President Biden has promised other nations, as well as his own, that the US would reduce its emission of greenhouse gases by half by the end of the decade. A Supreme Court ruling Thursday may have put that goal out of reach, the New York Times reports. Experts said achieving such change will become mathematically impossible, given the time left and the tools available. "At this point I don't see any way to hit the kind of targets they laid out," said a climate policy expert at the University of California, San Diego.
Biden called the ruling, which says the Environmental Protection Agency has limited authority to regulate power plants' greenhouse gas emissions, a "devastating decision," per Axios. He said he'll take climate action nevertheless. "My administration will continue using lawful executive authority, including the EPA’s legally-upheld authorities, to keep our air clean, protect public health, and tackle the climate crisis," Biden said in a statement. The planet is warming faster than projections, per CNN, and heading toward more dangerous extreme weather, which would cause worsening water crises and food insecurity, as well as the spread of disease. The rest of the world can't contain the warmup if the US doesn't hit its goals.
Congress could help, but there's been no sign it will. So far, Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin has killed provisions in Biden's legislation to replace coal and gas-fired power plants with wind, solar, and nuclear energy. The West Virginia senator personally profits from keeping the power industry the way it is, the Times found. West Virginia was part of the case decided Thursday, and state officials praised the ruling, saying, "This is about maintaining the separation of powers, not climate change." Also on Thursday, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell threatened to block an unrelated manufacturing bill if Democrats try to pick up the stalled climate legislation, per the AP. (Read more climate change stories.)