Danielle Spiegel-Feld

Rapid Research and Assessment on COVID-19 and Climate in New York City

In May 2020, the New York City (NYC) Mayor’s Office of Climate Resiliency (MOCR) began convening bi-weekly discussions, called the Rapid Research and Assessment (RRA) Series, between City staff and external experts in science, policy, design, engineering, communications, and planning. The goal was to rapidly develop authoritative, actionable information to help integrate resiliency into the …

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The Urban Environmental Renaissance

City governments were an important source of environmental protection in the United States from the 1800s until well into the 1900s. However, since Congress passed a series of landmark environmental statutes in the 1970s, scholars have primarily equated environmental law with federal law. To the extent that scholars consider subnational sources of environmental law, they …

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Reforming CEQR: Improving Mitigation Under the City Environmental Quality Review Process

The City Environmental Quality Review (CEQR) is the process by which agencies in the City of New York evaluate their discretionary actions for environmental effects. As an extension of the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA), it imposes a substantive mandate on agencies to “act and choose alternatives” which minimize or avoid significant …

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Cities as Global Environmental Actors: The Case of Marine Plastics

As the impacts of marine plastic pollution become ever more apparent, a number of states have begun calling for the development of a new international agreement to address the problem. This essay considers which jurisdictional entities should be engaged in the drafting of such an agreement if one should materialize. While nation states have traditionally …

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The Tokyo Emissions Trading Scheme: Lessons from a Pioneering Jurisdiction

In 2010, Tokyo launched a pioneering cap- and-trade program for its buildings known as the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Emissions Trading System (ETS). The Tokyo ETS was innovative both for the scope of sources covered – industrial factories, large public buildings, educational institutions, and large commercial buildings – and for being the first local-level ETS in …

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Megaregulation Contested: Global Economic Ordering After TPP

The Japan-led Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPPA) of 2018 is the most far-reaching ‘megaregional’ economic agreement in force, with several major countries beyond its eleven negotiating countries also interested. Still bearing the stamp of the original US involvement before the Trump-era reversal, TPP is the first instance of ‘megaregulation’: a demanding combination of inter-state economic ordering and …

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Crain’s New York Business: Let Buildings Trade to Meet Carbon Mandate

By: Danielle Spiegel-Feld and Richard B. Stewart The landmark building-efficiency legislation passed by the City Council this month will go a long way toward meeting the city’s climate goals. But it could impose major costs on owners of large buildings. With expensive retrofits and seven-figure fines looming, the city should allow the required emissions reductions …

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Clean and Resilient Power for Caribbean States

The Caribbean hurricanes of 2017 made clear that many of the islands’ power systems are woefully unprepared to withstand the increasingly severe weather events that climate change is generating. Perhaps no island exemplified this inadequacy better than Puerto Rico; one month after hurricane Maria barreled into the island, approximately eighty percent of its population was …

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