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The Court and global warming

Eight states, including California and New York, are being heard by the Supreme Court for a case that began seven years ago. The plaintiffs are suing six energy corporations that have emitted a quarter of the total CO2 emissions from the US’s electricity sector. What they seek is for these corporations to limit their greenhouse gas emissions. The issues surrounding the debate are the polluter pays principle, where the polluter is deemed responsible for environmental harm caused, and the EPA’s push for emissions regulations. The defendants, with the support of a Republican majority House, say that the EPA’s effort toward establishing this legislation is an act with federal authority and should not be usurped by states. The Second Circuit says, however, that no law yet exists, therefore the issue may be addressed by federal common law. SC

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