Supreme Court Case Looms Large in Climate Change Arena

Taking it to the courts. From coffee that’s too hot to T-shirts that are too religious, this years-long trend has now reached an even greater height of glory — that of the potential to enact Kyoto Protocol-type provisions in America without the consent of Congress, without the consent of the administration, and most certainly, without the consent of the governed.

At issue is an imminent Supreme Court decision on global warming that will, it’s expected, clarify whether the Environmental Protection Agency has to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from vehicles. The EPA does not currently exert such blanket control; many in the environmental crowd, which grows bigger, louder and wealthier day-by-day, are unhappy with this hands-off approach and demand government intervention.

And as history demonstrates, their demands are unceasing.

First, there’s the international Kyoto Protocol itself, with its sweeping cuts to certain emission levels, including carbon dioxide, that would pretty much cripple America in terms of unhindered growth and production. So far, the Bush Administration and Senate have resisted its ratification, and this failure to kowtow to the United Nations has left many, symbolically only, one would hope, in tears.

But for globalists and socialists, radical environmentalists and other “ists” with like-minded disdain for America’s constitutional, free-market system, defeat is not an option. While Kyoto may languish on the U.S. front, plenty of other attempts to accomplish the same or similar have gone forth. Search on “climate change” at the congressional website, Thomas, and 49 bills with that exact phrase appear. Type in “global warming,” and there come another 13.

At various stages of congressional action, these bills nonetheless share one common denominator: They all just sound so darn friendly and helpful. There’s the promise of a “Safe Climate” in H.R. 5642, or “Tsunami Preparedness” in S. 50. Or, look to the whisper of hope for “Clean Power” in S. 150, and the breathless pledge to “Keep America Competitive” in H.R. 5049. The catch, of course, is simple — to receive these golden blessings, and instill Heaven on earth, the bills and accompanying controls, curtailments and regulations on select pollutants must first be passed.

For a government that can’t even control the border, that’s not half bad. At least they’ve got the weather right where they want it.

Still, Americans must not be fully buying, else emission controls on carbon dioxide would already be reality. So for the stymied special interests, it’s time for Plan B. It’s time to go to court.

Propelled by an attitude of “we know better than thee,” and on the heels of a failed U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit appearance, a dozen states under the leadership of Massachusetts have taken the charge for vehicle carbon dioxide emission controls to the highest court in the land. They want the Supreme Court to find that the EPA is mandated by Clean Air Act provisions to regulate and control the level of these emissions from vehicle tailpipes. One way to accomplish that, it should be noted, is to regulate new vehicle gas mileage minimums.

What’s ridiculous about the suit — aside from ignoring the fact that human-induced climate change is, in layman’s terms, iffy “science,” or dismissing the reality that most predictions of climate change come by way of inaccurate computer modeling, better known in layman’s again as Chicken Little-gone-mad — is that the base plaintiff positions couldn’t pass a toddler test in terms of logic and sound reason.

Their main argument to the appeals court was this: “Petitioners sought to have EPA regulate, under Section 202(a)(1) of the Clean Air Act, carbon dioxide and three other greenhouse gases,” the July 15 decision reads.

The ridiculous aspect is this: That particular section of the Clean Air Act allows that the EPA “Administrator shall by regulation prescribe … standards applicable to the emission of any air pollutant from any class or classes of new motor vehicles … which in his judgment cause, or contribute to, air pollution” and jeopardize public health or welfare.

In case you missed it — the petitioners evidently did, and continue to do so as they trounce onward to Supreme Court — the key clause is “in his judgment.” Unfortunately, the ramifications from the Supreme Court decision won’t be so easy to overlook.

Though the case does not specifically address the issue of carbon dioxide emissions from any source other than vehicle tailpipes, the ensuing result of any decision finding in favor of the petitioners, and finding the EPA by law has to regulate this pollutant from cars, will naturally lead to further environmental standards.

In short, it’ll be Kyoto by proxy. After all, if carbon dioxide from tailpipes is bad, then carbon dioxide from power plants is even worse.