UCLA School of Law and research partners have published a series of policy papers on how climate change will create opportunities for specific sectors of the business community, and how policymakers can facilitate those opportunities. Each policy paper results from one-day workshop discussions that include representatives from key business, academic, and policy sectors of the affected industries.
The workshops and resulting policy papers are sponsored by Bank of America and produced by a partnership of UCLA School of Law’s Environmental Law Center & Emmett Center on Climate Change and the Environment and the UC Berkeley School of Law’s Center for Law, Energy & the Environment.
Ethan Elkind is the primary organizer and researcher for the workshops and policy papers. He has a joint appointment at UCLA School of Law and the UC Berkeley School of Law, and has taught in the UCLA Law School’s Frank Wells Environmental Law Clinic. His background is in the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), climate change law, environmental justice, and other environmental law topics.
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Ethan Elkind, Bank of America Climate Policy Associate, describes the purposes and accomplishments of the Initiative.
California is on pace to meet its goal
of securing 33 percent of the state’s electricity from renewable sources like
solar and wind by 2020. But energy experts report that the in-state
market for renewable energy will lose momentum without new policies to
encourage deployment beyond 2020. To help spur growth, our twelfth report
in this series recommends a new renewable energy target for 2030 that accounts
for greenhouse gas emissions and tracks the state's long-term climate change
goal. To achieve this outcome, policy makers will need to plan for
renewable energy deployment to occur in the most efficient and cost-effective
manner and to provide incentives to help realize this vision.
California will begin construction of a proposed high speed rail system in the San Joaquin Valley in 2013, which will ultimately connect to Los Angeles and San Francisco. If implemented poorly, however, the system could lead to unchecked development in the Valley that could increase traffic, exacerbate the loss of farmland, and generate more air pollution. To avoid this outcome, our eleventh paper in this series recommends a Valley-wide collaborative to create a plan for economic growth and environmental preservation around the high speed rail network, support for local planning and mitigation efforts to implement it, and new financing mechanisms to catalyze private investment in station-connected development.
California will need long term, mass consumer adoption of electric vehicles to meet the state's renewable energy and greenhouse gas goals. This deployment will also boost the state's economy with domestically produced fuel (in the form of electricity) and California-based electric vehicle companies and suppliers. To realize this long-term vision, our tenth paper in this series recommends an industry and policy-maker coordinated education and outreach campaign about the consumer benefits of electric vehicle technology, reduced taxes and fees to lower the upfront cost of the vehicles, and a well-planned and coordinate public charging infrastructure.
California will need to steer the development of large-scale renewable energy facilities on agricultural land toward lands that do not deplete the state's prime agricultural and biological resources. Key policy recommendations contained in the report include the development of criteria for the most suitable agricultural lands for renewable energy deployment, expedited environmental review and endangered species permitting for projects on these lands, and coordinated state and local land use planning and transmission investments to encourage development on these sites.
Our eighth paper of this series looks to how expansion of public transit could benefit California's environment, economy, and quality of life. It identifies three barriers to such expansion: legal barriers to raising transit revenue, negative perceptions of transit, and unsupportive land use policies. The paper recommends expansion of existing transit revenue schemes, a reduction to 55% for voter approval of transit funding, publication of data on the economic benefits of public transit, and development of supportive land use policies.
In our seventh paper of this series, we examine the connection between water use and energy use. California's annual water consumption requires 20 percent of California's electricity and emits more than 100 million metric tons of CO2-equivalent gases. Barriers to urban water conservation include lack of financial incentives, insufficient data on consumption levels, lack of consumer awareness, and lack of water efficiency funding. This paper discusses short- and long-term measures that California should implement to overcome these barriers.
In this report, we look at policies that California and other decision-makers can develop to expand the amount of energy storage capacity in the state in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through cleaner electricity production. Energy storage faces challenges in regulation, cost, scale and lack of awareness. Yet California must invest in energy storage technology, in order to take advantage of the ability of energy storage to even out electricity supply, ensure stability and quality of electricity, and time-shift the use of energy to reduce reliance on "peaker" plants.
