By GERALDINE WIJESUNDERA
The U.S Supreme Court in late 2014 issued a mixed ruling on a challenge to part of President Obama’s greenhouse gas regulations by exempting a small portion of facilities from a federal air pollution program while allowing most major pollution sources, including power plants and refineries, to be included. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court in early February of this year struck another blow at President Obama by moving to temporarily block his administration’s rules to limit greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.
The Supreme Justices blocked the Environmental Protection Agency’s clear cut plan from going forward while the rule is challenged in court. The fact that the Supreme Court remained on the border with the ruling is discerning since global warming and the emission of greenhouse gases is one of the most prominent topics in regards to environmental change to date. The topic should not be something that is overlooked these days.
The effects of global warming can still be observed today by the increasing rising temperatures over the recent years. Although the increase of near-surface atmospheric temperature is the measure of global warming often reported in the popular press, most of the additional energy stored in the climate system since 1970 has gone into ocean warming. These melting ice caps cause sea levels to rise which is endangering wildlife such as polar bears and penguins in the Arctic. The future of our ecosystem and our way of life has a direct connection to global warming and its effects. Yet, there is still hope and the answer could potentially start with you. Though you might feel like your life is insignificant compared to things like oil extraction or vehicle emissions, the choices we make in our day-to-day everyday lives — how we get around, what we eat, how we live — can play a major role in slowing and lengthening the effects of climate change. Measures and actions by must be taken now, compromise should never be the answer. And the best way to take strides and get involved is by taking a few minutes to contact your political representatives and the media to tell them you want immediate action on climate change. Remind them that reducing greenhouse gas emissions will also build healthier communities, spur economic innovation and create new jobs. And next time you’re at the polls, vote for politicians who support effective climate policies.
The White House is unhappy with the ruling yet Republicans celebrated the court’s decision. House Speaker Paul Ryan called the rule “unlawful” in a statement Tuesday. “This rule should be struck down immediately before coal country is destroyed completely, and American consumers are consigned to higher energy prices,” Ryan said. “Great news for Wyoming & American energy. Republicans will do what we can to keep this rule permanently blocked,” Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyoming, tweeted. “Power plants are the single biggest source of harmful carbon pollution that contributes to climate change,” Obama said in a video released last August. “Until now, there have been no federal limits to the amount of carbon pollution plants dump in the air.” Measures must be taken now. Although the motives are still unclear on as to why the Supreme Court blocked the ruling, Jamie Henn of the environmental group 350.org stated that “If there was ever a Supreme Court decision that looked backwards instead of towards the future, this was it,” It’s all up to you now, you can make a difference.