Massachusetts v. EPA: Where are we now? (the left view)

Pamela King reports for the Green Wire Massachusetts v. EPA: Where are we now?.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Environmentalist David Bookbinder:  We’re in a really good position because we’ve defined a word (“air pollutant”), and courts are reluctant to redefine a word.”

In a scathing dissent yesterday, Justice Elena Kagan rebuked her conservative colleagues for chipping away at a key 2007 finding that is foundational to environmental law.

Kagan rebuked her conservative colleagues who formed the six-member majority in West Virginia v. EPA, which said that the federal government exceeded its authority with the 2015 Clean Power Plan, which set systemwide requirements aimed at shifting the power sector from coal to renewable generation.

To reach its conclusion, the majority, led by Chief Justice John Roberts, applied the major questions doctrine, which says Congress must speak clearly when allowing agencies to decide matters of “vast economic and political significance”.

Climate activists protesting outside the Supreme Court yesterday after the court announced its decision in West Virginia v. EPA. Francis Chung/E&E News/POLITICO

Kagan punctuated her introductory sentence with a citation: Massachusetts v. EPA.

West Virginia did not overturn Massachusetts, which in 2007 recognized greenhouse gases as “air pollutants” under the Clean Air Act and that states can sue EPA if it fails to regulate them.

Kagan cites or refers to Massachusetts five times in her dissent. Neither the majority nor a concurring opinion by Justice Neil Gorsuch mentions the case at all.

But West Virginia did take off the table one regulatory option for EPA — the power to determine under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act that the “best system of emission reduction” was for coal-fired plants to either reduce production or shift to renewable generation sources.

The Obama administration had taken that approach in the Clean Power Plan, which was put on hold by the Supreme Court in 2016 and never actually took effect. The Supreme Court’s ruling yesterday invalidated the regulation.

“A decision of such magnitude and consequence rests with Congress itself, or an agency acting pursuant to a clear delegation from that representative body,” Roberts wrote for the majority.

Lisa Heinzerling, a Georgetown University law professor who crafted the winning argument for states and environmentalists in Massachusetts, said she is “struck by how far we’ve come” since the 2007 case. “And I don’t mean that in a good way,” she added.

Heinzerling said that while she doesn’t expect the Supreme Court to overturn Massachusetts, the conservative wing seems willing to strip away meaningful avenues for EPA to regulate emissions from the power sector, the second-biggest contributor of U.S. greenhouse gases.

And the implications go far beyond EPA, she said.

“Any agency rule right now that takes on a new problem in a creative way has a bull’s-eye on it,” she said.

Paul Seby, a shareholder at the firm Greenberg Traurig who represented North Dakota in the West Virginia case, said the Peace Garden State and other challengers have “no bone to pick” with Massachusetts.

It is well-established that greenhouse gas emissions are air pollutants subject to regulation by EPA and the states, he said. The question in this case, he added, concerned states’ role under Clean Air Act Section 111(d) in making greenhouse gas regulatory decisions for existing sources within their borders.

EPA’s role, Seby said, is to issue guidelines for emissions control by the states and provide support and information about tools to achieve the Clean Air Act’s aims — not act as a national energy regulator.

“We accept the premise of Massachusetts v. EPA,” Seby said. “It’s just a question of who implements that in the provisions of the statute.”

‘Hard look’ at EPA

The Supreme Court has taken on other EPA climate cases in the years since Massachusetts.

In the 2011 case American Electric Power Co. v. Connecticut, the Supreme Court said EPA authority’s climate authority preempted a litany of public nuisance lawsuits against corporations for greenhouse gas emissions. And in 2014’s Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA, the Supreme Court cabined the agency’s authority by finding that its regulation of vehicle emissions did not automatically trigger permitting requirements for stationary sources.

Yesterday’s ruling in West Virginia is in keeping with the trajectory of these cases, said Allison Wood, a partner at the firm McGuireWoods who was involved in Massachusetts, AEP and UARG.

“The court is willing to allow the regulation of greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act — that’s Massachusetts — but it’s going to take a hard look at what EPA tries to do under the Clean Air Act and make sure that it hews closely to the statute,” she said. “And here in the West Virginia case, they found that what the Obama EPA was trying to do in the Clean Power Plan went too far.”

But environmental lawyers have expressed concern that the Supreme Court’s six-justice conservative majority could find ways in future cases to upend the Massachusetts decision.

Jeffrey Bossert Clark, the lawyer whose lower court victory in Massachusetts was later overturned by the Supreme Court, wrote on Twitter yesterday that West Virginia was “a July 4th birthday present” for the nation.

As head of the Justice Department’s environment division under former President Donald Trump, Clark oversaw the defense of the Affordable Clean Energy rule, which gutted the Clean Power Plan and was later struck down by a federal appeals court, paving the way for the West Virginia case.

He now faces allegations that he worked with the former president to pursue baseless fraud claims in the 2020 election (E&E Daily, June 24).

[Baseless?  Take your heads out of the sand!]

Clark added on Twitter yesterday that the Supreme Court’s ruling in Massachusetts might have “come out the other way” under the major questions doctrine and called for the case to be “reconsidered.”

Concerns about the stability of settled law were heightened last week after the court in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization overturned nearly 50 years of legal precedent recognizing the constitutional right to an abortion (Greenwire, June 24).

Massachusetts is “slowly becoming insulated as precedent, but we’ve seen what this court thinks about precedent,” said David Bookbinder, chief counsel at the Niskanen Center. “I’d be more confident about that if Dobbs hadn’t been decided last week.”

But Bookbinder, who represented environmentalists in Massachusetts, drew a distinction between constitutional issues in cases like Dobbs and fights over the definitions of terms in statutes — such as “air pollutant” in the Clean Air Act.

“Dobbs makes me uneasy because they’re really cavalier about precedent,” he said, “but we’re in a really good position because we’ve defined a word, and courts are reluctant to redefine a word.”

Postscript

So CO2, the stuff of life for plants and animals, including humans, lawyers now term an “air pollutant.”  Add it to the list of things that have been turned upside down by progressive would-be tyrants playing word games.

