by Richard A. Epstein
October 23, 2013
The key event in the Environmental Protection Agency’s campaign to regulate carbon dioxide was the Supreme Court’s decision in Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency. Justice John Paul Stevens, writing for a five-member majority, held that the EPA had a duty to decide whether greenhouse gas emissions from new vehicles are contributing to “air pollution which may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare.” Six years later, the apocalyptic predictions about global warming have not been borne out, notwithstanding the dire rhetoric of Justice Stevens’s opinion. Nonetheless, on this issue, the EPA is unwilling to alter the form or pace of its regulations in light of the new data that shows no trend of global warming. Clearly, the issue is a lot more complicated than was previously thought.