Monday, June 23, 2014

Supreme Court gives mixed ruling on EPA's authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions at power plants and other facilities

In a somewhat split ruling, the Supreme Court has ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency may not impose new rules on power plants strictly to regulate greenhouse gasses, unless the rules are connected to existing regulations that may involve other pollutant.  Fox News has a story here   The Wall Street Journal spins this in a more “positive” way, saying that most EPA-directed emission controls can stay in place, link here. The text of the Court ruling is here (a slip opinion).

There is no question, though, that the evidence that manmade emissions can warm the climate is mounting.  Ultimately sea levels will rise, leading to displacement of some people (often poor) with enormous social and political problems, and leading to heavier downpours, more intense heatwaves and droughts, although whether tornadoes and destructive storms will increase (away from coasts) is still quite uncertain.  Tornadoes could become less frequent if there is less cold, dry air to slam into warm humid air masses. On the other hand, big tornadoes could occur more frequently in areas not used to them.

 Pictures: Baltimore MD in Feb. 2014;  Mt Storm W Va power plant in Aug. 2004; nearby "old stripmining" (from 1971), largely reclaimed, near Mt. Storm, W Va.  

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