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Photo of air pollution from smoke stack
No silver linings. This is just awful
June 30, 2022

statement from Climate Solutions Executive Director Gregg Small:

I wanted to share my brief thoughts on the Supreme Court decision announced today on climate change.

In short—this is just awful. Effectively, six justices severely restricted the Environmental Protection Agency’s broad authority to regulate climate pollution from power plants. There are no silver linings in this story. Limiting the ability of our federal government to do its job to protect public health is flat out a massive step backwards.  

Yet, another part of this story is that there is a realistic path forward—state, local and private sector action can make a major difference with climate change. This ruling does not impact movement in these areas—and in fact, it now means it matters all the more that we accelerate change in those other forums of power. 

States are acting at a scale that is making a difference by passing very significant policies to cut carbon, grow good jobs, and address racial and economic injustices. The states in which we are working—Washington and Oregon—are at the forefront of leadership, creating a powerful West Coast bloc of action along with California. Illinois, Colorado, New York, New Mexico, Massachusetts, and more are all moving forward. These are large geographies; combined, these leadership states represent more than 30% of the nation's population. 

The private sector is stepping up with more and more businesses making significant climate commitments and taking actions. Local jurisdictions and Washington State are leading on cutting harmful pollution from our buildings. Our region is creating a clean fuels coast and creating more ways to get around through increased public investments in transit and electrification, and more.

All of these steps combined are shifting markets and driving down the price of solutions for heat pumps, solar panels, and electric cars and trucks so they are more affordable and accessible to people throughout the United States.  

I don’t want to sugarcoat what just happened at the Supreme Court. It is a bitter blow. But there are real paths forward: through states, local government, and private sector leadership. We have to keep going and act like our house is on fire—because it is.

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The article was written by Climate Solutions staff. Our individual bios can be found here.

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