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Opinion: Supreme Court hits the planet

John D. Sutteris a CNN contributor, National Geographic Explorer, and MIT Science. I'm a journalism fellow. He is the director of the nextBASELINEdocumentary series, which will visit four locations at the forefront of the climate crisis every five years until 2050.Visit the project websiteThe commentary expressed in this is his own. See moreOpinionson CNN.

(CNN)Over the years, I've been eager to find a savoir-like atmosphere — people, techniques, and cleverness. Strategies and institutions can save us from the climate crisis.

It is fully clear that there is no such savior.

SCOTUS Opinionis working on what the Environmental Protection Agency may look like in the details of how carbon dioxide emissions from power plants are regulated. ..
John D. Sutter
John D. Sutter
But don't be fooled. The court's restrictions on the EPA's ability to push towards carbon neutralsa blowretreat the United States to efforts to eliminate fossil fuel pollution. It's a challenge we're already decades behind. This decision could continue to make the world a more dangerous and more unequal place.
Some details of the opinion are particularly annoying. In a 6-3 decision, thecourt dismissed the idea that the US Environmental Protection Agency could use a sort of "systems" thinking to regulate the power sector. The court ruled that Congress did not give that authority to the institution.

Rather, the ruling suggests that the EPA may regulate power plants one at a time. It's as if the global carbon system, the atmosphere, and the future of mankind are unbalanced in the power system. Overall, function. Climate change, on the other hand, actually requiressystems thinking for. One power plant, one sector, one country cannot solve this alone.

This highlights what is the central issue of efforts to stop the climate crisis. It's a problem for everyone, not for anyone.

The problem is hot potatoes passing between US government branches-Congress needs to fix this. No, the court.-While the earth is burning. This also applies to the international scale. Hearing fossil fuel practitioners pointing out rising emissions in China and India as a rationalization of global omissions can be a headache. The truth is that the United States ismore polluting the air than any other countryand because of our international upheaval, the county's response is very important.

By the way, as many do, explaining the court's decision as a blow to the Biden administration is hopelessly short-sighted. This is one of the millions of self-harms that endanger all systems on Earth. We cannot continue to be held accountable with clever legal words and excuses. To make matters worse, the truth of the urgency of global warming cannot be obscured.

"[L] Let's say the obvious"Judge Elena Kagan disputed"The bet here is high. Still, the court is generating carbon dioxide today. It is blocking the actions of parliamentary-approved government agencies to curb carbon dioxide emissions. The court appoints climate policy decision makers on behalf of parliament and specialized agencies. I can't think of anything more scary. "

The same is true here.

Apart from the court's opinion, this is the36.4 billionthreminder, indicating that this is the full moment of climate change countermeasures. Obama's Clean Power Planwas, on the surface, the subject of a proceeding and could not be amended. Obviously, courts can't do that, as many of us wanted.
In 2015, when a Dutch courtdeclared the government's climate policy inadequate and ordered it to be strengthened, expectations for a cleaner and safer atmosphere increased. I did. Anotherincident against the fossil fuel giant Shellwas also successful last year.
Similar discussions have been tried in the United States and elsewhere with various results. When a group of children filed a proceeding in federal court in Oregon in 2016,wrote that this might bechildren do what Congress did not do in court. Asked: A policy that forces the adoption of a healthy climate. Perhaps the court is missingin this battle.
Of course,thengoes almost nowhere. Lawyers in both the Obama and Trump administrations opposed constitutional claims.

Recent hopes feel like distant feelings.

It's also cool to look at Congress and the Biden administration. Yes, Biden campaigned for a climate crisis, calling it"four historical crises"one of the things his administration would tackle. The world seems to be colluding to prevent good intentions. Congressand Senator Joe Manchinare people suffering from atmospheric, future and climate-related disasters.
Some people have confidence in the market, withshifting USto (less polluting) natural gas and coal with or without a clean power plan. Keep away from.
The shift is not guaranteed and is not fast enough. The International Energy Agency's Global Energy Outlooksays in October that fossil fuel use could peak in the middle of the last decade, but avoid an increased risk of climate change. Said it wasn't fast enough.
Tech is another logical fix. Again, there are some advances. Another IEA report this week said, "Nuclear [power] is suitable for helping decarbonize power supplies"

Still, wind and solar technologies It lists the reasons for the hope that it is needed. Reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the years. The problem is that none of these ideas have been widely or fast enough to be adopted.

You have been able to spend all your time talking about missing climate change opportunities, dating back more than 30 years. We knew about this crisis longer than that.

But I'm not sure if that helps right now. And I'm not 100% sure what it really is.

Perhaps it is important to remind ourselves that we are living in democracy, aside from the evidence. The government should deal with the people. And if people from West Virginia to Washington actually demanded not only climate issues, but also serious climate action, the type of action that would get rid of the fossil fuel economy, we could do this. increase.

Historically, in the face of changes in American politics, news, and lifestyles, prioritizing the elimination of fossil fuels has proven to be difficult. .. The war in Ukraine was also a serious crisis, causing soaring gasoline prices. But that is not the reason for supporting fossil fuel extraction. We must strive to realize that the climate crisis is as urgent as any other crisis. Even though its long-term, slow-moving nature keeps it away from headlines.

Our greatest hope is that this week's anger at the Supreme Court's short-sighted and dangerous decisions will fuel the energy of the American people, not the fossil fuel industry.

It's hard to feel it now, but my feelings come back. The truth is that if a branch of the US government doesn't stop global warming, people have to do it. Not by replacing the light bulbs and buying a new car, but by gaining and claiming political power.