Archives for March 2017

April 3


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


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.


Slides: Introduction to the FTCA and the FCA

March 29


China Poised to Take Lead on Climate After Trump’s Move to Undo Policies

Donald Trump Could Put Climate Change on Course for ‘Danger Zone’

Pleistocene Park

Have markets rendered KXL, Clean Power Plan irrelevant?



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


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


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


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?


Slides: Overview of the Paris Agreement

March 22


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


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)


Slides: Clean Energy Federalism


March 20


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.


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


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.


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


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)


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


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


March 13


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


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


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”


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.


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


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


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.


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