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GreenmansGod

US Supreme Court hears climate case

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US Supreme Court hears climate case

States and the Environmental Protection Agency argue over regulation of emissions.

Emma Marris

Will the US government regulate CO2 as an air pollutant?

Getty

The Supreme Court of the United States yesterday heard a potentially pivotal case on climate change.

In Commonwealth of Massachusetts et al. v. the Environmental Protection Agency et al. a group of states, cities and environmental groups, plus American Samoa, are trying to force the federal government to regulate greenhouse gasses as pollutants.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), with the support of a number of other states, does not want to do any such thing. It is claiming both that it does not have the authority to regulate greenhouse gasses, and that even if it did, it isn't obliged to exercise its authority (see Legal Arguments ).

Many see the case, along with the Democratic takeover of Congress, as a harbinger of change in how the United States deals with the issue of climate change — although it remains to be seen how it will pan out. After hearing the arguments, the court judges will retire to consider the case. A decision is expected this summer.

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Its a start anyway.

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