Center for Law, Energy & the Environment

Congratulating our 2019 E&E Certificate Recipients
2019 Environmental Awards Banquet
Thank you to all who attended our banquet celebrating environmental leadership.

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

Improving the energy performance of existing buildings will be key to achieving California’s efficiency and greenhouse gas emission goals. But owners and residents of low-income, multifamily buildings face some of the greatest obstacles, including difficult access to capital, complex financing arrangements, competing renovation needs, and a split incentive problem that limits owners’ financial interest in upgrades that primarily reduce residents’ utility bills.

To address these challenges, UC Berkeley and UCLA Schools of Law convened two stakeholder groups to identify policy solutions to address key barriers, increase access to energy efficiency incentives, and unlock environmental, financial, and quality-of-life benefits for owners and residents alike. The law schools are now releasing a policy report, Low Income, High Efficiency that details the solutions developed in these convenings.


In the News

Critics Say Trump Administration Is Weakening Endangered Species Act
(8/17/19) 
Holly Doremus quoted in NPR

Homeowners Are Increasingly Relying on Last-Resort Fire Insurance Plan 
(8/14/19) Dave Jones quoted in the Voice of San Diego 

SMART could go broke by 2024, analyst tells board
(8/10/19) Ethan Elkind quoted in the Marin Independent Journal

Major US insurer stops investing in or insuring coal
(8/9/19) Dave Jones writes in Environmental Finance

New IPCC Report Shows How Our Abuse of Land Drives Climate Change
(8/8/19) Michael Kiparsky quoted in Wired

California Struggles to Sprawl in an Environmentally Responsible Way
(8/6/19) Ethan Elkind quoted in Bloomberg Businessweek

See our complete list of media mentions here.


June 2019

Low Income, High Efficiency: Policies to Expand Low-Income Multifamily Energy Savings Retrofits

Improving the energy performance of existing buildings will be key to achieving California’s efficiency and greenhouse gas emission goals. But owners and residents of low-income, multifamily buildings face some of the greatest obstacles, including difficult access to capital, complex financing arrangements, competing renovation needs, and a split incentive problem that limits owners’ financial interest in upgrades that primarily reduce residents’ utility bills.

To address these challenges, UC Berkeley and UCLA Schools of Law convened two stakeholder groups to identify policy solutions to address key barriers, increase access to energy efficiency incentives, and unlock environmental, financial, and quality-of-life benefits for owners and residents alike. The law schools are now releasing a policy report, Low Income, High Efficiency that details the solutions developed in these convenings.


JUNE 2019

POLICY BRIEF: ENHANCING LOCAL LAND USE DATA

As California’s housing affordability crisis persists, understanding which laws or regulations might impede housing construction in high-cost areas is of vital importance. Entitlement data is necessary to inform how local and state land use regulatory tools are being applied in practice and to identify which types of proposed housing developments tend to move faster or slower through the planning review process. Analysis of entitlement data can identify issues of inequity or inefficiency in the first step of the residential development process.

This policy brief details what our research team has learned about current data accessibility and provides recommendations on how to improve local data reporting and data maintenance to facilitate compliance with state housing laws and long-term planning strategies.


March 2019

Insuring California in a Changing Climate: Adapting the Industry to New Needs, Risks, and Opportunities

Climate change poses significant risks to the insurance industry, even as the industry has the opportunity to help California residents and businesses mitigate their own risks. As disaster events become more common and complex, markets transition away from fossil fuels, and climate litigation accelerates, the industry will need to adapt rapidly while Californians will need continued access to robust protection. Our new symposium brief highlights the key concerns and top policy and market solutions available to protect insurers and consumers alike.


February 2019

Examining the Local Land Use Entitlement Process in California to Inform Policy and Process

California’s housing affordability crisis has rightly received a great deal of attention by state lawmakers, the press, academics, and ordinary Californians. To better understand the legal mechanisms behind housing development, this phased research project joins legal research with qualitative research methods to examine land-use entitlement processes in selected high cost cities over a four-year period (2014-2017). This work explores the obstacles to increasing infill development—a necessary strategy to address the housing supply crisis while being sensitive to health and environmental concerns.


January 2019

Policy Brief: Low-Income Multifamily Energy Savings Retrofits: Solutions to Increase Access to Incentives and Unlock Benefits 

Improving the energy performance of existing buildings will be key to achieving California’s efficiency and greenhouse gas emission goals. But owners of low-income, multifamily buildings face some of the greatest obstacles, including difficult access to capital, complex financing arrangements, and competing renovation needs. While California’s energy regulators and electric utilities fund and operate a number of incentive and rebate programs, structural barriers have hampered progress, including strict income qualification criteria, energy data opacity, and the complexity of combining multiple incentives into one project.

To address these challenges, UC Berkeley and UCLA Schools of Law are issuing a new policy brief based on two stakeholder convenings that identified policy solutions to address key barriers, increase access to energy efficiency incentives, and unlock environmental, financial, and quality-of-life benefits for owners and residents alike.


Recent Publications

CLIMATE & ENERGY

 

LAND USE

 

OCEANS