Mainstream media catching up with my This is Not Cool video series.

I’ve been hearing for years from TV meteorologists about their evolution on the climate issue.

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Above, herding Bison (minimally) on native prairie in Oklahoma.

This week, Republicans rekindled their nostalgia for the good old days of unbridled pollution.

I was a deckhand on an iron ore freighter in the early 70s, and went up the Cuyahoga to the heart of the Cleveland industrial district more than once. It was like a hell from Hieronymus Bosch.

Mirroring the critical situation in the US Southwest, the reservoir serving the city of Valparaiso, Chile, is drying up after extensive years-long drought, and rising temperatures. (HT to reader rhymeswithgoalie)

For comparison:

“Could have been worse” is cold comfort in an extinction event.

Ben Inskeep is Program Director of the Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana.

Ben Inskeep on Twitter:

Seeing a lot of Very Serious People On Here trying to parse the West Virginia v. EPA ruling to say EPA can still regulate CO2, use other sections of the CAA or other tools, etc., and that we

I have bad news for you folks.đŸ§” 

While in this case SCOTUS did thread a needle, the principles used to justify (1) hearing this moot case and then (2) ruling against the EPA clearly show it doesn’t gaf about enacted legislation, precedent, or deference to expert admin agencies if it can score an ideological win. 

If you have been paying attention the past 2 weeks, or the past 2+ decades, it is clear that the majority want to transmogrify our country into radically conservative Christian Theocracy and are not afraid of breaking norms to get there. 

Sure, EPA can promulgate new climate regulations on the power sector. But those will also be challenged in court by fossil fuel and ideological interests.

Do you really think that this Supreme Court will uphold those? How could you after the judicial coup we are witnessing. 

In Massachusetts v. EPA (2007), the Court ruled 5-4 that EPA must regulate CO2 if its causing climate change. 15 years later, we still have no power sector CO2 rules. And the Court now seems poised to overturn that case the first chance it gets. 

So if you are banking on a Joe Biden EPA issuing new stringent CO2 regulations on the scale and timeline that we need, and then SCOTUS upholding those regulations, well, I think that’s a bit naĂŻve and you’re setting yourself up for more disappointment. 

Daniel Brown is a photographer/climatologist.

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Fascinating to me – as it’s such a mirror for us in the developing world.

In the Himalayas, the Ladakh region of India – one approach to extending precious water supplies in light of shrinking glaciers is a system of “ice Stupas” or artificial glaciers, which trap water during cold months and dole it out slowly in warmer seasons.
All too predictably, like the climate solutions (solar and wind energy) rolling out over the US heartland, the solution is drawing opposition from those who mistakenly, through misinformation, see it as a threat.

“..they’ve removed our fundamental right to a livable planet.”

New ruling will severely impact the regulatory power of potentially every agency. Bill McKibben explains below.

Bill McKibben in The New Yorker:

Credit where due: the Supreme Court’s 6–3 ruling in West Virginia v. E.P.A. is the culmination of a five-decade effort to make sure that the federal government won’t threaten the business status quo. Lewis Powell’s famous memo, written in 1971, before he joined the Supreme Court—between the enactment of a strong Clean Air Act and a strong Clean Water Act, each with huge popular support—called on “businessmen” to stand up to the tide of voices “from the college campus, the pulpit, the media, the intellectual and literary journals, the arts and sciences, and from politicians” calling for progressive change. He outlined a plan for slowly rebuilding the power of industrial Ă©lites, almost all the elements of which were taken up by conservative movements over subsequent years: monitoring textbooks and TV stations, attacking left-wing faculty at universities, even building a publishing industry. (“The news stands—at airports, drugstores, and elsewhere—are filled with paperback and pamphlets advocating everything from revolution to erotic free love. One finds almost no attractive, well-written paperbacks or pamphlets on ‘our side,’ ” Powell wrote, but he was able to imagine a day when the likes of Ann Coulter or Sean Hannity would reliably top the best-seller lists.)

Fatefully, he also wrote: “American business and the enterprise system have been affected as much by the courts as by the executive and legislative branches of government. Under our constitutional system, especially with an activist-minded Supreme Court, the judiciary may be the most important instrument for social, economic and political change.” At the time he was writing, the “activist” court was standing up for things that most Americans wanted, such as clean air and water—and the right of women to control their own bodies. But the Supreme Court, and hence the judiciary, has come under the control of the kind of men that Powell envisioned—he may not have envisioned women on the bench, but Amy Coney Barrett is otherwise his type of judge. And, with this ruling, they have taken more or less total control of Washington’s ability to generate policy that might disrupt the status quo.

In essence, the ruling begins to strip away the power of agencies such as the E.P.A. to enforce policy: instead of allowing federal agencies to enforce, say, the Clean Air Act to clean the air, in this new dispensation, Congress would have to pass regulations that are much more explicit, as each new pollutant came to the fore. As West Virginia’s attorney general explained, “What we’re looking to do is to make sure that the right people under our constitutional system make the correct decisions . . .  these agencies, these federal agencies, don’t have the ability to act solely on their own without getting a clear statement from Congress. Delegation matters.”

But, of course, the Court has also insured that “getting a clear statement from Congress” to address our deepest problems is essentially impossible. The decision in Citizens United v. F.E.C., in 2010, empowered corporations to game our political system at will. That explains, in part, why Congress has not passed a real climate bill in decades. The efforts that Democratic Administrations have made to try and control greenhouse gasses have mostly used provisions of the Clean Air Act because it is the last serious law of its kind that ever came to a President’s desk (Nixon’s, in this case).

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And possibly opening the way to destroy the government’s ability to regulate anything at all.

And that’s really what this whole 40 year effort has been about. The billionaires who funded this effort from the start feel that no one should be able to tell the rich and powerful what to do, about anything, ever.

New York Times:

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Thursday limited the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate carbon emissions from power plants, dealing a blow to the Biden administration’s efforts to address climate change.

The vote was 6 to 3, with the court’s three liberal justices in dissent, saying that the majority had stripped the E.P.A. of “the power to respond to the most pressing environmental challenge of our time.”

The ruling appeared to curtail the agency’s ability to regulate the energy sector, limiting it to measures like emission controls at individual power plants and, unless Congress acts, ruling out more ambitious approaches like a cap-and-trade system at a time when experts are issuing increasingly dire warnings about the quickening pace of global warming.

The implications of the ruling could extend well beyond environmental policy and further signal that the court’s newly expanded conservative majority is deeply skeptical of the power of administrative agencies to address major issues facing the nation and the planet.

That skepticism has been evident in recent decisions arising from the coronavirus pandemic. The court ruled, for instance, that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was not authorized to impose a moratorium on evictions and that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration was powerless to tell large employers to have their workers be vaccinated or undergo frequent testing.

The question before the justices in the new case, West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 20-1530, was whether the Clean Air Act allowed the E.P.A. to issue sweeping regulations across the power sector. More broadly, the court was asked to address whether Congress must “speak with particular clarity when it authorizes executive agencies to address major political and economic questions.

The court has called this inquiry the “major questions doctrine.”

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