Progressive, instead of Socialist or Marxist

Woke, instead of Brainwashed

They, instead of Gender Confused

Mansplain, instead of Point Taken

Latinx, instead of Hispanic

Antifa, instead of Leftist Hoodlums

Inclusive, instead of Tolerant

Social Justice, instead of Endless Conflict

Top Surgery and Bottom Surgery, instead of Sexual Mutilation

Unvaccinated, instead of Herd Immunity

Racist, instead of Color Blind

Birthing Person, instead of Mother

And so on, and so on. . .

 

 

Finland’s Self-imposed Climate Lockdown

You’d think that politicians had learned to forego climate virtue-signaling after seeing the lawfare tactics that they will suffer.  And yet, Finland bravely goes where smarter angels fear to tread.  As the Helsinki Times reports New Climate Change Act into force in July.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

The Climate Change Act lays the foundation for national work on climate change in Finland. The reformed Act sets emission reductions targets for 2030, 2040 and 2050. Now the target of a carbon-neutral Finland by 2035 has for the first time been laid down by law.

The Government submitted the bill for approval on 9 June. The President of the Republic is to approve the Act on 10 June and it will enter into force on 1 July 2022.

“The new Climate Change Act is vital for Finland. The Climate Change Act ensures that ambitious climate work will continue across government terms. The Act shows the world how we can built a carbon-neutral welfare state by 2035. It is also a strong signal for companies that in Finland clean solutions are well worth investing in,” says Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Maria Ohisalo.

Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Maria Ohisalo at a press event in Helsinki. LEHTIKUVA

The Act lays down provisions on the climate change policy plans. The scope of the Act will be extended to also cover emissions from the land use sector, i.e. land use, forestry and agriculture, and it will for the first time include the objective to strengthen carbon sinks.

“Including land use in the Climate Change Act is a significant improvement. We have a lot of opportunities to reduce emissions and strengthen carbon sinks in the land use sector – in forests, construction and agriculture,” Minister Ohisalo says.

The previous Climate Change Act entered into force in 2015, and it set an emission reduction target only for 2050. The new Climate Change Act will include emission reduction targets for 2030 and 2040 that are based on the recommendations of the Finnish Climate Change Panel, and the target for 2050 will be updated.

The emission reduction targets are -60% by 2030, -80% by 2040 and at least -90% but aiming at -95% by 2050, compared to the levels in 1990.

Finns have lost any room to maneuver, or to walk back ill-advised policies should the future be cooler rather than the warming of which they are so certain.  The lawyers will be all over them to prevent any escape.  To use another metaphor, they are lobsters who put themselves into the pots; there will be no getting out or going free.

 

See Also Dutch Judges Dictate Energy Policy

See Also Climate Tyranny By Way of Criminal Law

 

 

 

DOJ Office of Environmental Justice: What’s Wrong?

I can think of five major things wrong with this initiative  But first the announcement news from various sources:

AG Garland:  “Consistent with the President’s Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad, we are issuing a comprehensive environmental justice enforcement strategy,” Garland said. “I am pleased to announce that we are launching the Justice Department’s first-ever Office of Environmental Justice to oversee and help guide the Justice Department’s wide-ranging environmental justice efforts. Like all parts of government, it will get its own acronym: OEJ.”

On Thursday, Garland said the department will prioritize cases that create the greatest impact on communities “most overburdened by environmental harm.”

“Although violations of our environmental laws can happen anywhere, communities of color, indigenous communities, and low-income communities often bear the brunt of the harm caused by environmental crime, pollution, and climate change,” Garland said.

According to The Hill, the Office of Environmental Justice will work with “communities that have been the victims of environmental crimes and requires all 93 U.S. attorneys across the country to designate an environmental justice coordinator to find ‘areas of concern’ in their communities.”

Since taking office, President Biden has launched the “Justice40” initiative, which aims to provide 40% of the benefits of government climate and clean energy investments to “historically disadvantaged communities.”  

What’s wrong with this?  Let’s count five ways.

Distracts from More Pressing Priorities

How about stopping the flood of illegal immigration through the wide-open border controlled by drug cartels?
What about reducing the worst rates of crime in US cities since the 1990s?
Shouldn’t DOJ focus on ending the cruel and unusual punishment of people expressing their free speech rights on January 6, 2020?

Just three examples of widespread injustices ignored or exacerbated by this DOJ.  We could add treating parents of school children as “domestic terrorists”.  Also firing workers and discharging soldiers for their vaccine status.  And so on, and so on.

Actually Enforcing Existing Laws Solves the Stated Problem 

Garland:  “Although violations of our environmental laws can happen anywhere, communities of color, indigenous communities, and low-income communities often bear the brunt of the harm caused by environmental crime, pollution, and climate change”

Garland’s remarks represent contemptible propaganda. As if smog and air pollution are wafting through cities, only affecting citizens with darker skin pigmentation. And, as if the communities referenced by Garland aren’t interspersed with other groups, at all, living exclusively in homogeneous neighborhoods. Such total nonsense and rubbish.

Every state already has an environmental state protection agency and access to the EPA. Anyone who finds or thinks they have discovered an environmental problem, can call these agencies, and the agencies will send some one to investigate. Currently the EPA investigates & gives evidence to the U.S. Attorneys Office in their District. It is examined & determined if there is enough evidence for a case to be brought against the individuals involved.

If what he says about “anywhere” is true, how about just enforcing the existing laws, with the existing agencies and offices, and without the expansion, expense, and bloat that he proposes? Such enforcement would, by its nature, address these problems in minority communities in proportion to their spatial distribution and criticality.

I have absolutely no idea what this new agency will do, except using more taxpayer money to fund it. What I suspect is that they’ll give more money to low income areas, for what exactly, will never be explained.

Covers for an Agenda to Cancel Climatist Dissenters

A naïve person might think is that this would “merely” be some kind of ecological jihad against “dirty” things like power lines, gas lines, and other things that prop up the modern world and keep America’s economy humming. But of course this is thinking too small,  underestimating the awfulness Garland and minions have in store for us.

