07/01/2022

Supreme Court Limits EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Regulating Ability

12:03 minutes

a factory with billowing smoke or gas coming out of a stack, filling up most of the image
Credit: Shutterstock

This week, in its final round of opinions for the term, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Congress had not explicitly given the Environmental Protection Agency the power to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from power plants under the terms of the Clean Air Act. 

“Capping carbon dioxide emissions at a level that will force a nationwide transition away from the use of coal to generate electricity may be a sensible ‘solution to the crisis of the day.’ But it is not plausible that Congress gave EPA the authority to adopt on its own such a regulatory scheme in Section 111(d). A decision of such magnitude and consequence rests with Congress itself, or an agency acting pursuant to a clear delegation from that representative body,” wrote Chief Justice Roberts in the majority opinion in the case, West Virginia v. EPA

 The ruling could hinder efforts globally to combat climate change, and could also affect regulations issued by other federal agencies dealing with “major questions” that would dramatically affect the economy.

Timothy Revell, deputy U.S. Editor at New Scientist, joins Ira to talk about the decision and other stories from the week in science, including new studies of the canine evolutionary tree, a look back at 10 years of the CRISPR gene-editing technique, the launch of the CAPSTONE mission, and what our nose can tell us about potential relationships.


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Segment Guests

Tim Revell

Tim Revell is Deputy United States Editor for New Scientist in New York, New York.

Segment Transcript

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