The Supreme Court's Recent Decision on the Environmental Protection Agency Will Be Remembered as a Landmark in the Battle against Global Warming

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Byline: GUEST VIEWPOINT By Amy Luers For The Register-Guard

The Supreme Court's recent decision on the Environmental Protection Agency will be remembered as a landmark in the battle against global warming.

The court agreed with 12 states and a number of cities that the Clean Air Act includes carbon dioxide and other global warming emissions as pollutants. And it ruled that it is, in fact, the EPA's job to protect the public from them.

Unfortunately, the Bush administration wasted six years claiming that heat-trapping gas emissions do not meet the Clean Air Act's definition of an ``air pollutant'' and therefore cannot be regulated. Now that the court set the record straight, we have little time to waste.

Global warming poses a threat to humanity and the natural world. The U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the International Panel on Climate Change and scientific academies of 10 leading nations all have stated that human activity, especially the burning of fossil fuels, is the major driver of this warming trend.

Every time we drive a car, use electricity from coal-fired power plants or heat our homes with oil or natural gas, we release carbon dioxide and other global warming emissions into the air.

The window for holding global warming pollution to reasonably safe levels is closing quickly. Recent studies have concluded that avoiding the most dangerous impacts of climate change will require the United States and other industrialized countries to reduce their global warming emissions to approximately 20 percent of current levels by mid-century.

That goal is attainable, but only if we act immediately to improve energy efficiency, shift to cleaner sources of energy such as wind and solar, and use cleaner transportation sources.

The impact of the Supreme Court's decision will be felt around the country, especially in California. There, the state's standard requires a 34 percent reduction in global warming pollution for cars and light trucks and a 25 percent reduction for larger trucks and sport utility vehicles within the next 10 years. …