New change of foot of the Supreme Court of the United States. The highest court in the country issued a decision on Thursday, June 30, which limits the means of the federal state to fight against greenhouse gases.

Its six conservative judges ruled, against the advice of their three progressive colleagues, that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) could not enact general rules to regulate emissions from coal-fired power plants, which produce nearly 20% of electricity in the United States.

“Putting a cap on carbon dioxide emissions at a level that would require a nationwide move away from coal to generate electricity could be a relevant solution to today’s crisis. But it is implausible that Congress gave the EPA the authority to pass such a measure,” Judge John Roberts wrote in the ruling.

“Today, the Court stripped the Environmental Protection Agency of the power Congress gave it to address ‘the most pressing issue of our time,'” Judge Elena Kagan said in a statement. separate argument written on behalf of progressives. She recalls in particular that the six hottest years were recorded during the last decade.

The decision, which could have a heavy impact on global warming, was immediately welcomed by several Republican governors behind the legal proceedings. On the other hand, it was deemed “catastrophic” by the elected Democrat of the House of Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Reversal of jurisprudence

The case on which the Court ruled on Thursday finds its source in an ambitious plan adopted in 2015 by Barack Obama to reduce CO2 emissions. This “Clean Power Plan”, whose implementation fell to the EPA, had been blocked before entering into force. In 2019, Donald Trump issued his own “Affordable Clean Energy Rule,” limiting EPA’s scope within each power generation site, not allowing it to redesign the entire grid.

A federal court having invalidated this version, several conservative states and the coal industry asked the Supreme Court to intervene and clarify the powers of the EPA. The administration of Democrat Joe Biden had made it known that it did not intend to resurrect Barack Obama’s plan and had asked the High Court to declare the file null and void.

After the about-face on abortion last week, this decision is a new reversal of jurisprudence. In 2007, the Supreme Court had decided by a narrow majority that the EPA was competent to regulate the emissions of gases responsible for global warming, in the same way that it is responsible for limiting air pollution by a law of the years 1960. Since then, former Republican President Donald Trump, climatosceptic and hostile to any restrictive measure for the industry, has brought three magistrates into the temple of American law, thus cementing his conservative majority.