|Huge legal victory against carbon pollution in the United States|
27 June 2012
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has rejected four separate lawsuits challenging the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate carbon pollution. This landmark victory for the Obama administration means the EPA can proceed with regulating carbon emissions from vehicles and coal-burning power plants.
ClientEarth, alongside Friends of the Earth Europe, Birdlife Europe and Transport & Environment, submitted a brief supporting the EPA. This intervention was the first time a European organisation has taken direct action in the U.S. court system on the issue of climate change.
In December 2009, the EPA announced that greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, endanger public health and welfare. It stated that it would regulate them in accordance with the Clean Air Act. Texas, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, members of the oil and gas industries and others filed suit over this “endangerment” finding.
The court has ruled that that the EPA's interpretation of the Clean Air Act to regulate carbon dioxide emissions is "unambiguously correct". They also ruled that the EPA’s finding that carbon dioxide is a public danger and the decision to set limits for emissions from cars and light trucks were "neither arbitrary nor capricious."
James Thornton, ClientEarth CEO, says: “The U.S. has now joined the ranks of countries that regulate greenhouse gas. This landmark American ruling is a victory for the whole world. Carbon pollution threatens all of us. New York is not the only low lying city that would be submerged under rising seas. ”
“We argued that greenhouse gas regulations don’t damage the economy. The European Union’s economy hasn’t been damaged by the Kyoto Protocol or the Emission Trading Scheme. Indeed, alternative energy provides increased energy security and the potential for economic growth. As historic allies, the U.S. and Europe need to work together on climate change.”