Year 2, Month 4, Day 30: Justice Delayed, and All That…


WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court appeared ready to rule that federal judges cannot set limits on greenhouse gas emissions, after a majority of justices suggested Tuesday that such disputes over global warming are better left to Congress and federal regulators.

I’m getting ready for the Violins concert and don’t have much time to devote to this letter, which is just a restructuring of yesterday’s to the WaPo on the same subject.

Sent April 20:

Judging from the Justices’ comments and questions during the Supreme Court’s hearing of AEP vs. Connecticut, it seems likely that the Judicial branch of our country’s government is going to be enjoined from addressing climate change in any substantial way in the immediate future. Yes, as Justice Ginsburg remarked, setting emissions standards is exactly the sort of thing that the EPA does, and in a properly functioning American democracy, the EPA would set and enforce those standards. But there’s the rub: our democracy is no longer functioning properly. When legislators disregard scientific expertise in favor of anti-environmental nihilism, disaster is inevitable; when corporate profits are more important than the continued maintenance of the earth’s biosphere, catastrophe is a certainty. While the court may deny the legal grounds for the states’ action, the fact remains that drastic reduction of greenhouse gas emissions is economically sensible, environmentally essential, and morally necessary.

Warren Senders

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