U.S. Supreme Court clears way for federal study of greenhouse gas emissions

In a one-sentence order issued last night, the United States Supreme Court has cleared the way for the federal government to study the “social cost” of greenhouse gas emissions. 

“It is essential that agencies capture the full costs of greenhouse gas emissions as accurately as possible, including by taking global damages into account,” reads Section 5 of an executive order issued by President Joe Biden on January 20, 2021.

That order set up an interagency working group to resume the work of calculating those costs, work that had been stopped by the previous administration. Ten states led by Republicans sued to stop the Biden administration from moving forward, and Judge James Cain  of the Western District of Louisiana agreed with them in a February ruling granting an injunction. (read that ruling)

In March, the Fifth Circuit allowed the study to proceed and the matter was appealed to the high court. According to Courthouse News, the one-sentence concurrence allows the study to proceed pending further executive action. 

Locally, work continues on efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and also to prepare for the effects of climate change. The city of Charlottesville will hold a community workshop on June 9 on the Climate Vulnerability Assessment. More info on the city’s website.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruling 

Before you go: The time to write and research of this article is covered by paid subscribers to Charlottesville Community Engagement. In fact, this particular installment comes from the May 27, 2022 edition of the program. To ensure this research can be sustained, please consider becoming a paid subscriber or contributing monthly through Patreon.

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