Non-Apple News: Supremes Go Green

In what can only be called stunning news, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 today that states and environmental groups can sue the EPA over its unwillingness to regulate greenhouse-gas-causing auto emissions.

Justices Scalia, Thomas, Alito, and Roberts have written a strongly-worded dissent that goes after the decision on both a policy and a scientific basis. The essence of their argument is that if Congress had intended the EPA to regulate carbon dioxide it would have said so, and that carbon dioxide is not an “air pollutant” and therefore doesn’t fall under the currently enacted EPA legislation. Further, Scalia et al., think the science is sufficiently uncertain that the EPA is justified in waiting to make a decision.

The majority disagreed, and ruled accordingly.

This is big, market-moving stuff, because while the EPA is not now required to regulate, it will be under immense pressure to do so. You will see a national standard be touted for greenhouse-gas emission, and the decision is also likely to take down the share prices of coal-reliant power plants.

Read the whole decision here. Read the auto industry response here.


  1. What a game-changer for the environment!
    As you point out, the Court doesn’t require EPA to regulate pollution – but hopefully this decision will add momentum toward meaningful national climate legislation.
    We need to
    cap greenhouse gas emissions
    , and we need to get started immediately. It’s a very big challenge but if Congress acts soon, we can do it.

  2. One other policy point worth highlighting is around the notion of “standing.” The conservative core of dissenters in this case were particularly upset by even the granting of standing to the States and environmentalists in this case. And it is one of Scalia’s major “projects” to limit what issues/matters/groups can even get an audience or review at the Supreme Court.
    In this case, a small part of me agrees with those conservatives that the courts should NOT be interpreters of how laws are to be implemented. If the Clean Air Act is vague on how and whether to cover carbon emissions, change or fix or re-write the law. Given our present day scientific knowledge on the impacts of carbon emissions and it’s relationship to global warming, perhaps it’s time…?