Emmett Institute Policy Reports

Emmett Institute faculty produce reports addressing current issues in environmental law and policy. See also our Pritzker Environmental Law and Policy Brief series. 

Analysis of the decision in Chevron U.S.A. Inc. v. County of Monterey et al. on local oil and gas phase out efforts

May 21, 2024 | Gabriel Greif

After the California Supreme Court ruled in 2023 that Monterey County could not enforce its voter-approved ban on new oil and gas wells, there has been a wave of threatened and actual litigation by the oil and gas industry against local ordinances seeking to constrain oil and gas development. This policy report explores the issue and concludes that legislative amendments to section 3106 or other provisions of the Public Resources Code could improve regulatory certainty, reduce the likelihood and potential costs of litigation, and prevent uneven application of the law amongst lower courts.

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Mitigating Emissions from California’s Dairies: Considering the Role of Anaerobic Digesters

January 18, 2024 | Ruthie Lazenby

This policy report analyzes five key issues related to California’s dairy digester policy: the emissions from and prevalence of different manure management practices, CARB’s life cycle analysis for transportation fuels from dairy biogas, dairy industry consolidation, the risk of emissions leakage in response to regulation of dairy methane, and California’s climate targets. 

View publication page. Download the report.

California Pension Funds: Strategies for Mitigation of Climate Risk

December 5, 2023 | Phil Angelides, Gabriel Greif, Cara Horowitz, Mary Nichols, and Julia Stein

As long horizon investors, the California Pension Funds have a duty to practice strong climate risk management. That requires transparency and accountability, concrete planning, and strong corporate governance. This policy paper points the way toward a true net-zero portfolio.

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State action needed to uproot structural racism from land use policies

April 14, 2023 | Ashley Werner, Daniel Carpenter-Gold, Gabriel Greif

This report by Leadership Counsel and UCLA’s Environmental Law Clinic reveals the major role that land use policy continues to play in perpetuating the poor environmental conditions and health disparities that face low-income communities and communities of color. Released during Earth Month, the "Concentrated Overburden" report offers 13 key recommendations for state lawmakers to end “the structural racism embedded in California’s patterns of inequitable land use policies.”

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Emissions Trading in California: Lessons for China

June 8, 2022 | Alex Wang, Daniel Carpenter-Gold, Siyi Shen, Andria So

This report seeks to introduce California’s experience in emissions trading to Chinese regulators and researchers in the context of broader debates over emissions trading. The report introduces California’s experience with two emissions trading systems (ETS): a statewide carbon ETS and the Los Angeles-area regional emissions trading system for SO2 and NOx, known as the Regional Clean Air Incentives Market (RECLAIM). This report seeks to move the discussion away from theoretical debates over instrument choice and toward practical questions of how to ensure that market measures can help, not hinder, achievement of climate goals. View publication page. Download PDF


Key Governance Issues in California’s Carbon Cap-and-Trade System

May 9, 2022 | Alex Wang, Daniel Carpenter-Gold, Andria So

This report describes and analyzes selected aspects of California’s statewide greenhouse gas cap-and-trade program, which went into effect in 2012. The system is one component of California’s overall strategy for achieving its state-wide greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets. As countries around the world consider the use of emissions trading, this analysis is intended to help regulators to increase environmental ambition, improve the integrity of emissions reductions, and take advantage of political and economic opportunities created by emissions trading. View publication page. Download PDF


Coordinated Governance of Air & Climate Pollutants: Lessons from the California Experience

August 20, 2020 | Alex Wang, David Pettit, Siyi Shen

This report offers a study of the coordinated governance of air and climate pollutants — with a focus on the California experience. The research initiative was carried out in collaboration with Chinese partners examining possibilities for air and climate co-control within China. Coordinated policies in China, where coal represents a large percentage of the energy mix, offer the promise of even greater traditional air pollutant and greenhouse gas co-benefits. Although the report is aimed at policymakers in China, it will be of interest to regulators and researchers in any jurisdiction looking to improve coordinated regulation. View publication page. Download PDF.


California Climate Risk

December 10, 2019 | Sean Hecht, Ted Lamm

To identify needs and opportunities to mitigate climate risks, California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara convened industry, policy, and research leaders at UCLA School of Law in July 2019 to discuss the intersection of climate change and insurance. This synthesis paper summarizes the key findings and next steps these leaders identified to better engage the insurance sector in addressing the most pressing climate risks facing California, and adds new material and analysis from the paper’s authors reflecting recent developments in the field.​ View publication page. Download PDF.


Governance on the Ground

March 20, 2019 | Timothy Malloy, John Froines, Andrea Hricko, Karla Vasquez, Mason Gamble

This publication evaluates the role of California's County Agricultural Commissioners in reducing toxic pesticide exposures. The report concludes that the CACs' permitting processes do not include meaningful evaluation of safer alternatives nor consideration of cumulative exposures. (In this report, "cumulative exposure" refers to exposures associated with simultaneous or sequential application of two or more materials at the same field or at adjacent fields.) The report offers proposals for change at the county and state level. View publication page. Download PDF.


