After strengthening the right to bear arms and after challenging the right to abort, the Supreme Court on Thursday severely limited the means available to the federal state to fight against greenhouse gases.
The very conservative Supreme Court of the United States on Thursday June 30 limited the means of the federal state to fight against greenhouse gases, a decision which could have a heavy impact on global warming.
Its six conservative judges ruled, against the advice of their three progressive colleagues, that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) could not enact general rules to regulate emissions from coal-fired power plants, which produce nearly 20% of electricity in the United States. “Putting a limit on carbon dioxide emissions at a level that would require a nationwide move away from coal to generate electricity could be a relevant solution to today’s crisis. But it’s not plausible that Congress gave the EPA the authority to pass such a measure.writes Judge John Roberts in this judgment.
“Today, the Court stripped the Environmental Protection Agency of the power Congress gave it to address “the most pressing problem of our time”“, denounces in a separate argument the magistrate Elena Kagan on behalf of the progressives, recalling that the six hottest years have been recorded during the last decade. The judgment was immediately welcomed by several Republican governors behind the legal proceedings, but judged “catastrophicby House Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
A White House spokesperson denounced “a devastating new ruling by the (Supreme) Court that aims to set our country back“, after the institution has weakened the power of environmental regulation of the federal state. US President Joe Biden “will not hesitate to use its powers under the law to protect public health and address the climate change crisis“, According to a short statement sent to the press.
The UN condemns this judgment
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres ruled Thursday through a spokesman that the US Supreme Court’s ruling marked a “retreatin the fight against the environmental crisis. “We can say that this is a setback in our fight against climate change, when we are already far behind in achieving the objectives of the Paris agreementadopted in 2015, notes the spokesperson in a press release. “But we must also remember that an emergency of such a global nature as climate change requires a global response, and that the actions of a single nation should not and cannot make or break whether or not we achieve our goals for the climate“.
Donald Trump, a hostile climatosceptic
After the about-face on abortion last week, this decision represents a new change of foot at the Supreme Court. In 2007, it had decided by a narrow majority that the EPA was competent to regulate the emissions of gases responsible for global warming, in the same way that it is charged by a law of the 1960s with limiting air pollution. But since then, former Republican President Donald Trump, a climatosceptic hostile to any binding measure for the industry, has brought three magistrates into the temple of American law, cementing his conservative majority (six judges out of nine). The file finds its source in an ambitious plan adopted in 2015 by Barack Obama to reduce CO2 emissions. This “Clean Power Plan“, whose implementation fell to the EPA, had been blocked before entering into force.
In 2019, Donald Trump published his own “rule for affordable clean energy“, limiting the scope of the EPA within each electricity production site, without authorizing it to remodel the entire network. A federal court having invalidated this draft, several conservative states and the coal industry asked the Supreme Court to intervene and clarify the powers of the EPA. The government of Democrat Joe Biden had made it known that it did not intend to resurrect Barack Obama’s plan and had asked the High Court to declare the file null and void.
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