Environmental Law

  • Podcast icon

    Calif. port unveils plan to manufacture offshore wind turbines (05/10/2023)

    State law mandates that California switch to clean energy and achieve carbon neutrality by 2045. Offshore wind could play an important role, said Ethan Elkind, director of the climate program at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, because the power it generates is somewhat more constant than land-based wind or solar.

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    UN asked to investigate ‘human rights violations’ by Chemours (05/09/2023)

    The community action group Clean Cape Fear in North Carolina, US, has joined forces with the University of California Berkeley Environmental Law Clinic to formally request that the United Nations investigate multiple alleged human rights violations related to chemical manufacturer Chemours’ release of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from its Fayetteville plant along the lower Cape Fear river.

  • North Carolina residents urge UN to investigate toxic PFAS pollution (04/28/2023)

    If the UN human rights commission chooses to investigate, a special rapporteur would fact-check the allegations in the communication, then issue “pointed” allegation letters to regulators, Chemours and other culpable parties detailing problems and posing questions, said Claudia Polsky, director of UC Berkley Law Clinic.

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    Chemours Accused of Human Rights Violation at Chemical Plant (04/27/2023)

    “The Special Rapporteur can’t compel any action,” said Claudia Polsky, director of UC Berkeley’s Environmental Law Clinic. “But if he decides to investigate the allegations and recommends the companies or agencies take any of the requested actions, the public attention often spurs alleged offenders to respond publicly.”

  • SF Chronicle

    California enacts first-in-the-nation crackdown on pollution from trains (04/27/2023)

    “They’re the most aggressive (regulations) of their kind,” said UC Berkeley environmental law Professor Ethan Elkind. “There are previous (federal) regulations on locomotive emissions, but these will be the first to really push for zero-emission locomotives.”

  • SF Chronicle

    California’s push to ban natural gas hit a snag. Could it derail the entire effort? (04/22/2023)

    The court’s decision “is not obviously wrong,” said Dan Farber, an environmental law professor at UC Berkeley, who disagreed with the decision. “But I don’t think it’s crystal clear.”

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    Unleash the deep sea robots? A quandary as EV makers hunt for metals (04/05/2023)

    “Auto companies don’t want EV batteries associated with more destruction than they already have been,” said Ethan Elkind, director of the climate program at UC Berkeley’s Center for Law, Energy & the Environment. “There has already been a lot of negative publicity around the mining for these metals: human rights abuses, child labor, deaths from mines collapsing. You can imagine the risk with the deep sea. If ecological damage of these sensitive undersea areas comes to light after mining begins, they don’t want to be a part of it.”

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    Sustainable mining reform must be everything, everywhere, all at once (04/01/2023)

    “With coordinated global reform, we can fight climate change while mining as sustainably as possible,” writes Ethan Elkind, director of the Climate Program at Berkeley Law’s Center for Law, Energy and the Environment. “We simply do not have an alternative if we are serious about tackling the climate crisis in an equitable and humane way.”

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    In Transit: Self-Driving Taxis and Trucks Take the Wheel (03/29/2023)

    Ethan Elkind, director of the Climate Program at the Center for Law, Energy and the Environment, UC Berkeley School of Law discusses autonomous vehicles.

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    In California’s Central Valley, the Plan to Build More Solar Faces a Familiar Constraint: The Need for More Power Lines (03/26/2023)

    Ethan Elkinddirector of the Climate Program at the Center for Law, Energy and the Environment, UC Berkeley School of Law discusses plans for more solar in California’s San Joaquin Valley and the key barrier to building in the region.