Workers examine the broken joists of the fourth story balcony that collapsed and killed six Irish students at the Library Gardens Apartments in Berkeley, California. Photograph: The New York Times

California lawmakers intend to legislate against construction practices which may have lead to the Berkeley balcony collapse last June that killed six(...)

California governor Jerry Brown, first lady Michelle Obama and former US president George W Bush, right at Nancy Reagan’s funeral in California. Photograph: Chris Carlson/AP Photo

US first lady Michelle Obama and representatives from nine former presidential families led a bipartisan gathering of politicians and celebrities in p(...)

Preserving the Amazon and other tropical rain forests by halting their destruction must be a key element of any agreement at COP21 because of their vi(...)

California Governor Jerry Brown: “Whatever we do to prevent a calamity is a cost-effective move.” Photograph: Reuters

Governor Jerry Brown of California has been one of the most colourful figures in US politics for at least 40 years. He trained as a Jesuit priest, but(...)

The advent of drone tech gives rise to a number of difficult legal questions

Late last month, the Irish Aviation Authority published the first draft of its proposed Small Unmanned Aircraft (Drones) and Rocket Order. The legisl(...)

Agriculture is the number one consumer of water in California. Photograph: Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

In April, the governor of California Jerry Brown imposed the state’s first obligatory water restrictions. The world’s fifth-largest economy is experie(...)

A worker in California installs a section of artificial lawn, a water-saving alternative to traditional lawns. Photograph: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

There are some advantages to living in the midst of one of the most severe droughts in Californian history. There’s the weather for a start; do(...)

California governor Jerry Brown ordered the state’s first mandatory water cuts on April 1st, the day when the annual measurement of the Sierra Nevada snowpack, which is critical to the state’s water supply, had nothing to measure. Photograph: Michael Nelson/EPA

Rarely has a measuring stick proven so effective at making a point. It was April Fool’s Day but this was no joke. Frank Gehrke, chief snow surveyor at(...)

An aerial view of a parched landscape in San Diego. College campuses, golf courses and other industrial and recreational facilities, as well as homeowners, have been ordered to ration water. Photograph: Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images

As his state faces the worst drought in its history, with mandatory water rationing for residents and fears that the agricultural sector will be dest(...)

 A dead citrus in Terra Bella. Governor Jerry Brown of California ordered mandatory water restrictions for the first time in California history on  saying that the state’s drought had reached near-crisis proportions after a winter that brought record-low snowfalls. Photograph: The New York Times/Monica Almeida

California governor Jerry Brown, in his most sweeping action to combat a devastating multi-year drought, ordered residents and businesses on Wednesday(...)