Court Hears Global Warming Case

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I thought climate change né global warming was against the belief system of the Christian Taliban? How did this case get all the way to the Supreme Court of Scalia, Thomas, Alito and Roberts?

Court Hears Global Warming Case The Supreme Court yesterday cautiously confronted for the first time the issue of global warming, hearing a challenge to the Bush administration's refusal to regulate emissions of greenhouse gases in new vehicles.

Twelve states, led by Massachusetts and joined by the District of Columbia, are objecting to the Environmental Protection Agency's decision to decline to issue emissions standards for new cars and trucks. They and the environmental organizations that support them say the standards should be the first step in a broader effort to reduce carbon dioxide and other gases that they say are harming the atmosphere and leading to global warming and rising sea levels.

But they faced a court sometimes skeptical about whether the remedy they seek would make much difference in the long run, and whether they can even show they are facing the kind of imminent harm that is required before they can press their case.

“I mean,” asked Justice Antonin Scalia, “when is the predicted cataclysm?”

Scalia was one of several justices to remark on a lack of scientific expertise during an hour of questioning that touched on whether the states have “standing” to challenge the EPA's refusal, the level of evidence proving the existence of global warming and its causes, and even whether unilateral action by the United States to reduce greenhouse gases would hamper negotiations with other countries on the issue.

Oh, I see, they plan on ridiculing the science.

“The harm does not suddenly spring up in the year 2100; it plays out continuously over time,” Milkey said in answer to Scalia's question. “Once these gases are emitted . . . they stay a long time -- the laws of physics take over.”

Milkey faced skeptical questioning from Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., the court's newest members, but the most sustained -- and entertaining -- interrogation came from Scalia.

At one point, he acknowledged the role of carbon dioxide as a pollutant in the air but wondered about it being a pollutant in the “stratosphere.”

“Respectfully, Your Honor, it is not the stratosphere. It's the troposphere,” Milkey said.

and predictably, the believers in evolution formed one faction, and the 6,000 year old Earth group are skeptical of anything contrary to Republican shibboleths:

Justice Stephen G. Breyer said a change of heart by the EPA could set off a string of similarly small decisions by other agencies, “each of which has an impact, and lo and behold, Cape Cod is saved.” He seemed most sympathetic to the states' case, along with Justices John Paul Stevens, David H. Souter and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Justice Clarence Thomas, who as usual asked no questions, is presumed to be in line with Scalia, Roberts and Alito. That leaves Justice Anthony M. Kennedy as a pivotal vote in whether the states have proven they have standing for the case to go forward.

Of course, if the EPA as an agency cared about protecting the environment in the first place.....but that's just crazy talk.

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update, next morning. Our anti-science Republican ideologue, Justice Scalia, said much more than the WaPo deigned to print. Don't know why they bother: just let the man blather on the national stage like he wants, don't bother attempting to burnish his idiocy.

From Chris Mooney's blog

The Intersection: Scalia Idiocy, Continued
I've now seen the Supreme Court transcript and can provide actual passages of what Scalia said. It's even worse
JUSTICE SCALIA: That's why I don't want to have to deal with global warming, to tell you the truth

MR. MILKEY: Under the express words of the statute -- and this is 302(g) -- for something to be an air pollutant it has to be emitted into the ambient air or otherwise entered there.

JUSTICE SCALIA: Yes, and I agree with that. It is when it comes out an air pollutant. But is it an air pollutant that endangers health? I think it has to endanger health by reason of polluting the air, and this does not endanger health by reason of polluting the air at all.

MR. MILKEY: Your Honor, respectfully, I disagree, and there is nothing in the act that actually requires the harm to occur in the ambient air. In fact, some of the harm here does occur there.

JUSTICE SCALIA: Well, it talks about air pollution all the time. That's what the, that's what the thing is about, air pollution. It's not about global warming and it's not about the troposphere.

(transcript PDF here)

1 Comment

I know you aren't a believer; however, I will light my candles for the cause. There has got to be a time soon we stop polluting the Earth. I do what I can. We have solar panels -- Enron no more!-- wash our dishes by hand and have energy saver appliances.

It's time the government and Detroit do their share.

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This page contains a single entry by Seth A. published on November 30, 2006 12:33 AM.

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