So instead we have another paean to Gaia with the old “Climate Change” nonsense, thus bringing the DOJ into obviously redistributionist grounds, and turf that you’d expect would be the purview of the EPA. Because what we really needed in Current Year with political prisoners from Jan 6th still rotting away is yet another batch of heretics to harass and disappear.

There is no coherent definition of “environmental justice”. That is deliberate. It provides a means by which the government can act against any citizen for any reason it wants. It is the establishment of yet another department of the American Stasi, just like biden’s ministry of “truth”.

WOTUS (Waters of the US) EPA rule is still murky after all these years. And what, pray tell, is the definition of “environmental crime” and “environmental justice”, what is the legal and judicial rationale for establishing such an agency and why is such a redundant agency an imperative now when no such need has ever been identified and implemented before?

Be warned, ESG (environmental, social and governance) standards for corporations are being developed as we speak. They are being worked on internationally and created out of thin air. The DOJ and our government will beat us all – organizations and individuals – into submission with this.

Turns a Blind Eye to Real Environmental Degradation by Wind and Solar Farms

I am assuming the penalty for killing a tree will be harsher then the penalties for robbery and assault by Dem AGs. So will hunting and fishing be listed as crimes against the environment. Things just keep getting more and more weird. I hope the silent majority is paying attention and votes like their life depends on it this November.

Even if wind power curbs CO2 emissions, wind installations injure, maim, and kill hundreds of thousands of birds each year in clear violation of federal law. Any marginal reduction in emissions comes at the expense of protected bird species, including bald and golden eagles

To put this in perspective, powering the entire nation with wind and solar would require over 42 million acres — 18 times the size of Yellowstone National Park! This is at least 10 times the land footprint of our current energy system. The environmental destruction this effort would cause cannot be overstated.

But wait, there’s more! Both wind and solar generation also require massive amounts of elements like lithium, cobalt, and neodymium that are difficult and environmentally hazardous to mine. The tales of rare earth mines leaving behind lakes of toxic sludge in China and children as young as four mining cobalt in the Congo are chilling.

Unfortunately, most wind turbines and solar panels are expected to last only 20 to 30 years, and recycling them is still prohibitively expensive. A recent study estimates a whopping 8 million tons of solar panels will be sent to landfills by 2030, ballooning to 80 million tons by 2050. If renewable energy use grows at the projected scale, solar panels alone will represent 10% of global electronic waste — potentially leaching toxic chemicals all the while.

Another Excuse to Expand Governmental Social Control and Bureaucracy

This new office is nothing but wasting more money of the taxpayer. It appears Biden is creating more government jobs for his democrat friends.

But the real danger of an “environmental justice” office is, as with anything having to do with the enforcement of environmental laws, the government’s tendency to wildly overregulate with no means for private citizens or companies to correct the overreach.  It won’t be long before we’re writing about some OEJ idiocy that demonstrates why fanatics and ideologues should never be put in any position where they can exercise power.

With an Office for Environmental Justice, we are one step closer to a chinese-style social credit system. This is worse the the Ministry Of Truth down the street at Homeland Security because they can sue. 

FERC Aims to Decarbonize, Shoots Down Energy Security

Marlo Lewis explains the Biden regime push to undermine critical energy supply in pursuit of climate virtue in his CEI article Why FERC’s Greenhouse Gas Regulatory Policy Cannot Pass a Cost-Benefit Test.  Excerpt in italics with my bolds.

Today, the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) filed comments on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) proposal to consider climate change impacts in reviews of infrastructure projects under the Natural Gas Act (NGA). The comments were jointly submitted by my CEI colleague Patrick Michaels; Heritage Foundation Chief Statistician, Data Scientist, and Senior Research Fellow Kevin Dayaratna (commenting as an independent scholar rather than as a representative of any organization); and yours truly.

We submitted comments back in January on FERC’s November 2021 technical conference on the same issues. We advised FERC to steer clear of climate policy, for three main reasons.

1.  Decarbonizing Goals Conflict with Natural Gas Act Purpose

First, the Biden administration’s NetZero agenda to decarbonize and degasify the U.S. electric power sector cannot lawfully be aligned with the Natural Gas Act. Biden’s goals conflict with the NGA’s “principal purpose,” which is to:

 “encourage the orderly development of plentiful supplies
of electricity and natural gas at reasonable prices.”

In addition, climate change is not a factor Congress authorized FERC to consider. The words “climate,” “carbon,” “greenhouse,” “global,” “warming,” “mitigate,” or any of their cognates do not occur in the Act.

2.  Infrastructure Emissions Do Not Threaten the Environment

Second, although the direct and indirect emissions of natural gas infrastructure may be “reasonably foreseeable,” the climate effects are not. FERC’s project reviews are governed by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which requires scrutiny of major federal actions “significantly affecting the human environment.” Even the emissions of the largest natural gas projects are too small to discernibly affect global climate, and no project’s “carbon footprint” is big enough to influence the fate or fortunes of any community, business, or human being anywhere in the world.

3.  Social Cost of Carbon Is Speculative and Subjective

Third, the social cost of carbon (SCC)—an estimate of the present value of the cumulative climate damages of an incremental ton of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions—is too speculative and subjective, and too easily manipulated for political purposes, to be weighed in the same scales with an infrastructure project’s estimated economic benefits. The Biden administration’s SCC estimates are egregiously biased in favor of climate alarm and regulatory ambition, rendering any agency action that relies on them arbitrary and capricious.

Unsurprisingly, FERC did not take our advice, and proceeded in February to adopt an “interim” policy statement on NGA project review and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. That stirred up controversy, including pushback by Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Ranking Member John Barrasso (R-WY). As a result, FERC in March demoted its GHG policy statement from “interim” to “draft,” and extended the comment period until today, April 25.

Unlike several presenters at FERC’s November 2021 technical conference, the draft GHG policy statement does not advocate requiring SCC analysis in NGA determinations of public convenience and necessity. Neither, however, does FERC disavow an intent to require it in later policy statements. The Commission may simply be waiting for the Biden administration’s Interagency Working Group (IWG) to finalize its interim SCC estimates, or for courts to resolve Louisiana’s challenge to federal agencies’ use of those metrics.

