Monday, April 02, 2007

Global Warming Win at the Supreme Court

The Environmental Protection Agency has the power to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles.

That was the 5-4 verdict of the US Supreme Court today earlier today in Washington, DC. For the past 4 years the Bush Administration and the EPA had insisted that they could not regulate co2 because its not a "pollutant". The Supreme Court disagreed.

Earthjustice led a coalition of states, municipalities, and environmental and public health groups in challenging EPA's inaction. Lead attorney Howard Fox's response was ecstatic with the ruling,

"Today is a great day for the environment. In one of the most important environmental cases of its history, the Supreme Court has reaffirmed what we have been saying all along: The Clean Air Act gives EPA authority to fight global warming. The EPA must act immediately and issue regulations that limit greenhouse gases from motor vehicles that contribute to global warming."

With the question of whether the EPA can regulate co2 over, the debate will now move to whether or not they should. The court refused to address that question; however, the Clean Air Act itself seems to provide a clear answer,

...the Clean Air Act provides that the EPA Administrator "shall" set emission standards for "any air pollutant" from new motor vehicles or new motor vehicle engines "which in his judgment cause, or contribute to, air pollution which may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare."

Global warming has now emerged as one of the greatest threats to public welfare we've yet faced. That combined with today's Supreme Court ruling and a Democrat party keen on pushing through climate change legislation may make it a matter of time before the EPA is forced to start doing its part in curbing greenhouse gas emissions.


Saskboy said...

I cringe when I hear someone starting down the "but CO2 is natural" argument. I have to remind them that so are the gases that come out of a volcano, but that doesn't make them good for our climate or nice to breathe in higher quantities.

It's a staple argument of Climate Change Denialists, to argue that CO2 isn't a pollutant.

Janis Mara said...

Along those lines: according to the blog It's Getting Hot In Here, Bob Lutz of General Motors made this remark about CO2:

“All of us standing here right now — anybody who exhales is polluting like mad,” Mr… Lutz said. “If we have CO2 limits, I think we should all contribute, and we’re all going to have to train ourselves to breathe fewer times per minute.”

Check it out at

Janis Mara