The Center for Law, Energy & the Environment (CLEE) channels the expertise of the Berkeley Law community – faculty, staff, and students – into pragmatic, creative policy solutions to critical environmental and energy challenges.
BLACK LIVES MATTER
A MOVEMENT NOT A MOMENT
The past year has starkly highlighted the systemic racism and racial injustice interwoven into the fabric of this country. We must not only condemn it; we must act to change it.
The university has a public interest mission; the legal profession is responsible for seeking justice; and our center and our program are focused on ensuring a sustainable world for all. Working at the intersection of those values, we must humbly look inside and examine if we are doing all we can to combat systemic racism, because the answer is almost certainly no. Yet we cannot successfully combat climate change and environmental degradation without addressing the inextricably linked roots and consequences of systemic racial injustice.
Because words without actions ring hollow, we are engaging in a process to develop a concrete action plan addressing our research, program, and curriculum. We will reach outside our organization for diverse input in order to finalize our action plan and move immediately to implementation.
Thursday, January 27, 2022
10:00 am – 11:00 pm
In the News
California’s Drought Reckoning Could Offer Lessons for the West
(1/11/22) Nell Green Nylen in The Pew Charitable Trusts and The Bakersfield Californian
Paper records and steel vaults: Can California water rights enter the digital age?
(12/27/21) Michael Kiparsky in the Los Angeles Times
Calif. law will turn banana peels into renewable energy
(12/20/21) Ken Alex in Energywire
Uncovering what really happened to the Los Angeles streetcar system
(12/3/21) Ethan Elkind in ABC7
Years of Delays, Billions in Overruns: The Dismal History of Big Infrastructure
(11/28/21) Ethan Elkind in the New York Times
Citing climate risks, California is denying fracking permits in droves
(11/23/21) Ken Alex in SF Chronicle
What’s in Store as Beijing Takes on Climate Change?
(11/22/21) Ken Alex in The Epoch Times
$1.2 trillion infrastructure bill could supercharge San Diego’s envisioned rail expansion
(11/15/21) Ethan Elkind in San Diego Union Tribune
See our complete list of media mentions here.
California is home to one of the largest economies in the world, and the state plays a direct role in this economy as a steward of assets, a regulator, a revenue generator and service provider, and a direct spender of funds on a range of infrastructure, goods, and services. In light of the risks that climate change poses to state industries and financial institutions, state lawmakers and experts have recently sought to increase knowledge of climate-related risks throughout the state economy. In two new policy notes, CLEE explores potential opportunities to develop climate risk disclosure policy through the lens of state procurement and bond issuance.
California’s complex water management challenges are growing and intensifying. Systemic stressors like the more frequent and severe droughts and floods driven by climate change are only making it harder to respond. Accordingly, California needs to dramatically improve the ability of local, regional, and State entities to make agile and effective water management decisions. We believe doing so will require enhanced understanding of our water resources and how they align with the needs of a range of agencies and stakeholders. Water rights data provide a crucial opportunity for advancing this understanding.
Through a multi-year process of research and engagement, we developed analytical background on how water rights data plays into water management on a broader scale, combined with legal and institutional analysis. Ultimately, we find that a modernized water rights data is feasible, affordable, and can increase clarity for better decision making. Our report, Piloting a Water Rights Information System for California, offers a vision and roadmap for making it a reality.
Offshore wind could become an essential piece of California’s renewable energy puzzle while delivering on multiple statewide goals, from tackling climate change and addressing environmental justice to building a just transition and unlocking new economic opportunities. But none of these desirable goals can happen without a robust and far-sighted planning process that includes Californians’ diverse interests.
CLEE’s new report, Envisioning Offshore Wind for California, provides an overview of the challenges and opportunities. The report suggests priority actions to ensure a comprehensive, strategic approach to this new-to-California industry. It builds from input provided during two workshops from a wide range of participants, including local governments, non-profit organizations, labor representatives, fishermen, renewable energy developers, and more. CLEE convened these workshops with the intent of catalyzing broad and open conversations around OSW and determining potential pathways for future state action.