Plan for the Future
looks how California can improve land-use planning to meet the
increasing demand for sustainable development and the state's greenhouse
gas reduction goals. Three key barriers to local government action are
discussed—lack of political will, scarce fiscal resources devoted to
planning sustainable development, and lack of technical assistance—and
solutions are proposed. Solutions include: public outreach campaigns;
better use of available funding sources; and use of expertise and best
practices from other planning jurisdictions.
Energy addresses the critical need to provide incentives to make
existing buildings more energy-efficient. Retrofitting existing
buildings could provide residential households with $400 to $500 in
annual savings, while creating new construction jobs and benefitting
businesses even more. Small businesses and residences present the best
opportunities for retrofits. Local and state financing programs, such as
PACE, along with strong licensing standards and consumer awareness campaigns, will provide the necessary incentives.
recommend best practices for our agricultural industry to remain
sustainable and to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions in the coming
years. Four barriers to such reductions are identified: lack of research
into reduction technologies and best practices; insufficient financing;
regulatory conflicts; and lack of awareness of existing opportunities
for reduction of emissions. Both short- and long-term solutions are
proposed that will assist farmers, ranchers, and agricultural industry
leaders, as well as local, state and federal governments.
Our Backyard provides recommendations for overcoming obstacles to
widespread adoption of distributed renewable energy generation. We
identify four barriers to decentralized renewable energy production:
lack of predictable and adequate financing; uncertain permitting and
regulatory programs; lack of education and outreach; and split
incentives of landlords versus tenants. We propose short and long-term
solutions at multiple policy levels, from federal and state governments
to local utilities and industry leaders.
report provides recommendations designed to encourage infill
development that will improve quality of life and make our cities more
sustainable and less dependent on fossil fuels. We offer a comprehensive
blueprint for sustainable development that policy makers and industry
leaders can reference for immediate and longer-term actions. Most
critically, we recommend that local governments develop comprehensive
neighborhood plans for sustainable development, with the support of
state and federal leaders.
Watch this video to see a lunchtime presentation in Sacramento, California, on the future of renewable energy in California. The event took place on May 23, 2011 and featured a keynote address by Ken Alex, Senior Advisor to Governor Brown and Director, Office of Planning and Research. In addition, a panel presentation included:
Getting to 33%: Policies to Help California Meet the 2020 Renewable Portfolio Standard
Obadiah Bartholomy, Sacramento Municipal Utilities District
Joe Desmond, Ice Energy (now with BrightSource Energy); former California Energy Commission chair
- Manal Yamout, Special Advisor to Governor Brown on Renewable Energy (now with NextEra Energy Resources)
Saving Public Transit: Strategies for an Era of Shrinking Budget
Public transit in California and the nation—including the shuttles, buses, and passenger rail that serve our communities—has been battered by recession and dwindling public sector budgets. At the same time, ridership in many areas has spiked. This conference highlighted the challenges facing transit and exploredsolutions to overcome them and develop a world-class transit system.
View the entire conference here.
Meea Kang, President of the California Infill Builders Association and Principal at Domus Development, discusses best practices for local governments and infill development.
Mott Smith, Principal of Civic Enterprise Associates and member of the California Infill Builders Association, discusses the importance of neighborhood design around transit stations.
Stuart Cohen, Executive Director of TransForm, promotes local government policies to improve public transit.
Judi Masuda, Transportation Demand Programs Manager at the City of Santa Monica, explains how technology can improve public transit.
Gloria Ohland, Policy and Communications Director for Move LA,
describes innovative transit financing options.
Energy Efficiency Upgrades
Cisco DeVries, President of Renewable Funding, highlights policies to promote energy efficiency upgrades for homes and businesses.
Danny Kennedy, founder and CEO of Sungevity, discusses policies to encourage residential solar installations.