One ruling, but two different perceptions. The German Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) takes a very different view of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on the powers of the federal EPA than leftist Der Spiegel does.
Hat-tip: Die kalte Sonne.
In a ruling, the Supreme Court has now curtailed the powers of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It is not allowed to set far-reaching reduction targets for electricity production without the approval of Congress. The Environmental Protection Agency is part of the government headed by President Joe Biden. So the decision could be seen as another defeat for a president who seems to have lost all fortune anyway.
However, the decision is primarily aimed at strengthening the principle of separation of powers. In its pure form, authorities are limited to the role of enforcing the majority will of the elected parliament. Major political decisions must have the blessing of Congress; they may in no case be made against its majority political will, the judges say. The departure from coal-fired power plants forced by regulatory reduction targets falls into that category. The decision is understandable, though that’s not comforting.”
The prospects that the blockade in Congress will dissolve and that Joe Biden will be able to push his ambitious plans through are bleak. Midterm elections are in a few months, and it is likely that the majority situation will become even less favorable for Biden after the vote. The administration actually wants to decarbonize the energy sector by 2035, and nationwide emissions are to fall by 50 percent by 2030 compared with 2005 levels.
The ruling could also have implications for international climate policy.
Both of these plans would not have been easy to achieve anyway, and the double climate deadlock now puts them almost out of reach. The government may nevertheless try to use the EPA’s remaining powers in a roundabout way: New regulations on mercury, smog and soot emissions could restrict the operation of coal-fired power plants, for example, or make them so expensive that they become no longer economically viable to operate. Whether that will work is still unclear.”
July 6, 2022