Solar panels by pgegreenenergy

The U.S. Supreme Court on February 9 threw a roadblock in the path of the most important piece of climate regulation that the United States has offered, possibly jeopardizing its ability to meet climate change goals set last December in Paris. The court’s move puts a stay on an Environmental Protection Agency plan to require electricity-generating power plants to cut carbon by 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.

The court’s conservative justices are so worried about agency overreach that they’re threatening the strongest national response the United States has to offer on the global issue of climate change.

While the Supreme Court ruling has been described as exceptional, the best way to describe the decision is backward-looking. Specifically, the justices were looking back to their 2015 case, Michigan v. Environmental Protection Agency, in which they ruled that the EPA, when enforcing the Clean Air Act, had not appropriately considered costs to power plants. This ruling came after many power plants had already invested in upgrading to lower emissions, however. It now seems that, anticipating that they will reach a similar decision on climate change goals, the conservative justices decided to run interference and save the coal industry some money—whatever the ultimate cost to the planet.

The ruling appears to anticipate continued meddling by the court in EPA efforts to control pollution. Justice Kagan’s dissent of the 2015 ruling described the decision as “micromanagement” and “a peculiarly blinkered way for a court to assess the lawfulness of an agency’s rulemaking.”

But despite this action, many states, including Virginia and Colorado, are moving ahead on their individual state-level clean power goals, as recommended by the national level plan.

In Colorado, county commissioner Jill Ryan explained, "It's really in our best interest to move forward. We have so many sunny days in Colorado that solar power just makes sense, and green industry is just starting to boom in Colorado." This movement is occurring in spite of the fact that Colorado’s Republican Attorney General Cynthia Coffman was one of the 27 mostly Republican state attorneys general in the suit against the E.P.A. (Colorado’s governor John Hickenlooper did not support her in joining the suit.)

Coal is going down, no matter how the Supreme Court rules. Companies, cities, universities, and states are all driving what Slate’s Daniel Gross describes as “coal nullification”—moving away from the dirty fuel. The industry’s market share, in the age of cheap natural gas and burgeoning wind and solar, is losing ground, falling from 38 percent in November 2013 to 29.2 percent in November 2015.

Furthermore, according to Yale Climate Opinion, 64 percent of the public supports strict CO2 limits on coal-fired power plants, including people hailing from states involved in the suit against the EPA.

Screen Shot 2016-02-12 at 11.25.24 AM.png

The fight for clean air and an appropriate response to C02-driven climate change is moving forward, whether the U.S. Supreme Court likes it or not. While the national-level ruling is disheartening, action at the local and state levels shows that progress is happening despite powerful energy interests which can afford to create legal roadblocks every step of the way.

Mrill Ingram is online media editor at The Progressive.

 

Section: 

Topics: 

Comments

version of Iran's Supreme Leader. They are totally political. They use constitution as an excuse for whatever they want to do to please the right wing nuts.
If memory serves me, I remember a section in that Constitution stating that if the current system is no longer working for the people, the people retain the power to change it. I wonder if it will ever come to that.
Three Worst Supreme Court Justices of All-Time – Alan Singer’s Latest Huffington Post http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alan-singer/three-worst-supreme-court_b_9261632.html

Add new comment

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.

More

On the front lines against the U.S.'s cozy relationship with one of the worst governments in the world.

"An idiot is running for President."

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).


Public School Shakedown

Progressive Media Project

Newsletter