The Supreme Court vs Planet Earth

The Supreme Court vs Planet Earth

June 8 2022

The Climate Capitalist is well versed with the US environmental laws, both what’s written in the books and how they are put to work in the real world. First enacted in 1970 and amended multiple times with bipartisan votes in Congress, they are how we got to clean air and water in the US. But the process took decades because industry and special interests opposed the EPA at every step with litigation and outright delay. They still do.


We’ve known for a long time that CO2 and other greenhouse gases are pollutants that destroy our atmosphere and drive climate change. By the text and rules of the Clean Air Act, the EPA has sought, haltingly, to cut greenhouse gas emissions from autos, electric utilities, and other industries. That this power falls squarely within the EPA’s duty to regulate pollutants was resolved by the US Supreme Court in Massachusetts v. EPA in 2007. That the national government should protect our environment seems as obvious as its duty to protect our national security.


Sadly, the EPA hasn’t made much progress at cutting US greenhouse gas emissions. Even its efforts to go after the most virulent emissions source, coal fired electric generation plants, have been held up time and again by the courts. Now, at this critical juncture, the newly aligned US Supreme Court is likely to hobble the EPA even further.


TCC is a strong supporter of Earthjustice, the premier public interest law firm that has done extraordinary work to make sure our environmental laws are enforced. One of Earthjustice’s leaders, Sam Sankar, has written an op-ed for The New York Times that was published this past weekend. In the piece, Sam describes a radical new approach being considered by the Court to eviscerate laws and rules they think go too far because they have “major” political or economic significance. We encourage you to read this important article here.


In other News:

TCC highly recommends Noah Smith’s interview with economist, investor and futurist Ramez Naam.

“Mezz” is one of the most respected energy forecasters today whose models of the improvement of technologies like solar and batteries have proved to be far more accurate than the leading energy forecasters like the IEA, the DOE and some of the large energy companies.

In this long form piece, Mezz reviews some of the most exciting technologies in the clean energy space, identifies the biggest unsolved climate problems, and predicts whether we can meet our climate goals by mid-century.

Read the interview here.

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Major investors are looking at the energy sector through very different eyes today as the price of crude plunges. In our first MEMO 1, we take a look at what they are thinking and what actions they are taking.

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As technology improves, costs fall, and investment increases, there’s good reason to be optimistic about offshore wind as part of our future energy mix.

August 12 2020

Can giant wind turbines provide clean power for the U.S. economy or is this just a Quixotic fantasy? In MEMO 22 this week, we dig deep into the details and interrogate the potential of wind-generated power.