Federal Actions to Address Marine Plastic Pollution

January 14, 2019 | Charoula Melliou, Divya Rao, Julia Stein

This briefing report provides recommendations for Congress to develop legislation that attacks the problem at its source by regulating single-use plastics at their point-of-contact with consumers. View publication page. Download PDF.


Zero-Emission Freight at Southern California’s Ports

August 28, 2018 | Ethan Elkind, Nat Logar

To address the challenges and policy solutions to achieve zero-emission freight at the Southern California ports, UCLA Law’s Emmett Institute on Climate and Environment and Berkeley Law’s Center for Law, Energy & the Environment (CLEE) hosted a conference at UCLA on June 8, 2018, Toward Zero-Emission Freight at Southern California’s Ports, sponsored by Bank of America. The speakers included leading representatives from vehicle manufacturers, the ports, state and local government, nonprofit advocates, and community groups. This policy brief summarizes the key challenges and promising solutions to overcome them, as identified by speakers at the conference. View publication page. Download PDF.


Exposure and Interaction

February 17, 2016 | Virginia Zaunbrecher, Dale Hattis, Ron Melnick, Susan Kegley, Timothy Malloy, John Froines

This report evaluates the possible cumulative health effects of three pesticides commonly used in California, and makes policy suggestions for implementing a framework for cumulative risk assessment that accounts for potential interactive effects, not just those occurring by the same mechanism of action. View publication page. Download PDF.


Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions Under the Clean Air Act

January 14, 2016 | Michael Burger, Ann Carlson, Michael B. Gerrard, Jayni Foley Hein, Jason A. Schwartz, Keith J. Benes

This report provides a legal analysis of the potential for creating an economy-wide, market-based program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This report is a collaboration among the Emmett Institute, the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School, and the Institute for Policy Integrity at New York University School of Law. View publication page. Download PDF.


The California REDD+ Experience

November 24, 2014 | Jesse Lueders, Cara Horowitz, Ann E. Carlson, Sean B. Hecht, Edward A. Parson

This report details the ongoing political history of California's initiative to include jurisdictional REDD+ offsets within the cap-and-trade system. View publication page. Download PDF.


Federal Actions to Address Plastic Marine Pollution

December 9, 2013 | Megan Herzog, Angela Howe, Thomas Oh, Jaimini Parekh

This briefing book describes how plastic litter poses a serious threat to the marine environment and imposes significant economic costs on governments and industries. View publication page. Download PDF.


Rules of the Game Recap

July 12, 2012 | Bowman Cutter, M. Rhead Enion, Ann Carlson, Cara Horowitz

In August 2011, the Emmett Center examined California's proposed cap-and-trade program. In this two-page recap, we review the program as adopted and find our conclusions still​ apply: the California Air Resources Board has designed a cap-and-trade program that should avoid gaming and market manipulation problems sometimes seen in other programs. View publication page. Download PDF.


Looking Up: How Green Roofs and Cool Roofs Can Reduce Energy Use, Address Climate Change, and Protect Water Resources in Southern California

June 18, 2012 | Cara Horowitz

A study from the Emmett Center and ​NRDC analyzes the benefits of smart roofing options for Southern California. Looking Up concludes that green roofs and cool roofs would save energy and money, reduce global warming pollution, and relieve stress on California’s limited fresh water supply. Coauthored by Cara Horowitz, the study quantifies these benefits and makes policy recommendations for promoting smart roofs.​​ View publication page. Download PDF.


Vision 2012 LA

October 10, 2012 | Cara Horowitz, Megan M. Herzog, Sean B. Hecht, Katie Mika, Mark Gold, Xiao Zhang

This report provides the first comprehensive environmental sustainability plan for the city of Los Angeles, addressing all the major impacts the city has on the environment — from energy, air and water to environmental justice and the green economy. View publication page. Download PDF.


Looking Up

June 18, 2012 | Cara Horowitz

This study, published in partnership with the Emmett Institute and NRDC, analyzes the benefits of smart roofing options for Southern California. View publication page. Download PDF.


Spending California's Cap-and-Trade Revenue: Understanding the Sinclair Paint Risk Spectrum

March 30, 2012 | Ann Carlson, Cara Horowitz, M. Rhead Enion, Sean B. Hecht

This paper assesses legal constraints on AB 32 auction revenue allocation that derive from the statute itself or from California’s constitutional restrictions on the use of regulatory fees (embodied in Proposition 13). View publication page. Download PDF.


Rules of the Game

August 1, 2011 | Bowman Cutter, M. Rhead Enion, Ann Carlson, Cara Horowitz

This paper assesses the adequacy of the measures that have been proposed by the California Air Resources Board to limit risks of market manipulation and rules violations in its greenhouse gas emissions trading program. View publication page. Download PDF.


Paying for Pollution

October 26, 2010 | Cara Horowitz, M. Rhead Enion, Sean B. Hecht

This report considers the potential effect of Proposition 26, which appears on the November 2, 2010 California ballot, on the state’s environmental and public health protections. View publication page. Download PDF.


Background Information on Proposition 23 and California's Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32)

October 21, 2010

​This brochure presents background information on Proposition 23 and California's Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32).​ View publication page. Download PDF.


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