US court rules against Bush in global warming case
UNITED STATES: In a stinging defeat for the Bush
administration, the Supreme Court ruled that U.S. environmental
officials have the power to regulate greenhouse gas emissions that spur
By a 5-4 vote, the nation's highest court told the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency to reconsider its refusal to regulate carbon dioxide
and other emissions from new cars and trucks that contribute to climate
The high court ruled that such greenhouse gases from motor vehicles
fall within the law's definition of an air pollutant.
The ruling in one of the most important environmental cases to reach
the Supreme Court marked the first high court decision in a case
involving global warming.
President George W. Bush has opposed mandatory controls on greenhouse
gases as harmful to the U.S. economy, and the administration instead has
called for voluntary programs.
In 2003, the EPA refused to regulate the emissions, saying it lacked
the power to do so. Even if it had the power, the EPA said it would be
unwise to do it and would impair Bush's ability to negotiate with
developing nations to cut emissions.
The states and environmental groups that brought the lawsuit hailed
the ruling. "As a result of today's landmark ruling, EPA can no longer
hide behind the fiction that it lacks any regulatory authority to
address the problem of global warming," Massachusetts Attorney General
Martha Coakley said.
Greenhouse gases occur naturally and also are emitted by cars, trucks
and factories into the atmosphere. They can trap heat close to Earth's
surface like the glass walls of a greenhouse.
Such emissions have risen steeply in the past century and many
scientists see a connection between the rise, an increase in global
average temperatures and a related increase in extreme weather,
wildfires, melting glaciers and other damage to the environment.
Democrats in Congress predicted the ruling could add pressure on
lawmakers to push forward with first-ever caps on carbon dioxide
emissions. The United States is the world's biggest emitter of such
The ruling also could make it easier for California and 13 other
states to put in place mandatory emission caps, officials in that state
Writing for the court majority, Justice John Paul Stevens said the
EPA's decision in 2003 was "arbitrary, capricious or otherwise not in
accordance with law."
Washington, Tuesday, Reuters