 2030.

“So we’ve penalized ourselves through lost jobs while China and India didn’t take steps to address the issue internationally.”

Pruitt said the Trump administration was “making sure we operate within the framework of the Clean Air Act”. But, he added: “Paris was just a bad deal, in my estimation.”

Melting tundra creates giant bubbles and craters

Carbon Pricing, Explained With Chickens

Assignment

Carbon price and emissions coverage of existing carbon pricing instruments – 2015

This is a chart of the prices of carbon and the amount of emissions covered throughout the world.

Carbon price v. carbon subsidy

Paris Climate Agreement – Official Text

The Paris Agreement Summary

Paris Climate Agreement – background information

We are going to read and analyze the Paris Climate agreement. This may take more than one class, but use the weekend to get the reading done. This the key global climate change agreement. Think about whether it is sufficient, what happens if the US pulls out, and where do we go from here?

Resources

Slides: Overview of the Paris Agreement

March 22

News

Correction: Traffic and Accident Data Summary Statistics – Germany

Germany has seen an amazing drop in automobile per mile over the past 30 years. It is now about half the US rate, dentists and Porsches, notwithstanding.

Trump Lays Plans to Reverse Obama’s Climate Change Legacy https://nyti.ms/2nyNzz6

Assignment

We will have a guest speaker

North Dakota v. Heydinger, 825 F.3d 912 (8th Cir. 2016)

Energy & Env’t Legal Inst. v. Epel, 793 F.3d 1169 (10th Cir.), cert. denied, 136 S. Ct. 595, 193 L. Ed. 2d 487 (2015)

Resources

Slides: Clean Energy Federalism

 

March 20

News

White House: Climate funding is ‘a waste of your money’

Cheng, L. et al., 2017. Improved estimates of ocean heat content from 1960 to 2015. Science Advances, 3(3), p.e1601545.

Assignment

A little fun following the discussion last class: Martin Weitzman’s Dismal Theorem: Do “Fat Tails” Destroy Cost-Benefit Analysis?

(These are all pretty short.)

Carbon Pricing 101

Climate Change 101 – Cap and Trade

TAXING CARBON: WHAT, WHY, AND HOW

California Appellate Court Hears Arguments in Cap-and-Trade Program Challenge

What are REDD offsets and why are they controversial?

Climate Change: Caps vs. Taxes – The Conservative Case for Carbon Taxes

Cap and trade in Europe

Carl, Jeremy, and David Fedor. “Tracking global carbon revenues: A survey of carbon taxes versus cap-and-trade in the real world.” Energy Policy 96 (2016): 50-77.

This study looks at where carbon tax / cap and trade revenues are spent.

Resources

Carbon Dioxide Emissions Coefficients by Fuel

H.R. 2454, The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, 111th Congress (Waxman-Markey)

This was the climate bill that passed the house but did not pass the Senate before the Republicans captured the House.

 

March 15

News

Update on the Children’s Climate Action

Lavoie, Tegan N., et al. “Assessing the Methane Emissions from Natural Gas-Fired Power Plants and Oil Refineries.” Environmental Science & Technology (2017)

Assignment

The Social Cost of Carbon

ZERO ZONE, INC., et al., Petitioners, v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY, et al., Respondents., No. 14-2147, 2016 WL 4177217, at *1 (7th Cir. Aug. 8, 2016)

Read from 2. Environmental Benefits, p.39 to  4. Anticompetitive Effects, p45.

Brief of the Institute for Policy Integrity at New York University School of Law as Amicus Curiae in Support of Respondents, ZERO ZONE, INC., et al., Petitioners, v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY, et al., Respondents., No. 14-2147, 2016 WL 4177217, at *1 (7th Cir. Aug. 8, 2016)

Will Trump’s Climate Team Accept Any ‘Social Cost of Carbon’?