To address these challenges, CLEE and our partners at UCLA Law’s Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment issued the new report, Seeding Capital.
The County retained CLEE to gather expert input and prepare recommendations for how to allocate these funds most efficiently and effectively. Considering the long-term and recurring nature of vegetation management, the diversity of County landscapes and ecosystems, and the scale of the need relative to the amount of funds, a range of strategies will be required to leverage the funds into long-term investments and ensure sustainable practices. CLEE convened a group of statewide experts and a group of County stakeholders to identify spending priorities. Our report, Priorities for Sonoma County’s Wildfire Settlement Vegetation Management Funds, outlines these priorities and offers specific strategies for the funds to achieve them.
California has enacted ambitious climate goals, including a statewide carbon neutrality target by 2045. While much of the required greenhouse gas reductions will come from clean technology and emission reduction programs, meeting these targets will necessitate new methods of actively removing carbon from the atmosphere and capturing difficult-to-mitigate emissions, including via technologies broadly known as engineered carbon removal. These processes — such as carbon capture and sequestration from industrial and fossil fuel facilities, biomass energy production with carbon capture, and direct air capture of atmospheric carbon — can complement nature-based solutions but are mostly still in the early development stages
In June 2020, the Berkeley Food Institute and UC Berkeley School of Law’s Center for Law, Energy & the Environment convened farmers, policy experts, advocates, investors, and other stakeholders in the farming community for a virtual roundtable on public-private solutions to advance regenerative agriculture. We agreed on the problem, yet our diverse perspectives necessitated discussion of the broad range of potential and existing solutions. From reforming crop insurance and promoting regenerative practices to implementing policies that prioritize equity, explore these recommendations and more in Redefining Value and Risk in Agriculture.
CLIMATE & ENERGY
- Policy Notes: Developing Climate Risk Policy for State Procurement and Bond Issuance (October 2021)
- Investing in Nature as a Climate Solution (June 2021)
- Priorities for Sonoma County’s Wildfire Settlement Vegetation Management Funds (March 2021)
- Data Access for a Decarbonized Grid (February 2021)
- Building towards Decarbonization (January 2021)
- Capturing Opportunity: Law and Policy Solutions to Accelerate Engineered Carbon Removal in California (December 2020)
- Redefining Value and Risk in Agriculture (December 2020)
- Insuring Extreme Heat Risks (December 2020)
- The California Roadmap (September 2020)
- Sustainable Drive, Sustainable Supply: Priorities to Improve the Electric Vehicle Battery Supply Chain (July 2020)
- Piloting a Water Rights Information System for California (July 2021)
- Civic Engagement and Water Data: How Can California Make Data Work for Decision Makers? (September 2020)
- Examining Regulation and Innovation in Municipal Wastewater (Jan 2020)
- Addressing Institutional Vulnerabilities in California’s Drought Water Allocation (Aug 2018)
- When is Groundwater Recharge a Beneficial Use of Surface Water in California? (Aug 2018)
- Learning from California’s Experience with Small Water System Consolidations (May 2018)
- Recharge Net Metering to Enhance Groundwater Sustainability (April 2018)
- Policy Brief: Enhancing Local Land Use Data (June 2019)
- Examining the Local Land Use Entitlement Process in California to Inform Policy and Process (Feb 2019)
- Getting it Right: Examining the Local Land Use Entitlement Process in California to Inform Policy and Process (Feb 2018)
- Right Type, Right Place: Assessing the Environmental and Economic Impacts of Infill Residential Development Through 2030 (Mar 2017)
- Envisioning Offshore Wind for California (June 2021)
- Oceans and Climate Change Governance, Ecology Law Quarterly (Sept 2018)
- Stress Testing the Law of the Sea: Dispute Resolution, Disasters & Emerging Challenges (Sept 2018)
- Ocean Law Debates: The 50-Year Legacy of Emerging Issues for the Years Ahead (Mar 2018)
- The Past, Present & Future of California’s Coastal Act: Overcoming Division to Comprehensively Manage the Coast (Aug 2017)