We jumped into January with students and faculty visiting DC to advocate for better federal laws on plastic pollution. In between classes, we've also been analyzing the Trump EPA's rollbacks on the Clean Air Act and prepping for events on China, climate justice, and more. Read on!

Cara Horowitz, co-executive director, Emmett Institute

With plastic waste becoming a global pollution crisis, clinical supervising attorney Julia Stein and students Charoula Melliou LL.M. ’19 and Divya Rao ’20 traveled to Washington, D.C. to brief representatives and staff members on legislation that could help reduce plastic pollution in oceans.

Their main message: Congress needs to look beyond recycling and develop legislation that attacks the problem at its source, by regulating single-use plastics at their point-of-contact with consumers.

Read an article about the trip and a report outlining ideas for federal legislation.

Photo credit: Julia Stein
2019 events and speaking engagements

Emmett Institute faculty are involved in several events in the next two months. We look forward to seeing you in person!

February 7, 2019; 12:00 p.m. - 1:15 p.m.
UCLA School of Law, Room 1357
In a lunchtime discussion, writer and China expert Isabel Hilton will discuss the implications of China's Belt and Road Initiative for global warming and other environmental trends. Alex Wang will lead the discussion. Details/RSVP.

February 8-9, 2019
UC Irvine
At a two-day event at UC Irvine, Bill McKibben, Elizabeth Kolbert, and Nathaniel Rich will join scientists and other environmental experts to discuss climate change impacts and the importance of continued global action. Cara Horowitz will speak on a panel addressing climate justice issues. Details/RSVP.

February 25, 2019; 4:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Harvard University Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies
This talk with Alex Wang will explore the symbolic aspects of Chinese environmental reform and potential implications, drawing on case studies in air pollution, climate change, and China’s Belt & Road Initiative. Details.

March 8, 2019; 8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
UCLA School of Law
Novel, radical ways of re-imagining the role of law and legal institutions in achieving racial justice and equality are urgent, and this conference will convene an interdisciplinary group of scholars to consider the place of human rights in this larger context. The Emmett Institute is co-sponsoring the conference. Details/RSVP.

March 28, 2019
Oakland, CA
This conference will focus on implementing the landmark clean energy legislation under Senate Bill 100 (de León, 2018), which sets a target of carbon-free electricity by 2045. The Emmett Institute is co-sponsoring the conference. Save the date.

Photo credit: Todd Cheney
When the EPA proposed a replacement for the Clean Power Plan last summer to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants, the agency also slipped in changes to New Source Review, a Clean Air Act program which mandates pre-construction environmental review and the installation of air pollution controls to offset emission increases when large stationary sources modify their equipment.
In an article for Environmental Law News , Meredith Hankins outlines why the Trump EPA’s New Source Review reform proposal is legally indefensible, and why environmental advocates should be on alert for other returns to failed George W. Bush-era reform attempts to hollow out the Clean Air Act. Read Hankins' blog post and the full article .

Photo credit: John Leszczynski, Flickr
Emmett Institute adds advanced environmental law clinic to curriculum

In spring 2019, five UCLA Law students will assist environmental clinic clients with ongoing advocacy projects in our new Advanced Environmental Law Clinic course. Led by supervising attorney Julia Stein , the class enables students who participated in the Frank G. Wells Environmental Law Clinic last fall to continue their practice-based work.

This spring, UCLA Law is offering 12 courses in environmental and administrative law that satisfy the requirements for our environmental law specialization .

UCLA Law also offers the Modes of Legal Inquiry program of elective mini-courses, including environmental law and policy-focused courses, for first-year law students. In Spring 2019, these courses include Responses to Climate Change When the Federal Government Retreats, taught by Ann Carlson; Introduction to Environmental Law Practice and Regulatory Lawyering , taught by Cara Horowitz; and Land Use, Planning, and Local Politics: The Past and Future of the American City , taught by Jonathan Zasloff.
January trivia corner

Getting people out of cars is crucial to reaching our state climate goals, Meredith Hankins writes in a recent blog post . Are ride-hailing companies helping?

Recent data supplied to UCLA Transportation by Lyft and Uber reveal how many rides per week ordered by UCLA students never leave campus.

Can you guess the number?

Send your answers to quizmaster Daniel Melling, melling@law.ucla.edu for a chance to win an Emmett Institute notebook!

Last month's trivia asked what is the largest city in the United States to run 100 percent on renewable electricity. Congratulations to Susan Di Giulio for her correct answer: Georgetown, Texas! Read Harjot Kaur's blog post to learn more.

Improving the energy performance of existing buildings will help California achieve its efficiency and greenhouse gas emission goals. But owners of low-income, multifamily buildings face obstacles, including difficult access to capital, complex financing arrangements, and competing renovation needs. Residents in these buildings also experience a "split incentive" problem that limits owners' financial interest in upgrades that primarily reduce residents' utility bills.

A new policy brief identifies policy solutions to increase access to energy efficiency incentives and unlock environmental, financial, and quality-of-life benefits for owners and residents alike. A full-length report will be released later this year. Read the brief.

  • Ann Carlson looks into the EPA's curious decision to revise agency analysis underlying regulations on mercury and other toxic emissions from power plants.
  • Jesse Reynolds critiques the Global Pact for the Environment, a proposed international environmental agreement.
  • Jim Salzman analyzes Japan's decision to quit the International Whaling Commission.
  • Julia Stein assesses how the Trump administration's proposed rollback of Waters of the United States might impact California.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
About the Emmett Institute
The Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment is the country's leading law school center focused on climate change and other critical environmental issues. Founded in 2008 with a generous gift from Dan A. Emmett and his family, the Institute works across disciplines to develop and promote research and policy tools useful to decision makers locally, statewide, nationally and beyond. Our Institute serves as a premier source of environmental legal scholarship, nonpartisan expertise, policy analysis and training.   Learn more.