Monday, April 02, 2007

Supreme Court rules against the Bush administration in the landmark global warming case of Massachusetts v. EPA.

Great news via Grist...

Word just came down that the Supreme Court has ruled against the Bush administration in the landmark global warming case of Massachusetts v. EPA. The ruling was 5-4, with conservatives dissenting and the crucial vote of Anthony Kennedy going with the non-conservatives.

The court addressed three questions:

Do states and environmental groups have standing to sue EPA?

Verdict: Yes.

(To show legal standing, states had to show they would be harmed by the excess global warming that would occur without EPA regulations. This was the real sticking point, and it was at the center of the conservative justices' dissent.)

Does the EPA have the right to regulate CO2 emissions as a pollutant under the Clean Air Act?

Verdict: Yes.

Can the EPA choose not to regulate CO2 emissions at its own discretion?

The court told EPA to ... reconsider its claim that it has that discretion. Said majority opinion writer Justice John Paul Stevens: "EPA has offered no reasoned explanation for its refusal to decide whether greenhouse gases cause or contribute to climate change." The court also offered EPA a laundry list of reasons why it should so regulate. In effect, the court put enormous pressure on EPA to regulate.

This is a huge, huge deal. The proximate effect is that California's pioneering efforts against climate change are safe from federal interference.

More broadly, the Supreme Court has put the weight of the judicial branch of the federal government behind the effort to fight global warming. There is no longer a shred of doubt, if there was any left, that federal action is inevitable.

Bush's isolation on this issue is now total. No one stands with him -- not Congress, not the business community, not the religious community, not the public at large, not the courts. Only James Inhofe. That's a grim assessment indeed.


Climate Change Action

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At 7:08 PM, Blogger Glenn Maltais said...

Certainly a step in the right direction.

However, with world oil production nearing peak capacity; energy demand and climate-change increasing unabated, man’s law of supply and demand, coupled with nature’s law of cause and effect, will inevitably bring about change. The only question is...for better or worse?

Will we as a nation have the will to act now; not talk, not posture or politic, but to act out of conscience endeavor to usher in a new alternative energy era? Or through indifference will we be acted upon by the environmental, economic and national security threats now gathering on the horizon?

Glenn Maltais


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