The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the government’s environmental agency cannot set limits on how much greenhouse gases companies and factories can emit. This ruling means that President Joe Biden has limited powers to combat climate change.
Six of the nine chief justices voted against the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) emissions limits. The main aim of this was to reduce the greenhouse gases emitted by coal-fired power stations. Nearly 20 percent of electricity in the United States comes from coal-fired power plants.
Under current law, the EPA controls emissions from existing power plants. The judges believe that the EPA cannot determine these rules itself and must first obtain approval from the parliament (Congress) before setting new limits.
The Biden administration is currently working on new “Clean Air” laws, which must be approved by Congress. The president wants the energy sector to stop emitting greenhouse gases by 2035.
The White House calls the ruling “devastating” and thinks the country is taking a step backwards. Biden says he remains committed to tackling the climate crisis within the powers he has.
The United Nations also calls this a setback. A UN spokesperson believes that the actions of a single country should not affect the climate goals of the Paris Agreement. Because “decisions like today’s make it more difficult to achieve the goals”.