Category: Daily News

Here’s How Trump’s Potential SCOTUS Pick Could Make His Obama-Era Regulatory Rollbacks Permanent

From The Daily Caller

Chris White Tech Reporter September 21, 2020

  • President Donald Trump has an opportunity to make his environmental regulation rollbacks permanent if he places another conservative on the Supreme Court before Inauguration Day, legal experts argue. 
  • Adding another conservative justice will also greatly diminish Justice John Robert’s role as a swing member in which he occasionally sides with liberal justices, one legal expert at the University of Maryland suggested. 
  • The president can pave the road for future deregulations with one more justice, Myron Ebell, an analyst at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

If President Donald Trump replaces the deceased Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg with a conservative stalwart, then attempts to pull back on the president’s environmental regulatory rollbacks through the courts could be thwarted, some academics and legal experts say.

Putting another conservative justice on the Supreme Court of the United States before Inauguration Day could also diminish former Vice President Joe Biden’s chances of implementing a wide-ranging climate change plan in the event he defeats Trump in November, according to Jody Freeman, director of Harvard Law School’s environmental and energy law program.

“A further tilt of the Court in the direction it is already going … certainly won’t help the cause of environmental protection,” Freedman told the Washington Post Monday. Freedman cited what he believed was the conservative-leaning court’s skeptical position on regulations as reason to believe that the “cause for environmental protection” is in jeopardy.

Ginsburg, an 87-year-old liberal icon on the SCOTUS, died Friday due to complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer. Trump initially told reporters Saturday that he plans to announce a nominee “next week” before pushing back his timeline Monday, citing memorial services for Ginsburg.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a Sept. 18 statement that the Senate would vote on Trump’s nominee.

A legal decision from 2007 giving activists the opportunity to sue over climate change could be at risk under a more conservative court, according to one expert, which could endanger former President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan.

Obama signed the 2016 rule in an attempt to rein in greenhouse gas emissions from coal power plants. SCOTUS issued a stay on its implementation in 2016.

Conservative justices could use the Clean Power Plan as a Trojan horse to undermine the 2007 ruling in Massachusetts v. the Environmental Protection Agency, which required the agency to regulate carbon dioxide and allowed states and advocacy groups to sue over climate change issues, Michael Gerrard, an environmental law professor at Columbia Law School, told the Post.

“If Trump is able to name Ginsburg’s replacement, that decision becomes a big target for those who want to shut down EPA regulation of greenhouse gases,” Gerrard said, referring to the 2007 case. 

The Environmental Protection Agency under the helm of former Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt introduced a replacement plan in 2018 called the Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule, which asks states to improve coal plant efficiency. The Clean Power Plan, on the other hand, mandated that such plants reduce gas emissions.

Some experts believe the Clean Power Plan would force plants to close. (RELATED: Here’s How Trump’s Environmental Legacy Stacks Up With Obama’s Record)

Democrat-led states and environmental groups sued the government to toss out the ACE, leading to a potential showdown at the SCOTUS. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is preparing to hear arguments regarding the ACE in October, according to The Washington Post. Trump’s regulatory rollbacks are pending in the lower courts, legal experts argue.

“The lower courts have played a powerful role in restraining the Trump administration,” Thomas McGarity, an environmental law professor at the University of Texas at Austin, told the Post. “Nearly all of the Trump administration’s rollbacks of Obama administration environmental initiatives are still pending in the lower courts and will therefore be ripe for review” in SCOTUS.

The president rolled back more than 90 environmental rules and regulations during his first three years in office, including many of the regulations imposed by his predecessor, The New York Times reported in December 2019. The NYT relied on an analysis from Harvard Law SchoolColumbia Law School and other sources to keep tabs on Trump’s numbers during his time in office.

In addition, a SCOTUS containing six conservative justices would create a seemingly insurmountable barrier for a future Democratic president, McGarity added.

“If the people elect a new president and put both houses of Congress in the control of the Democrats, the Supreme Court with six conservatives could provide a hurdle that the agencies under new leadership will have a hard time overcoming,” he said.

Myron Ebell, an analyst at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, agreed that Trump’s nominee, if confirmed, will likely make the president’s moves to peel back Obama’s environmental rules a permanent fixture in government. Ebell worked on Trump’s EPA transition team and is a fervent critic of Obama’s policies.

“I think the Supreme Court before Justice Ginsburg’s death was quite likely to uphold most of the Trump administration’s environmental and energy deregulatory actions,” Ebell told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “The new court could be prepared to go much further in terms of striking down legislation and limiting deference to agencies.”

Chief Justice John Robert’s position as the court’s swing member, occasionally siding with the SCOTUS’ liberal justices, will be diminished, Robert Percival, professor and director of the environmental law program at the University of Maryland, told the Post.

“If a sixth conservative Justice is confirmed before Trump leaves office, Chief Justice Roberts no longer will be the swing vote and the other five conservatives would be free to embrace more extreme interpretations of the environmental laws,” Percival said. Roberts joined Ginsburg in April in ruling that a Hawaiian treatment plant could not exploit a loophole to avoid getting a Clean Water Act permit.

SCOTUS ruled 6 to 3 in April that the wastewater treatment plant could not avoid provisions of the rule prohibiting the release of pollutants into rivers, lakes and seas, by pumping the pollutants first into groundwater. The Trump administration determined that the Clean Water Act permitted the treatment plant to avoid a permit through the measurer, according to the Post.

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via Watts Up With That?

