Daubert Cases and Credible Science Issues
Climate Change—Science and Issues
Canadian national, provincial and local efforts on climate change discussed in new chapter of environmental law treatise. For those interested in how our northern neighbor is faring with climate change efforts, see: Benidickson, Jamie, Climate Change: Canadian Legal and Policy Responses (February 24, 2015). Benidickson, Jamie Environmental Law, 4th (Irwin Law, 2013). Available for download at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2569113
U.S. Oil Companies and risks to facilities due to sea level risks and increased storms: The Union of Concerned Scientists has published a new report, Stormy Seas, Rising Risks about the vulnerability of U.S. based petroleum companies to rising sea levels and storms caused by changing climate conditions. The report is available at: http://www.ucsusa.org/sites/default/files/attach/2015/02/stormy-seas-rising-risks-ucs-2015.pdf
Other Science and Technology Issues
Toxic Release Inventory Update Issued. EPA issues 2013 Toxic Releases Inventory for over 650 chemicals reported to the agency under the Emergency Planned & Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA). The complete report is located at: http://www2.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-01/documents/2013-tri-national-analysis-complete_1.pdf.
Why Doubt Science? A new National Geographic article explores the sources of ever-increasing doubt about science and scientific “certainty.” As the author Joel Aschenbach writes: “We live in an age when all manner of scientific knowledge—from the safety of fluoride and vaccines to the reality of climate change—faces organized and often furious opposition. Empowered by their own sources of information and their own interpretations of research, doubters have declared war on the consensus of experts. There are so many of these controversies these days, you’d think a diabolical agency had put something in the water to make people argumentative. And there’s so much talk about the trend these days—in books, articles, and academic conferences—that science doubt itself has become a pop-culture meme. In the recent movie Interstellar, set in a futuristic, downtrodden America where NASA has been forced into hiding, school textbooks say the Apollo moon landings were faked.
In a sense all this is not surprising. Our lives are permeated by science and technology as never before. For many of us this new world is wondrous, comfortable, and rich in rewards—but also more complicated and sometimes unnerving. We now face risks we can’t easily analyze.” A complete version of this article is available at: http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2015/03/science-doubters/achenbach-text
Scientists Use Tree Ring Measurements to Show that California’s current Drought Is worst in over a Millennium: Scientists working at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute based in Cape Cod, Massachusetts and the University of Minnesota used data from California’s blue oak tree rings to measure in historic terms the severity of the current drought (2012-2014) is in the state. Their research concluded that California’s current drought ranks among the worst in some 1200 years. As one of the researchers put it: “ . . . [T]here is no doubt, that we are entering a new era where human-wrought changes to the climate system will become important for determining the severity of droughts and their consequences for coupled human and natural systems." A copy of the news release for this latest science research is available here.