I'm not a fan of the current Supremes, but on environ stuff...hold the phone.
Ok, I think the Supremes has screwed the pooch w Roe v Wade. But on environmental stuff?
A quick history lesson. Dick Nixon did one great thing while he was in office. He created the EPA and passed the clean water act. The courts don't set policy to clean up the environment, our elected officials do. The recent EPA heads under Obama and now Biden have effectively moved regulating the environment into the area of executive orders. The court is right to limit what they can do without congress.
As for being unconcerned with climate change, it's not their job to be concerned or not. Thats up to elected folks.
Personally, I'm very concerned, but putting ridiculous constraints on American business, gutting our oil industry while China and India become the dominant polluters is stupid. What would be smart is following France's success and developing nuclear power (1000x better than wind turbines all over America).
The Supreme Court seems unconcerned with climate change.
The Supreme Court has made it harder for the country to fight the ravages of climate change.
In a 6-to-3 decision yesterday, the court limited the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to prevent power plants from releasing climate-warming pollution. The court ruled that Congress had not given the agency the authority to issue the broad regulations that many climate experts believe could make a major difference — the kind of regulations that many Biden administration officials would have liked to implement.
Today’s newsletter will walk you through what the decision means — and also clarify what it does not mean (because some of the early commentary exaggerated the decision’s meaning). The bottom line is that the ruling is significant, but it does not eliminate the Biden administration’s ability to reduce greenhouse gas pollution.
Amy Westervelt, a climate journalist, summarized the decision by writing: “Not good, but also not as bad as it could have been. It’s pretty narrow.” Romany Webb of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University called the ruling “a blow, but it is nowhere near the worst-case scenario.”
The trouble, many scientists say, is that climate change presents such an enormous threat to the world — and the need to reduce the pace of warming is so urgent — that any ruling that makes the task harder is worrisome. Extreme storms, heat waves, droughts and wildfires are already becoming more common. Some species are facing potential extinction. Glaciers are melting, and sea levels are rising.
Yet the U.S. has made only modest progress combating climate change through federal policy in recent years. The Trump administration largely denied the problem and reversed Obama administration policies intended to slow global warming. The Biden administration has failed to pass its ambitious climate agenda because of uniform Republican opposition and Democratic infighting. Now the Supreme Court has made the job more difficult, too.
What’s still possible
The Biden administration had hoped to issue a major rule requiring electric utilities to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, essentially forcing them to replace coal and gas-fired plants with clean forms of electricity, like wind, solar and nuclear. The justices ruled that when Congress passed the Clean Air Act in 1970, it did not intend to give the E.P.A. such broad authority.
The E.P.A. can still regulate greenhouse gases from vehicles.Kendrick Brinson for The New York Times
The E.P.A. can still regulate power plants after the ruling, but more narrowly than before: The agency can push power plants to become more efficient, for example. “The way to significantly reduce greenhouse emissions from power plants is to shut down the power plants — and replace them with something cleaner,” my colleague Coral Davenport said. “And that’s off the table.”
After yesterday, the E.P.A.’s most significant policy tools appear to involve other industries. The agency can still regulate greenhouse gases from vehicles, the nation’s largest source of such emissions — although the ruling and the potential for future lawsuits may make the agency more cautious than it otherwise would be.
On Twitter, Michael Gerrard, an environmental law expert at Columbia University, listed other ways that government agencies could continue to address climate change, including: federal rules applying to newly built power plants; federal rules on leakage from oil and gas production; state and local rules in many areas; and private sector efforts to become more energy efficient, often subsidized by the government.
“One battle is lost (unsurprisingly, given this Supreme Court),” Gerrard wrote, “but the war against climate change very much goes on.”
Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority opinion.T.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York Times
The ruling is the latest sign that the Republican Party is unconcerned about climate change. The six justices in the majority were all Republican appointees; the three dissenters were all Democratic appointees.
Adam Liptak, The Times’s Supreme Court correspondent, wrote: “Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., writing for the majority, only glancingly alluded to the harms caused by climate change. Justice Elena Kagan began her dissent with a long passage detailing the devastation the planet faces, including hurricanes, floods, famines, coastal erosion, mass migration and political crises.”
The math just got harder. This decision made it less likely that the U.S. would reach the climate targets that Biden has set. And if the U.S. misses its targets, the world will likely miss its target, as The Times’s Climate Forward newsletter explains. (Sign up here.)
Cities and states are trying to fill the gap. Local governments are accelerating their efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions, in some cases bridging partisan divides.
More lawsuits may be coming. Many of the plaintiffs from this climate case have brought a case trying to keep the E.P.A. from moving the nation toward a greater use of electric vehicles.
The ruling may matter beyond climate policy. Corporations in other industries will likely use this ruling to argue that some of their own regulations should also be blocked.