Supreme Court Repudiates Bush Views on Global Warming

Just because the Supreme Court intervened to stop a Florida recount to hand the presidency to second place candidate George Bush in 2001 we must not automatically assume they will side with Bush on everything. Some things just might be more important than getting the kid from your party in the White House, such as protecting the family. George Bush doesn’t believe in global warming. Just about every scientist does. This differential was just enough to get a 5-4 decision from the Supreme Court on a case involving global warming. The Supreme Court “ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider its refusal to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, narrowly siding with 12 states and various environmental groups in a battle with the Bush administration over global warming.”

In yet another blow in what has been a pretty bad year for the Bush administration, the Supreme Court’s decision can be seen as a strong repudiation of Bush’s views on global warming. The New York Times writes:

The 5-to-4 decision was a strong rebuke to the Bush administration, which has maintained that it does not have the right to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, and even if it did, it would not use the authority. The ruling does not force the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate auto emissions, but it would almost certainly face further legal action if it fails to do so.

Writing for the majority, Justice John Paul Stevens said that the only way the agency can “avoid taking further action” now is “if it determines that greenhouse gases do not contribute to climate change” or provides a good explanation why it cannot or will not find out whether they do.Beyond the specific context for this case — so-called “tailpipe emissions” from cars and trucks, which account for about one-fourth of the country’s total greenhouse-gas emissions — the decision is highly likely to have a broader impact on the debate over government efforts to address global warming.

The Washington Post also quotes environmentlists who see this as a repudiation of Bush policies:

Environmental groups hailed the decision. The National Resources Defense Council said in a statement that the ruling “repudiates the Bush administration’s do-nothing policy on global warming,” undermining the government’s refusal to view carbon dioxide as an air pollutant subject to EPA regulation.

“Today the nation’s highest court has set the White House straight,” said David Doniger, the NRDC’s attorney in the case. “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.”

Alden Meyer, policy director at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said in a statement, “The Supreme Court came down today on the side of common sense. The language of the Clean Air Act clearly includes carbon dioxide and other global warming emissions as pollutants, and it’s the EPA’s job to protect the public from them. The Bush administration wasted six years hiding behind this indefensible position, and we don’t have time to waste. They’re literally fiddling around while the planet is burning.”

Saying that the technology exists to dramatically reduce tailpipe pollution, Meyer said it is time “to bench the lawyers and bring in the engineers.”

Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) said of his home state’s victory in the lawsuit, “It’s a historic moment when the Supreme Court has to step in to protect the environment from the Bush administration.” He added, ” Science tells us we have a 10-year window in which to avoid a climate change catastrophe. The time to act is now.”

As the last quote shows, this can even be added to the long list or articles which show that Kerry was right.

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