Legal Guide

Obama Faces Legal Challenges in Effort to Cut Greenhouse Gases

Global warming. It’s an issue that affects all of us, mostly due to its long term effects including the spreading of diseases, the increased probability of droughts, floods, hurricanes and wildfires—all of which ultimately lead to economic crisis as well. And so, if there’s one thing that most can agree on, it’s the fact that something must be done about it in order to keep global warming under control.

This is a big part of what President Obama’s effort to cut greenhouse gases is all about; due to the amount of carbon dioxide that is coming from many existing power plants and being that carbon dioxide is what plays a significant role in the progression of global warming, the president seeks to implement a plan in which electricity that is generated from coal will no longer be used. Instead, the alternatives that are more efficient and expel less emissions such as gas and renewable energy sources like wind and solar power will be relied upon.

While many environmentally-friendly organizations celebrate the president’s efforts to put this kind of legislation in place, there are others who are in agreement with his motive but not necessarily his approach. That’s because one of the main things that he is seeking to do is alter the Clean Air Act—a bill that many believe can be interpreted a myriad of ways and changing it could cause consequences that we may not be totally prepared for.

According to Ross Eisenberg of the National Association of Manufacturers, it is his opinion that climate policy should not be addressed through modifications made to the Clean Air Act but rather though Congress. He is not alone and it is for this reason that the president is actually in the midst of a lawsuit surrounding this matter.

On the other hand, Kevin Kennedy of the well-known think tank, the World Resources Institute, sees things from the president’s point of view in the sense that encouraging the sole use of renewable energy on federal land will prove to not only be better for the environment, but it will also play a huge role on how the president is remembered once this term comes to an end. Both of these reasons are why this is such a pertinent and time-sensitive matter.

It should also go on record that since all of the details of the president’s proposal has not been shared, there are still others who feel like the lawsuit is a bit premature; that there is an assumption that the President Obama is pushing for stricter changes than may actually be the case. (If you are someone who considering going into environmental law, this is just one example of why it is a progressive career path to consider and you might want to learn more about an LLM program from Vermont Law or a school closer to where you live.)

One thing is for certain, for the amount of greenhouse gases to be lowered, whether it’s at the federal or state level, some changes are going to have to be made. And, it will be interesting to see what the Supreme Court ultimately decides that those changes should be.

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