Federal Climate Policy

Deconstructing Today’s U.S. Supreme Court Arguments in Utility Air Regulatory Group

The EPA Could Well Lose This Challenge to Its Greenhouse Gas Reduction Efforts

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments today in the most important environmental law case of the current Term: Utility Air Regulatory Group v. Environmental Protection Agency. Based on those arguments–and, more importantly, the justices’ questions and comments–it appears that EPA’s efforts to regulate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from stationary sources under the Clean Air Act’s …

CONTINUE READING

Previewing Next Week’s Climate Change Arguments in the U.S. Supreme Court

Big Stakes and Big Players in This Year’s Biggest Environmental Case

On Monday, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the biggest environmental law case of its current Term, Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA. Legal Planet colleagues Ann Carlson and Dan Farber have already posted their thoughts on the case. Let me add mine. Utility Air Regulatory Group involves EPA’s authority to regulate stationary …

CONTINUE READING

What Are the Possible Outcomes in U.S. Supreme Court Greenhouse Gas Case?

Court likely to rule in favor of EPA

Next Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Utility Air Regulatory Group (UTAG) v. EPA.  I’ve previously described what is at stake in the case here and here and, in the interest of full disclosure, helped author a brief in support of EPA’s position.   The oral arguments might begin to reveal how …

CONTINUE READING

Plain Language, Climate Change, and the Supreme Court

The language of the statute relating to next week’s argument is clear — but there’s a fly in the ointment.

The Supreme Court will be hearing argument next week in Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA.  It’s basically a very simple statutory interpretation case, except for two things.  First, it’s about climate change, and nothing about climate change ever seems to be simple and straightforward.  Second, although the language of the statute, prior Supreme Court precedent, …

CONTINUE READING

Is It Unconstitutional for the President to Implement Major New Policies by Regulation?

According to the Supreme Court, when statutes are unclear, the President is supposed to make policy judgments. That’s not unconstitutional — it’s just business as usual.

The short answer is a resounding No.  Some domestic initiatives obviously do require Congressional approval because they are clearly outside the authority conferred by existing law.  But Congress has given the executive branch broad discretion to regulate in many areas, and the executive branch can use that authority for major policy initiatives.  The only real …

CONTINUE READING

Emmett Center Files Amicus Brief in U.S. Supreme Court GHG Case on Behalf of South Coast Air District

UCLA’s Emmett Center filed an amicus curiae brief yesterday  in Utility Air Regulatory Group (UARG)  v. EPA, the U.S. Supreme Court case that will determine whether EPA’s greenhouse gas emissions rules under the Prevention of Significant Deterioration section of the Clean Air Act are valid.   Arguing on behalf of the South Coast Air Quality …

CONTINUE READING

The Quiet Failure of Climate Denial in 2013

2013 Wasn’t A Good Year for the Opponents of Climate Science

The latest IPCC report proves that scientists are unwavering in their view that human carbon emissions are causing dangerous climate change.  In the scientific world, climate denial has no traction.  It isn’t gaining traction in the judicial or congressional worlds either. First, the judiciary.  A three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit, headed by a conservative …

CONTINUE READING

The Significance of EPA’s Proposed Power Plant Standards

Although they won’t have immediate impacts, EPA’s proposed rules for new coal plants will indirectly help shape the future of the industry.

There’s an uproar over EPA’s proposed rules for CO2 emissions from new coal plants, even though no one expects anyone to build a new coal plant for at least a decade.  I’ve argued (here and here) that the industry won’t have standing to challenge the rules because they won’t have any imminent impact.  In fact, …

CONTINUE READING

The Rhetoric of Cap and Trade

Different ways of framing the concept of cap and trade help drive the public debate.

Discussions of cap and trade tend to frame it in various ways, which often skews the debate.  These different frameworks guide the thoughts of both supporters and critics, sometimes in surprising ways.  There are four different ways to talk about cap and trade, and they tend to lead the debate in very different directions. The …

CONTINUE READING

The Olympics of Climate Change: Warsaw 2013

What to know, where to watch

It’s that time again! The United Nations’ COP19/CMP9 Climate Change Conference kicked off this week in Warsaw, the start of two weeks of international discussion on climate change.  The conference hosts the parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol, as a yearly update and check-in on these treaties, …

CONTINUE READING

TRENDING