Welcome to Flatt Out Environmental, a new blog for the Houston Chronicle’s energy blog section online. The purpose of this blog is to explore policies and laws addressing the issue of climate change in the United States and around the world, leading up to the International Conference in Copenhagen in December, from which I will be blogging directly.  I will also comment occasionally on related energy and environmental issues.

My goal in this blog is to turn a critical eye towards information coming out about the problem of climate change, and the effectiveness of policies and laws to address this.  I will be relying on peer reviewed papers and studies and some of my own research in carbon trading, conducted with my colleagues Praveen Kumar and Craig Pirrong at the University of  Houston Bauer College of Business.  And of course I will be expressing my opinions as well, which I hope you will judge to be well informed.

While my views would tend towards “liberal” as that concept is defined in the environmental law context, my view of environmental protection is actually informed by the relatively conservative belief that everyone has a right to basic environmental protection, that everyone should pay their own way, and thus that polluters (and those of us who use products associated with polluting harm) should take into account the costs of pollution in making the decisions about how we allocate our resources.

I am happy to hear your opinions and respond when I can.  The issues surrounding energy extraction, utilization, and those effects on the environment, including climate change, are complex and important.  I hope that all of us can be better informed.

Victor B. Flatt

Tom & Elizabeth Taft Distinguished Professor of Environmental Law

UNC Chapel Hill School of Law

Distinguished Scholar of Carbon Markets and Carbon Trading

Global Environmental Management Institute

University of Houston Bauer College of Business