Center for Law, Energy & the Environment

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.

New Report

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.

In the News

COVID-19 may complicate reform for EV minerals — report
(7/28/20) Patrick Heller quoted in E&E News

California’s looming wildfire threat requires a cleaner, more resilient electric grid
(7/19/20) Ted Lamm and Ethan Elkind write in CalMatters

As political stars align, billions more set to fund national parks
Holly Doremus quoted in the LA Times

Challenges await after California zero-emissions truck rule
Ted Lamm quoted in Callaway Climate Insights

US Supreme Court’s rulings on gays, immigrants benefit environmental cases
Ted Lamm quoted in the San Francisco Chronicle

California Officials Say Requiring Electric Appliances In Buildings Inevitable
(6/24/20) Ken Alex quoted in

See our complete list of media mentions here.

June 2020

Clean and Resilient: Policy Solutions for California’s Grid of the Future

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.

April 2020

Legal Grounds: Law and Policy Options to Facilitate a Phase-out of Fossil Fuel Production in California

California is the seventh-largest oil producing state in the country, with a fossil fuel industry that is responsible for billions of dollars in state and local revenue and other economic activity each year. Yet continued oil and gas production contrasts with the state’s aggressive climate mitigation policies, while creating significant air and water pollution, particularly for disadvantaged communities in areas where much of the state’s drilling occurs.

As a result of these risks, many advocates and policymakers seek ways to enhance regulation of and eventually phase out oil and gas production in California. To provide legal options for policy makers to facilitate this transition, CLEE’s report Legal Grounds outlines steps California leaders could pursue on state- and privately-owned lands to achieve this reduction.

April 2020

Building a Sustainable Electric Vehicle Battery Supply Chain: Frequently Asked Questions

As California and other leading jurisdictions accelerate the transition to electric vehicles, questions are arising about the long-term sustainability of the battery supply chain. CLEE and the Natural Resource Governance Institute are collaborating on a research initiative to identify governance solutions to these questions. Our new FAQ document describes the structure of the supply chain and addresses key sustainability risks. A full policy report will follow later this year.

December 2019

California Climate Risk: Insurance-Based Approaches to Mitigation and Resilience 

As the impacts of climate change develop and intensify throughout California, the insurance sector will play an increasingly important role in the state’s response. Policymakers, industry  leaders, and local communities are all beginning to face a new paradigm of risk, resilience, and financial sustainability that insurers are uniquely positioned to help manage.

In July 2019, CLEE and UCLA Law’s Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, together with the California Department of Insurance and UN Environment’s Principles for Sustainable Insurance, convened a symposium to discuss this evolving new role for the insurance sector. Our new synthesis report, co-authored by UCLA’s Sean Hecht and CLEE’s Ted Lamm, summarizes the key findings and next steps identified at the symposium, and adds new material and analysis reflecting recent developments in the field.

November 2019

Electric Vehicles and Global Urban Adoption

California and France have taken leading steps in supporting the transition to electric vehicles (EVs), but each has substantial progress ahead to reach full adoption. What can these jurisdictions learn from each other’s successes and challenges to make EVs convenient and accessible to urban residents?

To explore these questions, speakers at our June 2019 international conference at UC Berkeley on electric vehicles and global urban adoption, co-sponsored by CentraleSupélec and Florence School of Regulation (FSR) in France, described lessons learned for electric vehicle deployment in France and California.

Based on the discussion, UC Berkeley Law’s Center for Law, Energy and the Environment (CLEE) released the symposium brief: Electric Vehicles and Global Urban Adoption: Policy Solutions from France and California.

Recent Publications




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