In what is considered a massive set-back not just to Obama’s environmental policy, but to the very planet we live on, the Supreme Court just killed the best chance America had to combat climate change in the foreseeable future. And if you think this wasn’t politically motivated – the five Justices responsible all come from the right side of the bench.
In a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court ruled to stay the requirements that energy companies needed to rein in the ludicrous amount of carbon that they were pouring into the atmosphere. For decades, scientists have warned that this carbon is among the number one contributors to global warming. Obama had hoped to address this with a landmark move to curtail these emissions with an initiative he named the “Clean Power Plan.”
With strong but achievable standards for power plants, and customized goals for states to cut the carbon pollution that is driving climate change, the Clean Power Plan provides national consistency, accountability and a level playing field while reflecting each state’s energy mix. It also shows the world that the United States is committed to leading global efforts to address climate change.
Instead, America’s right-wing showed the world once again that it is not remotely serious about trying to combat climate change. Naturally, this lack of initiative gives other major polluters like China a fantastic excuse to not curtail their own emissions. We will, when you do, they might say.
For now, the oil and gas companies get to ignore the rule. This is a major victory for the corporations that are most responsible for polluting in the first place. The Koch brothers, of course, were vehemently opposed to the new plans. So too were the Republican politicians they sponsor. How desperate were Republicans to let their pollution-heavy friends off the hook? Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell broke with all existing protocol to deliver a letter to all 50 United States governors telling them to simply ignore Obama’s EPA requirements altogether.
The four liberal justices – Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan – all wrote that they objected to the stay.
But if all of this shady monkey wrench tossing is giving you a sense of hopeless, the silver lining is this: All that is standing in the way of bold new plans like this becoming law are five aging conservative members of the Supreme Court. It’s expected that the next president will get to appoint at least two new Justices. The ability to change the course of not just America’s, but the world’s climate rests with who Americans chose as their next president this year. That’s a lot of power. Let’s use it to elect a person who has our interests in mind, not the Koch brothers.
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