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 Reports

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.

Upcoming Events

Mar 04

Environmental & Energy Career Fair

Monday, March 4, 2019 @ 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
May 09

Environmental & Energy Law Certificate Ceremony

Thursday, May 9, 2019 @ 10:00 am - 1:00 pm

See all events here.

In the News 

How viable is a plan to phase out three LA natural gas power plants?
(2/12/19) Ethan Elkind on 89.3KPCC

One Planet: What are the environmental impacts of biofuel production?
(2/11/19) Ethan Elkind on KALW

In-depth: A look at what BART could have been, what it still has potential to be
(2/11/19) Ethan Elkind quoted by ABC7 News

4 Key Issues In Kids’ Climate Suit At 9th Circ.
(2/4/19) Dan Farber quoted by Law360

One Planet: What will it take to keep fossil fuels in the ground?
(2/3/19) Ethan Elkind quoted by KALW

See our complete list of media mentions here.

December 2018

Streamlining Sustainability: Regulatory and Permitting Improvements to Achieve California’s Freight Goals

Freight is responsible for hundreds of thousands of jobs in California and feeds commerce and agriculture throughout the state and the entire nation. But the trains, trucks, aircraft, and ocean vessels that ship goods throughout California are responsible for a disproportionate amount of greenhouse gas emissions and harmful air pollutants.

California’s freight system leaders will need to maximize its efficiency to retain this position of prominence while protecting California residents and workers. The recommendations outlined in Streamlining Sustainability can help California achieve its ambitious emission reduction, public health, and economic competitiveness goals.

November 2018

Priority Policy Solutions for California’s Next Governor

Climate change will exacerbate the droughts, floods, and wildfires that Californians already regularly experience, making them even more extreme and unpredictable. Gavin Newsom, California’s next governor, must prepare for these inevitable disasters while minimizing the greenhouse gas emissions of a society of nearly 40 million people.

CLEE, together with Resources Legacy Fund (RLF), has prepared three sets of actions Governor-Elect Gavin Newsom could take immediately to address wildfire; drought, flood, and drinking water safety and affordability; and the stubbornly high carbon pollution from our transportation systems.

November 2018

A New Solar Landscape: Improving County-Level Landscape Planning for Utility-Scale Solar PV Facilities

Senate Bill 100 (de Leon, 2018) requires California’s major utilities to obtain 60 percent of their electric power from renewable sources by 2030 and 100 percent from carbon-free sources by 2045. California has met and exceeded its renewable energy targets to date, with over one-third of the utilities’ electricity coming from renewable sources.. 

CLEE’s new report, A New Solar Landscape, offers a suite of policy solutions for incentivizing and improving landscape-level planning to meet California’s solar development goals.

November 2018

Nell Green Nylen invited to join the County Drought Advisory Group (CDAG) 

The Department of Water Resources and the State Water Resources Control Board have created the CDAG pursuant to AB 1668 and SB 606 to provide input on implementation of water legislation.

October 2018

Implementing SB 743: An Analysis of Vehicle Miles Traveled Banking and Exchange Frameworks

California law requires developers of new projects, like apartment buildings, offices, and roads, to reduce the amount of overall traffic the projects generate. To facilitate compliance with this new requirement under Senate Bill 743 (Steinberg, 2013), some state and local leaders seek to create special “banks” or “exchanges” to allow developers to fund off-site projects that reduce driving miles, such as new bike lanes, transit, and busways. 

Our new report, Implementing SB 743, provides a comprehensive review of key considerations for local and regional agencies tasked with crafting these innovative mechanisms to reduce vehicle miles traveled (VMT) and overall emissions.   

September 2018

100% Zero: Solutions to Achieve Universal Zero-Emission Vehicle Adoption 

Some countries and states, including California, are contemplating or making plans for phase-outs or bans on the sale of new internal combustion engine passenger vehicles by a date certain. Such a phase-out would be critical to achieving long-term climate goals and improving public health.

In California, the state will eventually need full consumer adoption of zero-emission vehicles in order to achieve legislated long-term climate goals. To that end, Governor Brown set a goal of reaching five million zero emission vehicles (ZEVs) on California’s roadways by 2030, including 250,000 public chargers by 2025, and as of mid-2018, Californians were driving over 400,000 electric vehicles.

100% Zero identifies key challenges and solutions to achieving a scenario in which 100 percent of new vehicle sales are zero-emission, based on a convening of expert stakeholders.

Recent Publications