Supreme Council of the United States A court ruled Thursday that it effectively bars the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating carbon pollution emitted by power plants, a decision that clouds the prospects for swift action on climate change in the world’s largest economy.
As if that weren’t depressing enough, the move also undercuts American competitiveness at a time when the world is moving toward an energy transition that will relegate fossil fuels to the dustbin of history.
The US has nothing resembling a rational national energy policy, partly due to its federal structure and polarized politics. Instead, it has a mix of political carrots and sticks, influenced by countless actors and involved in a complex web of regulations and incentives overseen by a series of states and regulatory agencies.
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The ill-fated Clean Power Plan, and whatever succeeds it, could form the basis of a policy that would put the United States on a competitive footing with other countries racing toward an electrified future. With the decision of the Supreme Court, this possibility no longer exists.
As a result, the US has lagged behind other countries in many key sectors that are heavily influenced by the shift away from fossil fuels that promises a new industrial revolution. We still have one shot at turning things around, but it’s a long one.