What's at stake for climate change in the legal fight over the Obama administration's power to regulate carbon emissions?
This week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit will hear oral arguments over four major lawsuits challenging the Environmental Protection Agency's authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions linked to climate change. Legal and environmental experts say these lawsuits are the most significant climate change cases to be argued since the Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that EPA has the right to regulate greenhouse gas emissions as pollutants under the Clean Air Act. The court is expected to rule on those lawsuits as early as June.
Washington is also grappling with another, more politicized climate-change debate: Recently-leaked memos from the Heartland Institute indicate that the conservative organization has plans to educate students on purported doubts about the science showing that the planet is warming and human activity is a major cause. Water and climate scientist Peter Gleick admitted he lied to obtain the Heartland documents. Gleick's actions and the memos show how much the debate over climate change has broken down.
What is at stake in the lawsuits regarding EPA's power to regulate greenhouse gas emissions? Will EPA or its challengers, which include a wide range of industry organizations and some states, prevail? Should the Obama administration or Congress do anything on climate change right now?
How, if at all, does the controversy over the Heartland Institute's memos and Gleick's actions affect the debate about climate change?