Federal Climate Policy
Some thoughts for Environmental History Week.
An international agreement in 1992 committed the world’s nations to addressing climate change but contained few specifics. The US ratified that agreement, but there was little concrete action here through the end of the 20th Century. As this century began, things looked optimistic, with both presidential candidates favoring reductions in carbon emissions. Promptly after taking …CONTINUE READING
The new rule has hardly any of the features that caused the Supreme Court to strike down the Obama rule.
We’ve already started to hear claims that the Biden power plant rule falls under the major question doctrine, which the Supreme Court used to strike down Obama’s Clean Power Plan. Are those claims plausible? Consider the aspects of the Clean Power Plan that the Supreme Court found objectionable. I’ve identified eight factors that the Court …CONTINUE READING
GOP demands would devastate environmental protection
Kevin McCarthy sketched the outlines of his opening demand to raise the debt limit last week, and the bill has now been released. If adopted, it would have a devastating impact on environmental protection and climate action. One impact would be budgetary – repealing much of the Inflation Reduction Act while kneecapping EPA’s ability to …CONTINUE READING
Economists ousted lawyers (and law) from their central role in the regulatory process. That’s changing.
As you’ve probably heard, the Biden Administration has proposed aggressive new targets for greenhouse gas emissions from new vehicles. That’s great news. One really important aspect of the proposal relates to the justification for the proposal rather than the proposal itself. Following a recent trend, the justification is based on the factors specified by Congress …CONTINUE READING
As the initial top-down approach failed, a new approach to climate policy crystalized.
My last blog post told the story of the original top-down approach to climate policy. It was supposed to feature binding restrictions on carbon emissions in a global treaty and federal legislation. By 2012, it was plain that neither half of this “Plan A” strategy was in the offing. Building on trends that had begun …CONTINUE READING
Here’s a timeline of the victories and defeats since 1992.
Thirty years ago, the United States joined the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The decades since then have been a saga of victories and defeats for U.S. climate policy. Progress has been made under one President, only to be battered down by the next one. This to-and-fro is a sobering reminder of how …CONTINUE READING
The new law is a Big Deal. Or more precisely, a REALLY Big Deal.
IRA, the Inflation Reduction Act, is clearly the biggest climate legislation ever passed in the United States. The law will provide $379 billion in subsidies to clean energy in the form of direct payments and tax credits. Subsidies aren’t the ideal way to cut emissions, because it’s impossible to target them to the precise behavioral …CONTINUE READING
No, the Court didn’t eliminate EPA’s ability to fight climate change.
The Supreme Court’s ruling in the West Virginia case left many people with the impression that it eliminated the government’s power to regulate carbon emissions. There are quite a number of areas of climate law that the Supreme Court has left untouched. Here’s the EPA authority the Court hasn’t touched: EPA’s jurisdiction over greenhouse gases. …CONTINUE READING
The Supreme Court is almost certain to cut back on EPA’s power to regulate greenhouse gases. What then?
In West Virginia v. EPA, the Supreme Court is reviewing Obama’s Clean Power Plan. The Clean Power Plan (CPP) itself no longer has any practical relevance, but there’s every reason to predict the Court will strike it down anyway. The ruling will also restrict EPA’s future options. The big question is what the Biden Administration …CONTINUE READING
Today’s ruling are (somewhat) good news in terms of West Virginia v. EPA?
Today, the Court’s conservative Justices split the difference in two cases involving vaccine mandates, striking down OSHA’s mandate but upholding a more limited mandate for healthcare workers. The cases also split the conservative Justices themselves, with three hardliners (Thomas, Alito, and Gorsuch) seeking a more activist ruling in the OSHA case and dissenting in the …CONTINUE READING