Sunday, November 26, 2006

More on the Supremes and global warming

By Nancy Jane Moore

Today's Washington Post has an editorial emphasizing the importance of the global warming case -- Massachusetts v. EPA -- that will be argued at the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday.

I'm often frustrated by Post editorials, but this is one case where we agree: EPA should be regulating greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act as part of an overall plan to address human causes of climate change. The Post says:
The question of how to handle global warming is the chief environmental issue of our era. Yet the Environmental Protection Agency has refused to assume regulatory authority over greenhouse emissions.
The editorial also points out the tricky legal issue of whether the states have standing to bring suit, since proving injury may be difficult. The trouble with global warming, of course, is that by the time it gets bad enough to create easily proved damages, it will be too late to fix it.

The Supreme Court could decide to duck this case on standing grounds, instead dealing with it. As The Post observes:
That would be frustrating and unfortunate. Nowhere is this administration's resistance to action on global climate change more aggravating than in its persistent refusal to use the legal powers already at hand. What an irony it would be if its lawless inaction survived judicial review because the problem is too big.
We wrote about the case and provided links to the parties' briefs here. A transcript of the oral argument will be made available here on the Supreme Court website on the day of the argument.

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