The Commission’s draft GHG policy statement establishes a “rebuttable presumption that proposed projects with 100,000 metric tons per year of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e) emissions will be deemed to have a significant impact on climate change.” FERC also implies that it may condition project approval on the sponsor’s plans to “mitigate all or a portion of the project’s climate change impacts.”

The camel’s nose is already under the tent.

It is not hard to guess where this is going if FERC does not quickly reverse course. The usual suspects will pressure the Commission to:

(1) progressively lower climate significance thresholds,
(2) monetize undetectably small project-related climate “impacts” using agenda-driven SCC estimates, and
(3) either reject needed natural gas infrastructure projects outright or impose mitigation requirements that render them uneconomic.

This is bad policy, as Michaels, Dayaratna, and I explained in our January 7 comments. If an infrastructure project is commercially viable and helps ensure plentiful supplies of electricity and natural gas at reasonable prices (the NGA’s principal purpose), the Commission knows in advance that the project’s economic benefits far exceed its climate-related externalities. Therefore, no further investigation of the project’s GHG emissions is required, nor does it make sense to condition the certificate of public convenience and necessity on the project’s adoption of mitigation measures.

Conclusion

New research by Dayaratna (hereafter “Heritage analysis”) further confirms that conclusion. Using the U.S. government’s leading energy and climate policy models, the Heritage analysis demonstrates that banning construction of new U.S. pipelines would have a negligible effect on U.S. annual CO2 emissions through 2050 and, thus, a similarly negligible effect on global temperatures through 2100. The policy implication for FERC is clear. No level of overregulation or prohibition that regulators might apply to the development of U.S. natural gas pipelines could meaningfully affect the Earth’s climate.

Consequently, no regulation or prohibition of new natural gas pipelines could possibly be worth the economic losses imposed on construction companies, natural gas producers, and energy consumers.

See Also Seeking Climate and Energy Security

Supply Chains Doomed by Carbon Accounting

Vince Bielski explains how proposed SEC accounting for CO2 emissions will grind product supply chains to a halt.  His Real Clear Investigations article is The Green U.S. Supply-Chain Rules Set to Unspool and Rattle the Global Economy. Excerpts in italics with my bolds and added images.

Making a box of Cocoa Puffs is a complicated global affair. It could start with cocoa farms in Africa, corn fields in the U.S. or sugar plantations in Latin America. Then thousands of processors, transporters, packagers, distributors, office workers and retailers join the supply chain before a kid in Minnesota, where General Mills is based, pours the cereal into a bowl.

Now imagine the challenge that General Mills faces in counting the greenhouse gas emissions from all of these people, machines, vehicles, buildings and other products involved in this Cocoa Puff supply chain – then multiply that by the 100-plus brands belonging to the food giant.

Thousands of public companies may soon have such a daunting task to comply with a new set of climate rules proposed by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Hailed by prominent environmental groups as a long sought victory, the sweeping plan released in late March would force companies to grapple with the unpredictable impact of climate change by disclosing reams of new information to investors. What are your company’s climate risks, such as severe weather, and the possible financial impacts? How have the threats affected your business strategies and what’s the plan to avoid the dangers? The most consequential and controversial piece of the SEC’s proposed regulations would require corporations to calculate their total greenhouse gas footprint, including from the supply chain.

The regulations also carry political weight for Democrats in the runup to the midterms in November. The Biden administration and centrist Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia are trying once again to breathe life into clean energy legislation that died earlier this year amid a feud between them. If this latest effort at compromise fails – with Manchin reportedly looking for federal support for fossil fuels as well as renewable energy – then much of President Biden’s ambitious climate agenda will be left riding on the SEC proposal.

SEC head Gary Gensler says shareholders are demanding climate risk disclosures to make smarter investment decisions and hold companies accountable for “greenwashing” their operations. The regulations will also provide investors in the Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) movement more leverage in their ongoing campaigns to pressure companies to reduce their carbon footprints.

While many companies like Walmart and business groups like the Chamber of Commerce generally support the idea of required climate disclosures, they object to what they see as the SEC’s heavy-handedness in standardizing rules across the economy. The Chamber is calling for flexibility so companies can customize their climate disclosures based on what’s relevant to their businesses and investors.

Measuring the global supply chain is a tall order — “mind-boggling and certainly unprecedented.” Pixabay

The biggest beef from companies is the rule that would require them to calculate and disclose supply chain emissions, called Scope 3.

Big companies have thousands of suppliers operating in hundreds of countries, making the task of coming up with a reasonable accounting enormously complicated. First of all, many suppliers of products and services are private companies not under the control of the SEC. They may refuse to cooperate in a count because of the costs and the implications that they might have to change their business practices to reduce emissions, said Professor Gerald Patchell, who has analyzed the problems of supply chain reporting.

Another obstacle is that many smaller suppliers, like General Mills’ cocoa farmers in Africa, don’t have the capacity to measure the emissions from their own fertilizers, tractors and farming practices. So companies will have to rely on broad country or industry averages that likely don’t reflect the actual emissions created by the suppliers, according to researchers.

“The data that companies will be asked to collect from thousands of suppliers is mind-boggling and certainly unprecedented,” said Patchell, who researches environmental policy and business. “It’s an idealized concept of what can actually be done by a company.”

The upshot is that regulations meant to bring clarity to investors on climate risk may end up providing highly unreliable emissions disclosures, leaving them “worse off,” wrote SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce, a Trump appointee who voted against the 500-page proposal. It “forces investors to view companies through the eyes of a vocal set of stakeholders, for whom a company’s climate reputation is of equal or greater importance than a company’s financial performance.”

“Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.” — Ronald Reagan

Resources

SEC Agency Aims to Legislate US Climate Policy

SEC Warned Off Climate Disclosures Rule

 

 

US Federal Court Rules Against Social Cost of Carbon

Following a Biden Executive Order, in April 2021 several states went to Louisiana District Court to stop implementation of Social Cost of Carbon with respect to federal regulations.  The Memorandum Ruling regarding that case is State of Louisiana et al Versus Joseph R. Biden Jr. et al.  The Plaintiff States are Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, South Dakota, Texas, West Virginia, and Wyoming. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.  H/T Francis Menton

The Issues

The Plaintiff States seek injunctive and declaratory relief on three grounds. First, they assert that the SC-GHG Estimates violate the procedural requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”) as a substantive rule that did not undergo the requisite notice-and-comment process. See 5 U.S.C. § 553.

