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Post-Sandy Rebuilding for Resiliency: Lessons From Long Beach, New York

My small bungalow in Long Beach, New York, sits on a 60 by 40 foot plot of land one half block from the bay and one and a half blocks from the ocean. Long Beach is only two blocks wide in some parts of its west end. Hurricane Sandy required a gut...

Posted July 31, 2015    

Coal Miners, Extractive Industries, and a Sustainable Economy

The transition to a renewable economy may be a painful one, particularly in this era of aversion to active government. When New York City endured the difficult transition from a commercial and small manufacturing city to today's post-industrial...

Posted July 21, 2015    

Removing Toxic Electronics From New York City's Waste

While the dangers of climate change attract more attention than other environmental issues, the problems of waste and toxics also persist--and are worthy of attention and action. One of the fastest growing environmental problems of the past decade...

Posted July 17, 2015    

Sustainability Policy Is Taking Hold in China

Whenever I try to analyze China's sustainability policies I am mindful of the fact that I am far from an expert on China's history, culture, economy or politics. It is clear that China's policy context is complex and differs from the one we know...

Posted July 7, 2015    

Revising the Toxic Substances Out-of-Control Act

It is a good thing that America had a bipartisan environmental majority in the 1970s and 1980s or our air today would be unbreathable and our water would be undrinkable. Fortunately, laws governing air and water pollution, solid and hazardous waste...

Posted July 2, 2015    

The Centrality of Sustainability

Over the past half century, we have seen the environmental issue evolve from a fringe issue barely clinging to a spot on the American political agenda to the subject of a pope's encyclical. Presidents and prime ministers must now negotiate over...

Posted June 23, 2015    

How the Transition to Renewable Energy Could Come

While I do not believe that a carbon tax is practical or feasible and do not believe it is the "solution" to the problem of global warming, I do believe the transition to renewable energy is practical, feasible and necessary. We need to address the...

Posted June 16, 2015    

A Carbon Tax is Not Feasible or Practical

In a prominent editorial this past Sunday, the New York Times once again advocated the adoption of a carbon tax. While the theory of a carbon tax makes perfect sense, its lack of practicality makes it the unicorn of energy politics. It is an...

Posted June 10, 2015    

Sustainable Shipping and EPA's Truck Mileage Standards

Last week, as I sat in traffic heading to the beach, I looked up at Interstate 95 to see an endless line of huge trucks gridlocked and waiting their turn to squeeze onto the George Washington Bridge. The road looked like a five-mile long freight...

Posted June 2, 2015    

The Right Wing's Endless War on Environmental Regulation

Since it seems impossible to update our environmental laws in this era of partisan poison, the Obama Administration has been working to use existing laws to update old rules. Updates like these were anticipated by many of our environmental laws,...

Posted May 27, 2015    

Lessons of the Move from Hybrids Back to SUVs

This past week, Lawrence Ulrich of the New York Times reported that lower gasoline prices were reducing the market for hybrid and electric cars. Ulrich observed that:Affordable gasoline is making hybrid car owners rethink their loyalty. With bargain...

Posted May 19, 2015    

A Reason to Be Optimistic: The New Generation of Sustainability Professionals

We are approaching the commencement season here at Columbia University and, in fact, at every American university. Graduation is a time to look back at where we've been and look ahead to where we are going. I live in an apartment owned by my...

Posted May 13, 2015