(Washington) The very conservative United States Supreme Court on Thursday limited the state’s resources to combat greenhouse gases, a decision that could have serious repercussions on global warming.
Posted at 10:14 am
Its six conservative judges ruled, against the advice of their three progressive peers, that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) could not issue general rules regulating emissions from coal-fired power plants, which produce nearly 20% of the electricity in the United States.
“Limiting carbon emissions to levels that would require a nationwide shift away from coal for power generation could be a relevant solution to today’s crisis. But Congress is unlikely to have given EPA the authority to pass such a measure,” Judge John Roberts wrote in the decision.
“Today the court stripped the Environmental Protection Agency of the powers Congress gave it to address ‘the most pressing issue of our time,'” Judge Elena Kagan said in a separate argument on behalf of the progressives, recalling that the six hottest years have elapsed have been recorded in the last ten years.
The ruling was immediately welcomed by several Republican governors behind the trial, but called “catastrophic” by House Democrat-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
He represents another change of foot on the Supreme Court after last week’s abortion flip-flop.
In 2007, it narrowly ruled that the EPA is responsible for regulating emissions of gases responsible for global warming, just as it is tasked with curbing air pollution by a 1960s law.
But since then, former Republican President Donald Trump, a climate skeptic hostile to any binding action on the industry, has brought three judges into the temple of American law, cementing his conservative majority (six out of nine judges).
The file finds its source in an ambitious plan passed by Barack Obama in 2015 to reduce carbon emissions2. This Clean Power Plan, which the EPA was responsible for implementing, was blocked before it came into effect.
In 2019, Donald Trump issued his own “Affordable Clean Energy Rule,” which limited the scope of EPA’s actions within each power generation site without empowering them to redesign the entire network.
A federal court that invalidated that draft, several conservative states and the coal industry asked the Supreme Court to step in and clarify the EPA’s powers.
Democrat Joe Biden’s administration had announced that it had no intention of relaunching Barack Obama’s plan and asked the High Court to declare the file null and void.