September 22, 2020 at 12:05PM

Temperatures have been FALLING for the past 8,000 years

The ‘hottest year ever’ is a lie.

Temperatures have been FALLING for the past 8,000 years

By Ray Kraft

Short term variations, local record hots and colds, don’t mean much, that’s just weather. What matters is long term global trend lines over decades, centuries, millennia, eons, epochs.

Expanded record of temperature change since the end of the last glacial period

The only ‘normal’ in climate is constant change

Some places are hotter than average and some places are cooler than average on any particular day (I don’t use ‘normal’ because the only ‘normal’ in climate is constant change).

Average global temps
In the 1880s:                 56.7 F.
1920s to 1980s:             57.2 F.
Circa 2000 to 2010:     58.1 F.

These are not ‘hot’ temps. Below 60 degrees F most people start putting on sweaters and jackets. At 58 degrees F in your living room you’re probably gonna turn up the heat! It is a good temp for longer term wine storage.

Source of graph (I [Robert] added the red arrow):

Thanks to Ray Kraft for these links

The post Temperatures have been FALLING for the past 8,000 years appeared first on Ice Age Now.

via Ice Age Now

September 22, 2020 at 11:29AM

Walter Russell Mead: Appeasing China Won’t Cool the Earth

A President Biden would face pressure from climate hawks to go easy on Beijing.

As policy makers in Beijing weigh their options in the event of a Biden victory, one of the subjects that will most engage their attention is climate change. Joe Biden has repeatedly stated that he will put the goal of slowing climate change at the heart of U.S. foreign policy.

Washington would rejoin the Paris Climate Accords and urge all countries to enact measures to keep Earth’s temperature from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels, as the Democratic Party platform states.

China is the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases. Does this mean a Biden administration would add another dimension to U.S.-China tensions? Beijing likely hopes it’ll ease them.

For Chinese officials, the goal would be to get the Biden administration to negotiate with itself—the climate hawks persuading the incoming president to squelch the China hawks to save the planet. Beijing is the key to climate change, climate warriors will say, and America can’t persuade China to help cool the Earth by harassing it on trade, imposing sanctions against its companies, arming Taiwan, and encouraging its neighbors to form alliances against Beijing.

This is an approach China can work with. Beijing wants to fight climate change, its diplomats will whisper to U.S. climate hawks, but Chinese hard-liners need to be convinced. Help us to help you: If America demonstrates a spirit of compromise and cooperation on issues important to the hard-liners, well, who can say? We might even give up our coal plants. Someday.

There are Democrats to whom this will seem like smart statecraft. Global governance, they will tell Americans, transcends the petty stakes of geopolitical competition. Our common interest in saving humanity outweighs ephemeral disputes over maritime boundaries. Can we really let a conflict over Taiwan, a small island that America already officially recognizes as part of China, stand in the way of a climate treaty that could halt extinction?

The Biden team needs to assess Beijing’s position on climate change realistically. Global temperatures aside, China wants to improve the energy efficiency of its economy because energy is a cost. Beijing wants to reduce the country’s reliance on foreign fuel because the U.S. controls the sea lanes through which China’s Middle East imports must flow. It wants to mandate a shift from internal combustion engines to electric vehicles because this would destroy German and Japanese competitive advantages in the automobile industry.

A new technology would give Chinese car companies a chance to occupy the industry’s commanding heights. Beijing wants to reduce water and air pollution in and around China’s great cities because residents, including powerful Communist Party members, like clean water and air.

China’s emissions will slow also because its economy is no longer growing as rapidly as it did during the boom years. As Chinese consumers become older and more affluent, demand will tend to shift to less energy-intensive services, like health care. The information revolution, which is making the world more energy-efficient and reducing humanity’s environmental footprint, is at work in China as well.

Like diplomats from many other countries, Beijing’s climate negotiators spend a lot of time packaging steps their country would take anyway as bold and courageous initiatives demonstrating its altruistic leadership. Because China’s environmental record is so poor, there is much low-hanging fruit still to gather; Beijing can achieve significant progress on emissions while honoring its other policy goals. On the other hand, it will resist any commitments that seriously interfere with its economic and strategic ambitions. The sad reality is that there isn’t all that much difference between the steps China is prepared to take on its own and the steps U.S. pressure might induce it to take.

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The post Walter Russell Mead: Appeasing China Won’t Cool the Earth appeared first on The Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF).

via The Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF)

September 22, 2020 at 10:28AM

Now Facebook Is Censoring Environmentalists

Greenpeace and other eco-activists have had their accounts suspended.

Facebook has suspended the accounts of a number of environmental organisations, reports the Guardian.

Facebook says this was a mistake and that suspended accounts have now been restored. In truth, some are still blocked. Elizabeth Jardim, senior corporate campaigner for Greenpeace USA, told the Guardian: ‘The recent bans… show us that when push comes to shove, Facebook will side with polluters at the cost of their users trying to organise.’

Of course, it is usually the critics of environmentalism, rather than its supporters, who face online censorship. Facebook’s brief suspension of Greenpeace USA comes less than a week after Facebook launched a plan to tackle climate ‘misinformation’. Its ‘climate science information centre’ seeks to counter the spread of climate-related ‘fake news’ on the site. An offending post will appear less in people’s news feeds and will come with a warning label.

Greens have long called on social media to censor the critics of climate alarmism. And their disdain for free speech was clear in Extinction Rebellion’s recent blockade of printing presses.

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The post Now Facebook Is Censoring Environmentalists appeared first on The Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF).

via The Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF)

September 22, 2020 at 10:28AM