03 April 2007

Global Climate Change: Supreme Court Rules EPA Must Regulate Carbon

Reuters reports on the Supreme Court ruling that "a U.S. government agency has the power to regulate greenhouse gas emissions that spur global warming.

"By a 5-4 vote, the nation's highest court said the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 'has offered no reasoned explanation' for its refusal to regulate carbon dioxide and other emissions from new cars and trucks that contribute to climate change.

"The ruling in one of the most important environmental cases to reach the Supreme Court marked the first high court decision in a case involving global warming.

"President George W. Bush has opposed mandatory controls on greenhouse gases as harmful to the U.S. economy, and the administration has called for voluntary programs instead of regulation. The states and environmental groups that brought the lawsuit hailed the ruling.

"'As a result of today's landmark ruling, EPA can no longer hide behind the fiction that it lacks any regulatory authority to address the problem of global warming,' Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley said.

"'Today the nation's highest court has set the White House straight. Carbon dioxide is an air pollutant, and the Clean Air Act gives EPA the power to start cutting the pollution from new vehicles that is wreaking havoc with our climate,' said David Doniger of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

"Greenhouse gases occur naturally and also are emitted by cars, trucks and factories into the atmosphere. They can trap heat close to Earth's surface like the glass walls of a greenhouse."

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