Alarm bells went off last month when the Supreme Court’s ruling clamped down on the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulatory authority to control carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions under the Clean Air Act. CO2 emissions are the main source of greenhouse gases causing the earth to overheat, changing the climate to one less suitable for all forms of life. The country’s right wing SCOTUS gave a big nod to climate-deniers just at the time when the world is living through the hottest season on record caused by global warming.
The icing on this lethal piece of cake is the anti-climate hawker U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia), who has made millions from the coal industry. Yes that’s right – West Virginia’s main industry that emits vast amounts of CO2 while pumping other pollutants such as sulfur dioxide, mercury and coal ash into the environment. Recently, Manchin claimed on a West Virginia talk show that he had no intention of spending money on climate change.
Nevertheless, the polarizing ruling by SCOTUS has served to only incite a more aggressive strategy to deal with the climate crisis. Even though time is running out, we can still limit global warming to no more than 1.5°C (equal to 2.7F temperature rise above pre-industrial level) – which means reaching the goal of net zero CO2 emissions in 2050 as called for in the Paris Agreement.
President Biden announced last week that he will “tackle the climate crisis and strengthen our domestic clean energy industry, I will take strong executive action to meet this moment.”
Governors from coast to coast have invested in climate mitigation; California’s Governor Gavin Newsom signed a landmark $54 billion bill that invests in an oil-free future, fire protection and drought response.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed three new laws that include a goal of an 85% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, investing in clean heating and cooling solutions
to replace dirty fossil fuel infrastructure and provide a substantial green jobs workforce.
Landmark climate friendly building codes were just adopted in Washington State strongly backed by Governor Jay Inslee who has long defended decarbonizing.
Outside the political arena, individuals are now empowered to take smaller but just as effective steps to cool the earth. Electric vehicles that don’t need gas to run are gaining in popularity and the number of electric vehicle owners have increased, accounting for 5.6 percent of new-car sales from April through June of this year. The EPA says this country’s transportation sector alone is responsible for 28 percent of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. Eliminating the use of fossil fuels in our homes has seen more and more folks switch to electricity providers using solar and wind to generate electricity. We are using LEDs (light-emitting diodes) in our homes and offices — LEDs use 90% less energy than incandescent bulbs and half as much as compact fluorescents.
An extensive hands-on list of what individuals can do to reverse climate change simultaneously feeds a collective consciousness that cancels out the dark duo of Manchin and SCOTUS political power plays. The positive outcome of the wrong-headed ruling has inadvertently energized us to live greener and nourish hope in a resurgent call to action. Stakeholders worldwide will continue to hold a credible road map of how we will reduce our carbon emissions, a doable path that will ultimately save the planet.