Second, the Plaintiff States claim that President Biden, through EO 13990, and the IWG lack the authority to enforce the estimates as they are substantively unlawful under the APA and contravene existing law. See 5 U.S.C. § 706(2)(A)–(C).

Third, the Plaintiff States maintain that the Government Defendants acted beyond any congressional authority by basing regulatory policy upon global considerations.

The Plaintiff States request a preliminary injunction:
(1) ordering Defendants to disregard the SC-GHG Estimates and prohibiting them from adopting, employing, treating as binding, or relying upon the work product of the Interagency Working Group (“IWG”);
(2) enjoining Defendants from independently relying upon the IWG’s methodology considering global effects, discount rates, and time horizons; and
(3) ordering Defendants to return to the guidance of Circular A-4, explained infra, in conducting regulatory analysis.

To be clear, the Court is ruling only on the actions of the federal agencies and whether the agencies, by implementing the estimates and considering global effects— violate the APA and whether President Biden upon signing EO 13990, violated the separations of powers clause of the United States Constitution. The Court has the authority to enjoin federal agencies from implementing a rule—mandated by an executive order or not—that violates the APA or violates the separation of powers clause. Importantly, the Court is not opining as to the scientific issues regarding greenhouse gas emissions, their effects on the environment, or whether they contribute to global warming.

The Findings

The Court is persuaded that the Biden Administration’s agencies are using the SCGHG. The Court finds that the Plaintiff States have established injury-in-fact.

Plaintiff States argue that the SC-GHG Estimates “affect[] the states’ ‘quasi-sovereign’ interests by imposing substantial pressure on them to change their” practices and laws to remain in compliance with federal standards. Id. at 153. The Court finds that the Plaintiff States also have standing as they are entitled to special solicitude in the standing inquiry.

The Court finds that EO 13990 contradicts Congress’ intent regarding legislative rulemaking by mandating consideration of the global effects. The Court further finds that the President lacks power to promulgate fundamentally transformative legislative rules in Case 2:21-cv-01074-JDC-KK Document 98 Filed 02/11/22 Page 33 of 44 PageID #: 4175 Page 34 of 44 areas of vast political, social, and economic importance, thus, the issuance of EO 13990 violates the major questions doctrine.

The Court finds that EO 13990 was promulgated without complying with the APA’s notice and comment requirements.

The Plaintiff States thus argue that they have demonstrated multiple independently sufficient grounds to vacate the SC-GHG Estimate and therefore have shown a strong likelihood of success on the merits. The Court agrees and finds that the Plaintiff States have shown a strong likelihood of success on the merits.

Plaintiff States have sufficiently identified the kinds of harms to support injunctive relief. Moreover, the Court finds that the Plaintiff States have made a clear showing of an injury-in-fact, and that such injury “cannot be undone through monetary remedies,” Louisiana v. Biden, 2021 WL 2446010, at *21 (W.D. La. June 15, 2021), such that they need immediate relief now, lest they be unable to ever obtain meaningful judicial relief in the future.

The Court finds that the balance of the injuries weighs substantially in favor of the Plaintiff States.

The Court agrees that the public interest and balance of equities weigh heavily in favor of granting a preliminary injunction.

CONCLUSION For the reasons set forth herein above, the Motion for Preliminary Injunction will be granted in its entirety.

Comment from Manhattan Contrarian

On taking office, the Trump administration took steps to neutralize the SCC, so that not much has been heard from it for a while. But Biden’s EO 13990 caused the Obama-era version to get re-instated. The Biden people claim that they are working on further tweaks to the regulations, but meanwhile a large group of Republican-led states went ahead and commenced litigation.

With a regulatory initiative obviously intended to force a gigantic transformation of the economy without statutory basis, the Biden people defended against the Complaint using every shuck and jive and technicality known to man. The SCC rules were not “final” because the administration was still working on a few more tweaks (and then a few more, and then a few more); the state plaintiffs lacked “standing” because the harm was to citizens rather than the state itself; and so forth. The court was having none of it.

The heart of the court’s decision is its determination that the SCC falls under the Supreme Court’s “major questions doctrine,” under which the bureaucracy cannot on its own authority impose “new obligations of vast economic and political significance” unless Congress “speaks clearly.” The states had identified some 83 pending projects involving something in the range of $447 and $561 billion dollars as affected by the SCC rule. That impressed the court as easily within the concept of “major questions.”

We are at the beginning of what could be a very long battle. The bureaucracy has many ways to wear down its opponents. For example, a permit can simply be delayed indefinitely, without any reason being stated, as occurred for example with the Keystone XL pipeline. But at least here battle lines have finally been drawn.

Supremes to Review EPA Authority Over GHGs

Amy Howe writes at scotusblog Justices agree to review EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Climate change regulation

The litigation over the EPA’s authority comes to the court in a quartet of environmental cases on appeal from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The D.C. Circuit vacated both the Trump administration’s decision to repeal the 2015 Clean Power Plan, which established guidelines for states to limit carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, and the Affordable Clean Energy Rule that the Trump administration issued in its place.

Urging the justices to hear the case, one of the challengers, the North American Coal Corporation, acknowledged that the issue of climate change and how to address it has “enormous importance,” but the company stressed that “[t]hose debates will not be resolved anytime soon.” What the court should resolve, it continued, “as soon as possible is who has the authority to decide those issues on an industry-wide scale — Congress or the EPA.” Unless the justices weigh in, the company warned, “these crucial decisions will be made by unelected agency officials without statutory authority, as opposed to our elected legislators.”

The Biden administration told the justices that there was no need for them to step in now, because the Clean Power Plan “is no longer in effect and EPA does not intend to resurrect it.” Instead, the government explained, it intends to issue a new rule that takes recent changes in the electricity sector into account. “Any further judicial clarification of the scope of EPA’s authority,” the government suggested, “would more appropriately occur” after the agency has actually issued the new rule.

