With graduation and Memorial Day behind us, summer is officially kicking off. But there's been no break for the Emmett Institute with a big conference, new research, legislative testimony, media interviews and more (OK, we did take off to see the Dodgers beat the Rockies!). 

We're happy to announce a generous gift from Dan Emmett and family to support our work. The gift includes a significant matching challenge - let me know if you'd like to learn more. Read on for more updates. 

- Cara Horowitz Co-executive director
UCLA Law environmental law students Hallie Kutak and Danika Desai celebrate graduation on May 11_ 2018.
UCLA Law environmental law students Hallie Kutak and Danika Desai celebrate graduation on May 11, 2018. 
Photo credit: Hallie Kutak

The donation, which builds on a decade of vital support from the foundation led by Dan and Rae Emmett, includes a direct gift of $1.8 million and a donor challenge: The foundation will match on a one-to-one basis gifts made by other donors up to an additional $2.5 million. 

"The Emmett Institute is addressing our unprecedented environmental challenges at a time when the federal government is retreating from its role as a responsible steward," Dan Emmett said. "Our goal is to see the institute continue to develop innovative solutions and produce advocates dedicated to advancing responsible environmental policy. We've offered the match because we believe other donors will see the need and are ready to help the cause."
2 new papers connect China's environmental policies to larger governance issues

Alex Wang_ assistant professor of law at UCLA Law discussed China_s environmental policy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies earlier this year.
Alex Wang, assistant professor of law at UCLA Law, discussed China's environmental policy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies earlier this year.  
Photo credit: CSIS, YouTube

After decades of limiting access to data on air, water and soil quality, China is cautiously embracing information disclosure, with environmental officials now requiring public disclosure of pollution data from more than 15,000 major emitters across the country. In  Ecology Law Quarterly ,  Alex Wang  explains why the Chinese government has opened data on pollution to the public and describes what these changes mean for people and officials on the ground.

China's ambitious environmental program is one of several major government reforms that aim to deliver results for people, but China's reform initiatives have an important governance function that observers have overlooked. I n Environmental Law , Wang argues that China's reform process influences public views of state legitimacy. The structure, styles and actions of large-scale governance reform allow China to signal legitimacy as a strong, high-performance state. The article explores the implications of this signaling in a context of significant information uncertainty and control.
Vehicle emissions fight continues

Ann CarlsonCara HorowitzSean Hecht and Meredith Hankins  submitted a comment letter supporting action by California Air Resources Board to maintain the current stringency of California's vehicle emission program in the face of attempted weakening at the federal level.

With EPA looking to revoke California's waiver to set stronger rules, Ann  Carlson told Bloomberg  that EPA's likely strategy, "strikes me as an extraordinarily weak legal argument."

Cara Horowitz  told Bloomberg  that EPA faces a formidable negotiator in Mary Nichols, chair of California Air Resources Board. "The fact that they could create these California emission regulations from whole cloth, and lobby to have them propagated nationwide, is a testimony to her judgment and power as a leader."
Conference addresses zero-emission freight at Southern California's ports

Laura Cortez, community organizer for East Yards Communities for Environmental Justice speaks on a panel addressing policy needs for zero-emission technologies.  
Photo credit: Emmett Institute

New zero-emission technologies for freight could radically reduce air pollution around Southern California's ports, but finance, policy and community engagement is needed to support the transition. A UCLA Law / Berkeley Law conference last week addressed questions around zero-emission freight. Thank you to all our speakers and the more than 150 attendees who participated! See photos and slides from the event (video will be posted soon).  

California faces a potential problem of overallocation of credits in its cap-and-trade program. Ann Carlson recently testified  before California's Joint Legislative Committee on Climate Change Policies on how the state government should respond.  Carlson was recently appointed by the California Assembly to the Independent Emissions Market Advisory Committee. 
Climate liability suits move forward

U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup has granted discovery in Oakland and San Francisco's cases against oil companies, which seek damages for climate impacts like sea-level rise. 

Ann Carlson told Public Radio International , "The evidence that Exxon, and the oil industry more generally, knew about climate change, changed their business plans as a result and then engaged in a campaign to dissuade the American public that climate change was happening and to try to persuade  regulators not to regulate greenhouse gas emissions is key to the cases."

"It would be pathbreaking for a court to decide that these cases could go forward,"  Carlson told The Verge .  Regardless of what Judge Alsup decides, Carlson says there are likely more appeals ahead, "we're just beginning."
Introducing Los Angeles sustainability law fellow

Garrett Lenahan '17 recently joined the Emmett Institute as a sustainability law fellow, working with law faculty on UCLA's Sustainable Los Angeles Grand Challenge, which aims to transition the city to 100 percent renewable energy, 100 percent local water and enhanced ecosystem health by 2050. 
Trivia corner

We know the Royal Wedding was a few weeks ago now, but we have a trivia question, and no, it doesn't involve the electric E-type Jaguar the happy couple drove off in. Here we go: 

The new Coat of Arms for the Duchess of Sussex features three specific references to California's environment. Without checking! - can you name all of them? 

Coat of Arms of Meghan_ Duchess of Sussex

First individual to send a correct answer to quizmaster and resident English person, Daniel Melling, melling@law.ucla.edu, will receive a new Emmett Institute notebook! 

Congratulations to our previous winner Nicholas Baltaxe '19 who identified the location of the California poppies as Paramount Ranch in the Santa Monica Mountains, seconds ahead of  Stephanie Oehler '19 and Eric Sezgen '19   

Emmett Institute bicycle commuters
Emmett Institute bicycle commuters (L to R): Daniel Melling, Meredith Hankins, Garrett Lenahan. 
Photo credit: Nat Logar 

During National Bike to Work week, Emmett staff shared ideas for bicycle commutes: Meredith Hankins says don't be afraid to take the whole lane on narrow roads;  Garrett Lenahan brings lights, lock and a mini-tire pump; and Daniel Melling says his ride along Ohio Ave. and up to campus is often faster than driving. 
For more Emmett Institute updates, follow us on Twitter @Emmett_UCLALaw and like our Facebook page. For insights on environmental law and policy from UCLA Law and Berkeley Law faculty, subscribe to our blog Legal Planet.