BSR believes that today’s US Supreme Court hearing in West Virginia v. EPA is a deeply mistaken decision that wrongly undermines the US federal government’s ability to take decisive action to combat dangerous climate change.
As we continue to assess the specifics of the ruling, many things are clear. First and foremost, the science speaks in a way that is more authoritative than the Court, and it is clear that climate action is becoming more and more urgent by the day. Restricting the ability of the EPA, the main environmental regulator in the US, means that the United States will not be able to take steps necessary to shift to a clean energy economy. Signs of further restrictions on other science-based steps to address environmental and other questions are also very troubling.
The damage done by this decision emanates beyond the immediate impacts on the EPA’s regulatory authority. It will undermine American climate diplomacy, at a time when the world’s largest economies must band together to take action on a global basis. Reversal of climate action also creates a public health challenge, one that falls most heavily on women, people of color, and communities with fewer economic resources. It also suggests that the Court, as it showed in its recent decision to overrule and invalidate Roe v. Wade, and weaken states’ authority to enact gun safety legislation, is not only damaging to the rights of Americans, but also out of step with public opinion in ways that weaken its legitimacy.
Today’s decision reinforces the need for ambitious climate action on the part of business, states and cities, civil society, and all of us as citizens. We are pleased that so many companies from across the US supported an amicus brief supporting the EPA’s authority. Even more, thousands of companies have committed to net zero climate strategies, and are investing in new business models, technologies, and transition plans to help lead the way to a clean energy future.
We are convinced that the future depends on this transition. While it is heartening to see action from state and local officials, investors, civil society, and businesses, it is extremely distressing that the Supreme Court has embraced a backwards looking ideological approach that will only create greater cost and economic uncertainty, worse public health outcomes, and even more political division. We will continue to work with our more than 300+ member companies and many partners to achieve a truly just and sustainable world.