After considering the cases at four consecutive conferences, the justices granted review and ordered the cases to be argued together. The justices’ decision in the case, which is expected by summer 2022, could have an impact well beyond environmental law because it could impose new limits on Congress’ ability to delegate authority to all regulatory agencies.

The lead case is West Virginia v. EPA. It is consolidated with North American Coal Corp. v. EPA, Westmoreland Mining Holdings v. EPA, and North Dakota v. EPA.

Background at previous post 

Latest Court Ruling re EPA and CO2

My comment: I much appreciate Judge Walker’s reprise of the historical journey. After earning my degree in organic chemistry, I am still offended that a bunch of lawyers refer to CO2 as a “pollutant” as though it were an artificial chemical rather than the stuff of life. And it annoys me that the American Lung Association fronted this legal attack, as though CO2 was causing breathing problems in addition to a bit of warming during our present ice age. And that list of ailments solved by reducing CO2 emissions rivals any snake oil poster ever printed.

Observers noted that this ruling produces a kind of limbo: Obama’s Clean Power Plan is out of order, and now Trumps Affordable Clean Energy program is shot down. Likely Biden will try to return to CPP as though Trump never happened, but the same objections will still be raised. Clearly Judge Walker sees the issue headed for the Supreme Court as the stakes are too high for anyone else. After their lack of courage on the 2020 election scandal, who knows what the Supremes will do.

Footnote: See post The Poisonous Tree of Climate Change

The roots of this poisonous tree are found in citing the famous Massachusetts v. E.P.A. (2007) case decided by a 5-4 opinion of Supreme Court justices (consensus rate: 56%). But let’s see in what context lies that reference and whether it is a quotation from a source or an issue addressed by the court. The majority opinion was written by Justice Stevens, with dissenting opinions from Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Scalia. All these documents are available at sureme.justia.com Massachusetts v. EPA, 549 U.S. 497 (2007). The linked post summarized the twisted logic that was applied.

Briefing for Glasgow COP 2021

 

Presently the next climate Conference of Parties is scheduled for Glasgow this November, Covid allowing.  (People used to say “God willing”, or “Weather permitting”, but nowadays it’s a virus in charge.)  Actually, climate hysteria is like a seasonal sickness.  Each year a contagion of anxiety and fear is created by disinformation going viral in both legacy and social media in the run up to the autumnal COP (postponed last year due to pandemic travel restrictions).  Now that climatists have put themselves at the controls of the formidable US federal government, we can expect the public will be hugely hosed with alarms over the next few months.  Before the distress signals go full tilt, individuals need to inoculate themselves against the false claims, in order to build some herd immunity against the nonsense the media will promulgate. This post is offered as a means to that end.

Media Climate Hype is a Cover Up

Back in 2015 in the run up to Paris COP, French mathematicians published a thorough critique of the raison d’etre of the whole crusade. They said:

Fighting Global Warming is Absurd, Costly and Pointless.

  • Absurd because of no reliable evidence that anything unusual is happening in our climate.
  • Costly because trillions of dollars are wasted on immature, inefficient technologies that serve only to make cheap, reliable energy expensive and intermittent.
  • Pointless because we do not control the weather anyway.

The prestigious Société de Calcul Mathématique (Society for Mathematical Calculation) issued a detailed 195-page White Paper presenting a blistering point-by-point critique of the key dogmas of global warming. The synopsis with links to the entire document is at COP Briefing for Realists

Even without attending to their documentation, you can tell they are right because all the media climate hype is concentrated against those three points.

Finding: Nothing unusual is happening with our weather and climate.
Hype: Every metric or weather event is “unprecedented,” or “worse than we thought.”

Finding: Proposed solutions will cost many trillions of dollars for little effect or benefit.
Hype: Zero carbon will lead the world to do the right thing.  Anyway, the planet must be saved at any cost.

Finding: Nature operates without caring what humans do or think.
Hype: Any destructive natural event is blamed on humans burning fossil fuels.

How the Media Throws Up Flak to Defend False Suppositions

The Absurd Media:  Climate is Dangerous Today, Yesterday It was Ideal.

Billions of dollars have been spent researching any and all negative effects from a warming world: Everything from Acne to Zika virus.  A recent Climate Report repeats the usual litany of calamities to be feared and avoided by submitting to IPCC demands. The evidence does not support these claims. An example:

 It is scientifically established that human activities produce GHG emissions, which accumulate in the atmosphere and the oceans, resulting in warming of Earth’s surface and the oceans, acidification of the oceans, increased variability of climate, with a higher incidence of extreme weather events, and other changes in the climate.

Moreover, leading experts believe that there is already more than enough excess heat in the climate system to do severe damage and that 2C of warming would have very significant adverse effects, including resulting in multi-meter sea level rise.

Experts have observed an increased incidence of climate-related extreme weather events, including increased frequency and intensity of extreme heat and heavy precipitation events and more severe droughts and associated heatwaves. Experts have also observed an increased incidence of large forest fires; and reduced snowpack affecting water resources in the western U.S. The most recent National Climate Assessment projects these climate impacts will continue to worsen in the future as global temperatures increase.

Alarming Weather and Wildfires

But: Weather is not more extreme.


And Wildfires were worse in the past.
But: Sea Level Rise is not accelerating.

post-glacial_sea_level

Litany of Changes

Seven of the ten hottest years on record have occurred within the last decade; wildfires are at an all-time high, while Arctic Sea ice is rapidly diminishing.

We are seeing one-in-a-thousand-year floods with astonishing frequency.

When it rains really hard, it’s harder than ever.

We’re seeing glaciers melting, sea level rising.

The length and the intensity of heatwaves has gone up dramatically.

Plants and trees are flowering earlier in the year. Birds are moving polewards.

We’re seeing more intense storms.

But: Arctic Ice has not declined since 2007.

But: All of these are within the range of past variability.In fact our climate is remarkably stable, compared to the range of daily temperatures during a year where I live.

And many aspects follow quasi-60 year cycles.

The Impractical Media:  Money is No Object in Saving the Planet.

