A River Runs Through Glacier National Park in Montana

Green Amendments and the Rise of Environmental Constitutional Rights

There has been a recent push across the country placing “green amendments” at the forefront of the fight to combat climate change and promote environmental justice. Analogous to the rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights, such as freedom of speech or freedom of religion, a green amendment is an amendment to a state Constitution’s Bill of Rights that guarantees its citizens the inalienable right to clean air, clean water, and a healthy environment. These amendments serve to create a constitutional mandate that every citizen has a …

Continue Reading
Oil field with rigs and pumps at sunset. World Oil Industry

Supreme Court Denies Petition for Certiorari in Minnesota’s Climate Case Against Petroleum Leaders

In June 2020, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison sued ExxonMobil, three Koch entities, and the American Petroleum Institute — (energy companies and affiliates that produce or sell fossil fuels around the world and an industry association) — on behalf of the State of Minnesota, alleging that the defendants knowingly engaged in a “decades-long campaign of deception about the fossil fuel industry’s actual contributions to, and true costs of, climate change.”  The lawsuit includes claims for fraud, failure to warn, and multiple separate violations of state …

Continue Reading
Smoke and fumes

EPA Announces Final Rule to Reduce Methane and Combat Climate Change

In recent years, the global concentration of methane present in the atmosphere has increased dramatically. In fact, in 2021, methane increased by almost 18 parts per billion in the atmosphere, the largest single year increase since the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s records began in 1984. Last year was no exception, as atmospheric methane increased by 14 parts per billion, the fourth largest recorded increase.

These numbers are significant because methane is known as a “super pollutant” that is many times more potent than carbon …

Continue Reading
Flags - United Nations

COP28 Starts Out with a Bang by Creating a Fund Aimed at Helping Vulnerable Countries

On the first day of the two-week United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties, more commonly referred to as COP28, delegates reached a landmark agreement to formerly create a Loss and Damage Fund, a rescue and rehabilitation effort to support especially vulnerable countries dealing with the irreversible and costly effects of climate change.

First suggested in 1991 by the small island nation of Vanuatu, the fund is aimed at encouraging the wealthy and major polluting nations to assist poorer states harmed by …

Continue Reading
Smoke and fumes

Multiple States Seen Ramping Up Their Efforts to Facilitate Carbon Capture and Sequestration Projects

Several states have implemented steps to build up legislative frameworks needed for carbon-capture utilization and sequestration (CCUS) projects in the first half of 2023.

CCUS refers to the process of capturing carbon-dioxide emissions from sources like coal-fired power plants, and either reuses or stores the CO2 so it will not enter the atmosphere. CO2 can also be captured directly from the atmosphere with the right technology. CCUS technologies also provide a foundation for carbon removal or “negative emissions” when the CO2 comes from bio-based processes …

Continue Reading
Front Refrigerator

DC Circuit Pours Cold Water on Global Warming Legislation

Refrigeration technology has come a long way since ancient Chinese cultures harvested ice from frozen lakes and desperately tried to keep them insulated in ice cellars more than a thousand years ago. The technology advanced through the subsequent centuries, culminating in an exponential explosion of growth over the last hundred years or so, with the advent of artificial refrigerants in the 19-teens and 20s. Still, these early-model units relied on toxic, foul-smelling gases such as ammonia and sulfur dioxide as condensing agents, resulting in fatalities …

Continue Reading
Stormy White House

New Executive Order Renews & Strengthens America’s Commitment to Environmental Justice

Right on the heels of Earth Day, President Joe Biden signed Executive Order 14096, titled “Revitalizing Our Nation’s Commitment to Environmental Justice for All” (full text of the Order can be found in the Federal Register, accessible here).

This “whole of government” EO will affect how the federal government oversees permitting and funding for industry building and expansion in already overburdened communities, in which low-income and people of color typically reside. This is only the latest of many actions undertaken by this administration signaling …

Continue Reading
Elevation Sea Level Sign, Death Valley National Park, California, USA

Using Technology to Turn the Tide on Climate Change

A 2022 Interagency Sea Level Rise Technical Report, authored by various governmental agencies, found that global mean sea levels could rise between one and seven feet by 2100.  This would me significant impacts to the more than 40 percent of Americans who live near coastal waters. Coastal flooding can have major impacts to infrastructure, such as roads and homes, as well as many other impacts to human health. For example, rising sea levels can also threaten hazardous waste facilities, such as landfills, that are located …

Continue Reading
Pollution Factory Smoke in Air with Sky Bad for the Environment

The Supreme Court Denies Fossil Fuel Companies’ Bid to Have the Climate Deception Cases in Federal Court

Since 2017, a number of state government entities from cities, counties, and states across the country have gone after fossil fuel companies in court charging them with violating state law by marketing their products as not harmful. These 11 cases have collectively been dubbed the “climate liability cases” or “climate deception cases.” Just a few weeks ago, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a petition dealing with the issue of whether or not these climate deception cases should be heard in state court …

Continue Reading
detail of white smoke polluted sky

How to Navigate the New 2022 Inflation Reduction Act Tracker Database

As reported in August 2022, the Inflation Reduction Act (“IRA”) is the United States’ largest (and most complex) commitment to investing in climate change to date. The 725-page law provides a number of clean-energy tax credits to qualifying companies and commits $370 billion in funds aimed at lowering energy costs and building up supply chains for everything from critical minerals to efficient electric appliances.

With so much information and different tax credit programs covered in the bill, it’s no wonder it was necessary to …

Continue Reading