Discount rates: A boring thing you should know about

Resources

Slides: The Social Cost of Carbon in Federal Rulemaking Presented by Elizabeth Kopits National Center for Environmental Economics, U.S. EPA

 

March 13

News

EPA Chief Scott Pruitt Says Carbon Dioxide Is Not a ‘Primary Contributor’ to Global Warming

Update on the EPA stopping methane emissions reporting

The Core Clean Power Plant Rule Documents

Clean Power Plan Final Rule – August 2015

Clean Power Plan Index

Regulatory Impact Analysis for the Clean Power Plan Final Rule

Legal Memorandum Accompanying Clean Power Plan for Certain Issues

Just quickly skim these to get a feel for their length and complexity

Assignment

The EPA put together a set of short fact sheets explaining the Clean Power Plan. We are going to read these and discuss them in class.

 

March 8

News

New science standards face key vote Tuesday, but evolution may slow the debate

“In one case, Mills said, climate change and global warming are unfairly treated as foregone conclusions”

Assignment

Endangerment and Cause or Contribute Findings for Greenhouse Gases Under Section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act, 74 FR 66496 Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Work through this. Find the legal authority and what needs to be show to trigger it, then look at how the technical document we discussed last class is used in the document, and finally parse the actual reg.

Resources

Annotated: Endangerment and Cause or Contribute Findings for Greenhouse Gases Under Section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act, 74 FR 66496 Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I added bookmarks and highlights to facilitate our discussion.

March 6

News

Appeals court hands oil companies victory in coastal lawsuit: Bd Cmsnr SE LA Flood Protc, et al v. Tennessee Gas (2017)

Coal Cars!!

Trump to Undo Vehicle Rules That Curb Global Warming

Assignment

Comer v. Murphy Oil USA, Inc., 839 F. Supp. 2d 849 (S.D. Miss. 2012) aff’d, 718 F.3d 460 (5th Cir. 2013) –  read the case and the recusal story.

Endangerment and Cause or Contribute Findings for Greenhouse Gases Under Section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act – Technical Support

We are going to begin our analysis of the underpinning for Clean Power Plant Rule. Read through page 10 and skim the rest of this document. We are going to go though It is technical support for rule, which is below. This is the endangerment finding that Pruitt will have to deal with in killing the Clean Power Plant Rule. We will start on the rule next class.

Resources

Endangerment and Cause or Contribute Findings for Greenhouse Gases Under Section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act, 74 FR 66496 Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Social Cost of Carbon

March 1

News

How a few words could change the world of environmental law

For $500 Billion, Scientists Think They Can “Refreeze” the Arctic

Assignment

The crazy economics of renewable energy

This is an important analysis of the paradoxical effect cheaping renewables have on the energy market. We will discuss this in class. Let me know if you have trouble with access to the article.

Look at the concurrence in Kivalina.

Juliana v. United States, No. 6:15-CV-01517-TC, 2016 WL 6661146 (D. Or. Nov. 10, 2016)

Juliana v. United States, No. 6:15-CV-01517-TC, 2016 WL 6661146 (D. Or. Nov. 10, 2016) – Children have standing under public trust doctrine to bring climate action. – RECODED WITH HARD NUMBERS – HTML version with paragraph numbers for class discussion.

Juliana v. United States, No. 6:15-CV-01517-TC, 2016 WL 6661146 (D. Or. Nov. 10, 2016) – Word Format

This is our major case for the day. This is the children’s crusade on climate change. Read it carefully. We are going to look hard at standing and the public trust doctrine, and we will also work through the political question defense that the feds brought. This is a good review of public trust. I have prepared a study guide to help navigate the case: Juliana – Oregon Children – Dist Court Order – Study Guide

Resources

Phillips Petroleum Co. v. Mississippi 484 U.S. 469 (1988)

 

 

February 22

News

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

Why the Master Plan will not protect Louisiana and what we should do instead

Assignment

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

Location

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

Resources

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 13

News

A Conservative Case for Climate Action

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

LAWFARE

Assignment

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.

Resources

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

News

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

Assignment

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

News

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.

Resources

Natural Cycles and the Mississippi Delta

February 1

News

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.”

Assignment

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

Resources

IPCC Graphics Topics 2&3 Edited

January 30

News

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

Assignment

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

Resources

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.

IPCC Home

Assignment

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

Resources

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:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XM0uZ9mfOUI

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:

http://climatechangedispatch.com/

It might be getting warmer, but who knows why?

http://www.drroyspencer.com/my-global-warming-skepticism-for-dummies/

A thoughtful skeptic:

https://judithcurry.com/

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