Here it is blithely assumed that the court can rule the seas to stop rising, heat waves to cease, and Arctic ice to grow (though why we would want that is debatable).  All this will be achieved by leaving fossil fuels in the ground and powering civilization with windmills and solar panels.  While admitting that our way of life depends on fossil fuels, they ignore the inadequacy of renewable energy sources at their present immaturity.

 

An Example:
The choice between incurring manageable costs now and the incalculable, perhaps even irreparable, burden Youth Plaintiffs and Affected Children will face if Defendants fail to rapidly transition to a non-fossil fuel economy is clear. While the full costs of the climate damages that would result from maintaining a fossil fuel-based economy may be incalculable, there is already ample evidence concerning the lower bound of such costs, and with these minimum estimates, it is already clear that the cost of transitioning to a low/no carbon economy are far less than the benefits of such a transition. No rational calculus could come to an alternative conclusion. Defendants must act with all deliberate speed and immediately cease the subsidization of fossil fuels and any new fossil fuel projects, and implement policies to rapidly transition the U.S. economy away from fossil fuels.

But CO2 relation to Temperature is Inconsistent.

But: The planet is greener because of rising CO2.

But: Modern nations (G20) depend on fossil fuels for nearly 90% of their energy.

But: Renewables are not ready for prime time.

People need to know that adding renewables to an electrical grid presents both technical and economic challenges.  Experience shows that adding intermittent power more than 10% of the baseload makes precarious the reliability of the supply.  South Australia is demonstrating this with a series of blackouts when the grid cannot be balanced.  Germany got to a higher % by dumping its excess renewable generation onto neighboring countries until the EU finally woke up and stopped them. Texas got up to 29% by dumping onto neighboring states, and some like Georgia are having problems.

But more dangerous is the way renewables destroy the economics of electrical power.  Seasoned energy analyst Gail Tverberg writes:

In fact, I have come to the rather astounding conclusion that even if wind turbines and solar PV could be built at zero cost, it would not make sense to continue to add them to the electric grid in the absence of very much better and cheaper electricity storage than we have today. There are too many costs outside building the devices themselves. It is these secondary costs that are problematic. Also, the presence of intermittent electricity disrupts competitive prices, leading to electricity prices that are far too low for other electricity providers, including those providing electricity using nuclear or natural gas. The tiny contribution of wind and solar to grid electricity cannot make up for the loss of more traditional electricity sources due to low prices.

These issues are discussed in more detail in the post Climateers Tilting at Windmills

The Irrational Media:  Whatever Happens in Nature is Our Fault.

An Example:

Other potential examples include agricultural losses. Whether or not insurance
reimburses farmers for their crops, there can be food shortages that lead to higher food
prices (that will be borne by consumers, that is, Youth Plaintiffs and Affected Children).
There is a further risk that as our climate and land use pattern changes, disease vectors
may also move (e.g., diseases formerly only in tropical climates move northward).36 This
could lead to material increases in public health costs

But: Actual climate zones are local and regional in scope, and they show little boundary change.

But: Ice cores show that it was warmer in the past, not due to humans.

The hype is produced by computer programs designed to frighten and distract children and the uninformed.  For example, there was mention above of “multi-meter” sea level rise.  It is all done with computer models.  For example, below is San Francisco.  More at USCS Warnings of Coastal Floodings

In addition, there is no mention that GCMs projections are running about twice as hot as observations.

Omitted is the fact GCMs correctly replicate tropospheric temperature observations only when CO2 warming is turned off.

Figure 5. Simplification of IPCC AR5 shown above in Fig. 4. The colored lines represent the range of results for the models and observations. The trends here represent trends at different levels of the tropical atmosphere from the surface up to 50,000 ft. The gray lines are the bounds for the range of observations, the blue for the range of IPCC model results without extra GHGs and the red for IPCC model results with extra GHGs.The key point displayed is the lack of overlap between the GHG model results (red) and the observations (gray). The nonGHG model runs (blue) overlap the observations almost completely.

In the effort to proclaim scientific certainty, neither the media nor IPCC discuss the lack of warming since the 1998 El Nino, despite two additional El Ninos in 2010 and 2016.

Further they exclude comparisons between fossil fuel consumption and temperature changes. The legal methodology for discerning causation regarding work environments or medicine side effects insists that the correlation be strong and consistent over time, and there be no confounding additional factors. As long as there is another equally or more likely explanation for a set of facts, the claimed causation is unproven. Such is the null hypothesis in legal terms: Things happen for many reasons unless you can prove one reason is dominant.

Finally, advocates and IPCC are picking on the wrong molecule. The climate is controlled not by CO2 but by H20. Oceans make climate through the massive movement of energy involved in water’s phase changes from solid to liquid to gas and back again. From those heat transfers come all that we call weather and climate: Clouds, Snow, Rain, Winds, and Storms.

Esteemed climate scientist Richard Lindzen ended a very fine recent presentation with this description of the climate system:

I haven’t spent much time on the details of the science, but there is one thing that should spark skepticism in any intelligent reader. The system we are looking at consists in two turbulent fluids interacting with each other. They are on a rotating planet that is differentially heated by the sun. A vital constituent of the atmospheric component is water in the liquid, solid and vapor phases, and the changes in phase have vast energetic ramifications. The energy budget of this system involves the absorption and reemission of about 200 watts per square meter. Doubling CO2 involves a 2% perturbation to this budget. So do minor changes in clouds and other features, and such changes are common. In this complex multifactor system, what is the likelihood of the climate (which, itself, consists in many variables and not just globally averaged temperature anomaly) is controlled by this 2% perturbation in a single variable? Believing this is pretty close to believing in magic. Instead, you are told that it is believing in ‘science.’ Such a claim should be a tip-off that something is amiss. After all, science is a mode of inquiry rather than a belief structure.

Summary:  From this we learn three things:

Climate warms and cools without any help from humans.

Warming is good and cooling is bad.

The hypothetical warming from CO2 would be a good thing.

