In August of 2015, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) mandated that power plants in America reduce their carbon dioxide emissions by 32 percent from 2005 levels over the next 15 years (till 2030). It also ruled that 28 percent of the power states sell to their citizens must be from renewable technologies like wind and solar.
The Obama Administration believed the mandate would reduce carbon dioxide pollution by an estimated 870 million tons and turn the US into a global leader in the fight against climate change -- a goal conservatives appear to be hellbent on destroying. Because, well, who needs clean air and a planet that future generations can live on? Reported the Huff Post today:
The fate of the single biggest piece of President Barack Obama’s climate change legacy was thrown into question Tuesday evening when the Supreme Court blocked the president’s carbon emissions regulation for existing power plants from moving forward.
In a 5-4 decision, the court granted the stay to 29 states and a slew of industry groups that are appealing the rule. Oral arguments at a federal appeals court in Washington will take place in June.
As the New York Times points out, this was an unprecedented move by the Supreme Court given it had "never before granted a request to halt a regulation before review by a federal appeals court." It hardly needs mentioning that it was the five conservative members who voted to blocked the regulation, while the court’s four liberal members dissented.
While the ruling isn't set in stone (senior administration officials called it a "temporary procedural determination" and believe the mandate will ultimately prevail), the Supreme Court's decision is still extremely troubling. Climate change is quite literally the greatest threat facing humanity, and blocking attempts to curb our output of CO2 into the atmosphere must be considered tantamount to an act of terrorism.
To think that in 2016, educated men and women in the highest court of the land could vote to help destroy the environment is simply unconscionable -- yet conservative ideology has provided the intellectual framework for this to be perfectly reasonable. In the minds of conservatives, global warming does not exist because it does not conform to free market capitalist ideology, and environmentalism must be therefore be rejected because it harms the profit margins of companies responsible for pumping CO2 into the atmosphere. This ludicrous, anti-scientific position isn't held by fringe conspiracy theorists -- it is the staple belief of the Republican Party and activist judges in the Supreme Court.
If ever there was proof that the current incarnation of conservatism in America needs to be defeated at almost any cost, look no further than what happened at the Supreme Court today and the potential consequences it has for the future of our very survival.