This was a huge week for environmental news.
- U.S. Supreme Court Rules in its first case on climate change, that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are air pollutants under the Clean Air Act
- U.S. Supreme Court deals a setback to the utility industry, supporting a Clinton era, federal clean air initiative aimed at forcing power companies to install pollution control equipment on aging coal-fired power plants.
- Scientists Report Lake Superior is Warming Rapidly
- UN Climate Change Impact Report is Released
April 3, 2007 the U.S. Supreme Court, in a split decision, dealt a blow to the Bush administration by ruling that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are air pollutants under the Clean Air Act and can be regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
This legal challenge was brought by Massachusetts, 11 other states, three cities and 13 environmental groups. Although great news, the Bush administration to this point has resisted regulating greenhouse gas emissions and appointing environmentally unfriendly heads to the EPA. Expect more lawsuits and a congressional fight on this issue. Although this is a great win for environmentalists it won’t force the EPA to impose regulations it merely clarifies that they can.
U.S. Supreme Court deals a setback to the utility industry, supporting a Clinton era, federal clean air initiative aimed at forcing power companies to install pollution control equipment on aging coal-fired power plants.
April 3, 2007 the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled against Duke Energy Corp. by ruling that the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, VA overstepped its authority by invalidating the 1980 Environmental Protection Agency regulations.
It should be noted that most energy companies dropped similar lawsuits to work with the government to shape the regulatory laws & upgrade deadlines put in place. Duke Energy Corp. is the last hold out fighting rather than adapting. Sadly the Bush administration is proposing relaxed requirements for power plants along the lines of what Duke Energy Corp. is seeking rather than fighting to enforce the Clean Air Act. Once again similar to the earlier U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions this ruling will not force the Bush administration to enforce the Clean Air Act… something they continually avoid doing.
Court ruling orders coal plants to clean up – Times Argus: Vermont News
April 6, 2007 – A harbinger of things to come, a glimpse of the future to come based on past trends if action isn’t taken:
“Lake Superior has been warming even faster than the climate around it since the late 1970s because of reduced ice cover, according to a study by professors at the University of Minnesota Duluth.
Summer surface temperatures on the famously cold lake have increased about 4.5 degrees since 1979, compared with about a 2.7-degree increase in the region’s annual average air temperature, the researchers found. The lake’s “summer season” is now beginning about two weeks earlier than it did 27 years ago.”
“BRUSSELS, April 6 â€” From the poles to the tropics, the earthâ€™s climate and ecosystems are already being shaped by the atmospheric buildup of greenhouse gases and face inevitable, possibly profound, alteration, the worldâ€™s leading scientific panel on climate change said Friday.
In its most detailed portrait of the effects of climate change driven by human activities, the panel predicted widening droughts in southern Europe and the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa, the American Southwest and Mexico, and flooding that could imperil low-lying islands and the crowded river deltas of southern Asia. It stressed that many of the regions facing the greatest risks were among the worldâ€™s poorest.”
Scientists Detail Climate Changes, Poles to Tropics – New York Times
“About 20 to 30 percent of plant and animal species assessed so far are likely to be at increased risk of extinction if increases in global average temperature exceed 1.5 to 2.5 degrees C (2.7 to 4.5 degrees F), the report finds.”
UN Climate Change Impact Report: Poor Will Suffer Most – Environmental News Service