Political leaning influences city water policies as strongly as climate

Urban water conservation policies are reflecting the nation’s political polarization, with a new report demonstrating that a city’s water ordinances can be as much related to whether it leans left or right as to whether the climate is wet or dry. Vanderbilt University environmental researchers found Los Angeles ranks No. 1 for number and strength of policies, followed by six other left-leaning California cities along with Austin, Texas. It takes until San Antonio, Texas, at No.

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My book reviewed in Nature Climate Change

Time to Re-Think Solutions

For people working to address climate change, there is certainly no viable alternative to reading this book. Beyond Politics presses readers to think beyond their current conception of climate change solutions and, while laying out a reasoned private governance response accompanied by a realistic assessment of its limitations, provides the groundwork for future research and initiatives to reduce emissions.

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My Book Reviewed in Science Magazine

Faced with Government Inaction, Private Firms Emerge as Major Players in Climate Mitigation

In a thoughtful and far-ranging new book, Michael P. Vandenbergh and Jonathan M. Gilligan turn that view upside down. Both from Vanderbilt University—Vandenbergh a lawyer and Gilligan a professor of civil and environmental engineering—the authors help explain why firms from Coca-Cola to UPS are motivated to be leaders in cutting emissions. …

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Beyond Politics: Private industry needs to step up on climate change

When the United States pulled out of the Paris Climate Agreement, environmentalists were disappointed, but then businesses stepped up on their own to fight global warming. Two Vanderbilt experts say evidence shows that progress can continue to be made regardless of what the government is doing.

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NSF awards $13 million for research on how humans, environment interact

My new research project in Bangladesh, with Kimberly Rogers, Amanda Carrico, Katharine Donato, and Carol Wilson, was featured in the National Science Foundation’s announcement of this year’s grants for research on coupled human-natural systems.

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Private industry, better messaging can help overcome damage from Paris withdrawal

President Donald Trump’s announcement on Thursday that the U.S. will withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement phases out U.S. commitments to achieve carbon reduction targets and make financial contributions to slow climate change. It was a move environmentalists found disappointing, at best. But Vanderbilt University law and earth science professors contend initiatives that reduce carbon emissions from corporations and households can fill some of the gap. They point to the example of Walmart, which reduced carbon emissions worldwide by more than 20 million metric tons by focusing on efficiency in its global supply chain.

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Vanderbilt researchers studying Bangladesh for harbinger of climate change impact

Bangladesh uniquely interests U.S. climate change researchers for a pair of reasons: Its place on the globe makes it particularly vulnerable to devastating weather events, and it’s a predominantly Muslim nation that maintains a secular, pro-Western outlook.

Vanderbilt University’s Jonathan Gilligan, associate professor of earth and environmental sciences, Steven Goodbred, professor of earth and environmental sciences, Brooke Ackerly, professor of political science, and their team travel there frequently though funding from the Office of Naval Research, The National Science Foundation, and other agencies, using Bangladesh as a climate change harbinger for our own coastal regions. Particularly evident is the way land use mismanagement, similar to what happens here, has affected flooding.

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National assessment overstates public access to safe drinking water in Bangladesh

Far fewer people in Bangladesh have safe water than the state government has estimated, new research shows. In addition, many people who do not have access to safe drinking water are under the mistaken impression that their water is safe, drinkable, and clean.

According to the latest national assessment, 85 percent of the people in Bangladesh have access to safe drinking water. However, the new research uncovers two major problems that the national statistics don’t reflect.

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Gilligan, Vandenbergh win Morrison Prize for climate change article

Research examining the role that private governance can play in bypassing government gridlock on climate change has earned a pair of Vanderbilt University professors this year’s $10,000 Morrison Prize, which recognizes the most impactful sustainability-related legal academic article published in North America during the previous year.

Michael P. Vandenbergh and Jonathan Gilligan were recognized for their paper, “Beyond Gridlock,” which was published in the Columbia Journal of Environmental Law. They will present the paper at the Third Annual Sustainability Conference of American Legal Educators, held in May at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University. The Morrison Prize, which is administered through the O’Connor College of Law’s Program on Law and Sustainability, is named for its funder, Richard N. Morrison, co-founder of Arizona State’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy.

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