Sooner or later, the courts will be in the path of Hurricane Harvey. The flood apocalypse could become Exhibit A in the legal argument that the courts have to act to prevent future disasters. Climate scientists do not focus on individual storms but their findings have been clear for decades: climate change will make hurricanes more intense and dramatically increase the chances of “500-year” floods happening in a city like Houston three years in a row.
Harvey has struck at a moment when judges across America are grappling with lawsuits over global warming. Will the courts intervene in a political system that denies climate change and impose cuts in carbon emissions? Will they make the fossil fuel industry liable for coastal flooding? Hurricane Harvey, a landmark event, might pave the way for a landmark decision that a stable climate is a fundamental right.
The people of Puerto Rico have no say at the moment in the future of their debt-ridden island. The price of surviving bankruptcy has been a surrender of sovereignty to a federal oversight board that will control every law and every budget for years to come. That’s the story behind headlines heralding an “escape from disaster” and “second chance.”
Agriculture’s biggest deal ever will leave farmers and consumers paying more for less, and could accelerate a potentially catastrophic decline in the diversity of what we plant and eat.A wave of Big Ag mergers is threatening to entrench a food system that reduces nature’s edible abundance to a handful of plants on your plate.