Feeds

Climate change heads for the Supreme Court

Politics, science and the law

The Power of One Infographic

The US Supreme Court has agreed to hear the arguments in the case of Massachusetts vs the Environmental Protection Agency.

The suit, brought by Massachusetts and eleven other states, along with a few cities and environmental lobby groups, accuses the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of failing to regulate CO2 emissions from motor vehicles.

The legal action was brought after the EPA denied a petition asking it to intervene and set limits on vehicle emissions in 2002. It argued that it had no obligation to regulate CO2 emissions. It must oversee gases that represent an "endangerment to public health and the environment", but said that CO2 did not necessarily fall into this category.

Eighteen scientists filed a "friend of the court" brief arguing that the court had "misrepresented the findings in Climate Change Science", a 2001 report. The brief says the court used selective quotes from the report to suggest that the science on climate change is uncertain.

Professor John Dernbach of Widener University Law School's Harrisburg campus, one of the four lawyers who worked on the brief, told Patriot News: "EPA really blew the science" because it ignored the findings of the main scientific source it quoted.

"This is not about differences in emphasis, choice of details, or nuance," he told the paper.

This isn't the first case of its kind. Almost a year ago a New York judge ruled the question of pollution regulation too political to be decided by the judiciary. This case, known as New York vs the EPA, was asking the court to force the EPA to regulate emissions from power plants in five states.

The judge in the case wrote: "Were judges to resolve political questions, there would be no check on their resolutions because the Judiciary is not accountable to any other branch or to the people."

New York immediately said it would appeal. But because of the similarities between the two lawsuits, the New York case is now on hold, pending the Supreme Court's ruling on the Massachusetts vs the EPA case. ®

Nature.com has posted a Q&A style discussion of the case that makes for interesting reading. You can find it here.

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
MARS NEEDS OCEANS to support life - and so do exoplanets
Just being in the Goldilocks zone doesn't mean there'll be anyone to eat the porridge
Diary note: Pluto's close-up is a year from … now!
New Horizons is less than a year from the dwarf planet
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.