The high court rules that the EPA does has the authority to regulate carbon dioxide emmisions.
The US Supreme Court has pushed up the political temperature on climate change. And judging by most reporting and analysis, the White House is likely to feel much of that heat.
Across the news media – print, broadcast, and Internet – there was general agreement that, as BusinessWeek.com put it, "the high court's first global warming case is a rebuke to the administration of President George W. Bush."
In essence, the high court told the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) April 2 that it has the authority to regulate the emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that cause climate change.
In clearly acknowledging the existence of global warming, the nation's highest court essentially warned the EPA that it darn well better use its authority or have a very good reason not to.
Echoing many news reports, the Reuters news agency called the decision "a stinging defeat for the Bush administration."
As The Washington Post noted, "the ruling could also lend important authority to efforts by the states either to force the federal government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or to be allowed to do it themselves."
The Post added:
"New York is leading an effort to strengthen regulations on power-plant emissions. California has passed a law seeking to cut carbon dioxide emissions from automobiles starting in 2009; its regulations have been adopted by 10 other states and may soon be adopted by Maryland."
In California, as reported by the Los Angeles Times, news of the high court's decision was greeted enthusiastically by two top public officials.