What Restricting EPA’s Authority Means

On July 1st, the supreme court decided to restrict EPA’s authority to mandate carbon emissions reductions. Our planet is dying, and because of this decision, we are even further away from being a cleaner planet. In April of 2021, the Biden Administration announced the reduction of greenhouse gas emission objective for 2030, which aims to secure American leadership in renewable energy technology and create well-paying union employment. The Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to enact extensive rules to stop power plants from emitting greenhouse gas emissions was constrained by the Supreme Court following the decision on EPA v West Virginia.

Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times

When it comes to tackling climate change in the United States, this fits within a pattern of retreating and passing up chances. Over $500 million was initially included in the Reconciliation package for combating climate change. This would have been a game-changing plan that included significant environmental justice investments and far-reaching and crucial tax incentives for alternative energy. But the Senate kept putting off passing this measure. Additionally, the US has fallen short of its international financial commitments to assist in preparing the world’s poorest nations for the catastrophic repercussions of climate change. It continues to promote oil and gas incentive programs despite its vow to reduce its use of fossil fuels. Ultimately, it will be more difficult to meet US climate targets and maintain global warming below 1.5 degrees due to this ruling. Rising seas, wildfires, and other effects of climate change are all consequences of our mishandling of the Planet. Since the preindustrial era, the average global temperature has risen by more than 1.8 degrees as a result of pollution from the combustion of fossil fuels.

But let us shift away from what the decision means, and move on to what can be done now. The US still has many options to choose from to achieve for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. One option is requiring coal plants to operate at maximum efficiency, cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 10 to 15%. Another option is to impose requirements that call for coal facilities to be converted to consume natural gas to reduce emissions. These two options won’t eliminate harmful emissions but will reduce up to 40% of them.

Jason Andrew / New York Times

So what can you do? Become more efficient in your energy usage. Even small steps count, for example, walking or biking to a destination, using less water, and choosing sustainable + local-grown foods. If you are the legal age, vote for people who prioritize climate solutions! And for politicians currently in office, add pressure and campaign for more environmentally-friendly acts. Together we can help EPA eliminate harmful carbon emissions.



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Aishi Kapoor

Aishi Kapoor

A senior in high school committed to making a difference and spreading awareness about social issues in her community.