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Archive for January 2015

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Starting in the spring of 2015, the city of Berkeley, California, will require that warning labels featuring the following text be affixed to gas station pumps:

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has determined that consumption of energy products derived from fossil fuels contributes to climate change. To learn about how you can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, go to: www.cityofberkeley.info/fuel.

The Western States Petroleum Association has threatened to file suit, claiming that the labeling program imposes "onerous restrictions" on businesses and "compels speech in violation of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution."  
In this podcast, hear Myanna Dellinger and Dr. Wil Burns discuss with two Berkeley energy and community environment advisory commissioners why the city chose to require gas stations to use such labels, what the expected health-related and environmental effects will be in and beyond the San Francisco area, and why the city believes it is on a strong footing in relation to a potential lawsuit based on the requirement.
Background documentation for the labeling initiative can be found at in the Agenda of the Berkeley City Council meeting of Tuesday, November 18, 2014 .  The Western States Petroleum Association has not responded to our request for the Association’s view on the matter.  Should such comments be provided to us in the near future, they will be featured in an individual podcast here.

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Climate change... should it be solved by governments at various scales or by technological innovation? Or is there a third path Wil_Burns_cover200.jpginvolving both options?  In this podcast, Dr. Wil Burns discusses how climate geoengineering might find some valuable use as a temporary and limited method of alleviating the dire and urgent effects of climate change until a long-term solution to the underlying problem can be found.  Dr. Burns takes a pragmatic scientific approach to the somewhat controversial issue of geoengineering, but does not advocate it as an end-all, be-all solution.  After explaining the currently most promising geoengineering techniques, Dr. Burns discusses with Associate Professor of Law Myanna Dellinger the known socio-legal, political and corporate ramifications of looking to technology instead of supranational legal agreements for solutions to climate change.  

 
This is the inaugural podcast of the Committee on International Environmental Law of the American Branch of the International Law Association.   

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