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.
In the News
People Should Drink Way More Recycled Wastewater
(10/18/21) Michael Kiparsky in Wired
Corporations are pledging to be ‘water positive’. What does that mean?
(10/14/21) Michael Kiparsky in The Guardian
California bullet train’s latest woe: Will it be high speed?
(10/13/21) Ethan Elkind in AP News
Newsom tours SoCal oil spill that may have been caused by ship’s anchor
(10/6/21) Ethan Elkind in KTVU
Equity is key to resilience — three ways make it a priority
(9/20/21) Louise Bedsworth in The Hill
See our complete list of media mentions here.
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.
Sustainable Drive, Sustainable Supply: Priorities to Improve the Electric Vehicle Battery Supply Chain
The global transition from fossil fuel-powered vehicles to battery electric vehicles (EVs) will require the production of hundreds of millions of batteries. This massive deployment frequently raises questions from the general public and critics alike about the sustainability of the battery supply chain, from mining impacts to vehicle carbon emissions.
To address these questions, CLEE and the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI) are conducting a stakeholder-led research initiative focused on identifying strategies to improve sustainability and governance across the EV battery supply chain. The new report “Sustainable Drive, Sustainable Supply: Priorities to Improve the Electric Vehicle Battery Supply Chain” identifies key challenges and possible responses that industry, government and nonprofit leaders could take to ensure battery supply chain sustainability.
California’s electrical grid is both at the core of the state’s aggressive decarbonization goals—with targets of 60 percent renewable power by 2030 and 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2045—and a major source of community vulnerability. Technologies like distributed renewable generation, microgrids, energy storage, building energy management, and vehicle-grid integration will be essential to promote community safety and resilience while advancing the effort to decarbonize the grid. But these investments will require significant policy and financial support to achieve these dual state goals over the coming decade.
To address this need, CLEE and the Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at UCLA Law convened a group of California state energy regulators, local government leaders, grid experts, and clean energy advocates for a convening on California’s electrical grid of the future. Our report, Clean and Resilient, is based on this expert group’s findings.
CLIMATE & ENERGY
- 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)
- Clean and Resilient: Policy Solutions for California’s Grid of the Future (June 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)