 

Climatist Insurrection Enters New Phase

Previously the insurrection by climate anti-fossil fuel acitvists took the form of sabotaging oil and gas infrastructure, led notably by the “valve turners”, who were arrested and mostly let off the hook in a series of high profile trials.  This phase broke down after numerous states enacted serious penalties for attacks on energy projects and infrastructure. Also, with the Biden administration climatists hoped for swift federal action to shut down oil and gas production and supply. See Securing Pipelines Against Disrupters

Disappointed with lack of progress on their “leave it in the ground” agenda, activists are now attempting to occupy federal buildings to intimidate public officials into action.  This could be a precursor of more insurrection events far more serious than anything happening on Jan.6, 2021.

Michael Austin reports at The Western Journal  ‘Insurrection’? Climate Change Protesters Attempt to Storm Interior Department Building.  H/T John Ray.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

The Jan. 6 Capitol incursion was not an insurrection, as many left-wing politicians and pundits have claimed.  Sure, some of those present during the incursion were rioters who broke the law. They should be punished accordingly.

 On Thursday, Oct. 14,  a large group of climate change protesters tried to enter the Department of the Interior, according to Ellie Silverman, a reporter for The Washington Post.

“Climate protesters are now rallying outside the Department of the Interior. They’re trying to get inside but police are blocking the entrance. I can see a few Indigenous women through the doorway who are sitting on the floor inside the building and linking arms,” Silverman tweeted.

She further noted that “protesters are remaining on the steps and won’t move out of the doorway where several police are blocking passage into the building.”

If these activists happened to be conservatives protesting against vaccine mandates or Bidenflation, the media would be covering it ad nauseam.

Panicky headlines declaring the return of the Jan. 6 “insurrectionists” would spread like wildfire across social media.

But instead, since the protesters happen to be supporting a cause backed by the establishment elite, the media has remained largely silent.

P.S. I don’t think of these protesters or those at the capital 6/1/21 as “insurrectionists.” But if that is the term used to imprison 6/1/21 participants and remove their civil rights, then it should also be applied here. We do not know whether these disturbances will evolve into riots like those in Portland where the Federal Courthouse was vandalized by insurrectionists, never held accountable.

Scottish High Court Dismisses Greenpeace “End-Use Emissions” Argument

The Guardian reports on the ruling in its article Greenpeace loses North Sea Vorlich field legal challenge.  H/T Tallbloke’s Talkshop  Excerpts in my bolds.

Permission to drill the Vorlich site off Aberdeen was given to BP in 2018.

Greenpeace argued in Scotland’s highest civil court there had been “a myriad of failures in the public consultation” and the permit did not consider the climate impacts of burning fossil fuel.

The Court of Session ruling means operations will continue at the field. Greenpeace plans to appeal.

Production from the development started in November after BP was granted approval by the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) in 2018.

The UK government welcomed the outcome.

The text of the ruling is Opinion of the Court Greenpeace Ltd. vs. BP Ltd.  

The procedural complaints were dismissed as being without merit.  The excerpts below (in italics with my bolds) address the activist theory of disallowing oil production and transportation based upon CO2 emissions of the end users consuming the energy products.

[38] The indirect emissions challenge was res judicata. Permission to proceed had been refused by the High Court. In any event, the challenge was without merit. The Directive was concerned with the effect of the individual project, not the use of material extracted in the course of a project. The focus was on the particular “project”. The definitions provided no support for the contention that the end use of raw materials, after further processes such as refinement to create a different product, was a relevant consideration (R (Finch) v Surrey County Council, at paras [101]-[102] and [109-112]).

[39] Direct emissions from the end use of oil and gas in the UK were considered and taken into account in the UK’s Annual Statement of Emissions. These were matters for political judgment (R (Plan B Earth) v Secretary of State for Transport [2021] PTSR 1901 at paras [2] and [281]), which were not challengeable in an appeal under regulation 16. The determination of a carbon budget for the UK was a complex, high-level strategic decision.  Indigenous oil and gas development was an important part of the transition to a low carbon economy. This was all part of the existing framework, which sought to manage the UK’s progressive decarbonisation up to the year 2050 (cf R (Packham) v Secretary of State for Transport [2021] Env LR 10 at paras 83 and 87).

[40] The production of oil from the Vorlich field did not increase the use of oil. The appellants’ position, that as a matter of principle there should be no new oil, conflated and confused different questions. The scope of an EIA was a matter of judgment, so long as the information in it was accurate.

The environmental effects of the consumption of oil and gas

Merits

[63] The relevant considerations which require to be taken into account in an environmental impact assessment, notably when the applicant is preparing his Environmental Statement, are set out in regulation 3A. So far as is relevant to the current appeal, the applicant is required to assess the direct and indirect significant effects of the project on, amongst other elements, the climate and the operational effects of the relevant project. In this area, regulation 3A(2) mirrors the terms of the Directive (Art 3.1). Again, there is no issue concerning any lack of adequate transposition.

[64] The question is whether the consumption of oil and gas by the end user, once the oil and gas have been extracted from the wells, transported, refined and sold to consumers, and then used by them are “direct or indirect significant effects of the relevant project”. The answer is that it is not. The exercise which the applicant had to carry out, and the Secretary of State had to assess, was a determination of the significant effects of drilling the two wells and removing the oil and gas. That involved considering the effects of depositing and operating an exploration rig or rigs on site. The ultimate use of a finished product is not a direct or indirect significant effect of the project. It is that effect alone which, in terms of the Regulations, must be assessed.

[65] The court agrees with the reasoning in R (Finch) v Surrey County Council [2021] PTSR 1160 in which Holgate J reached the same conclusion in relation to what is a direct or indirect effect of a “development”; in that case the drilling of new oil and gas wells on land.  As Holgate J stated (at para 101):

“The extraction of a mineral from a site may have environmental consequences remote from that development but which are nevertheless inevitable. …[T]he true legal test is whether an effect on the environment is an effect of the development for which planning permission is sought. An inevitable consequence may occur after a raw material extracted on the relevant site has passed through one or more developments elsewhere which are not the subject of the application… and which do not form part of the same ‘project’.”

However broad and purposive an interpretation of the Regulations or the Directive might be attempted, the clearly expressed wording of the legislation cannot be disregarded (ibid at paras 103-104). It is the effect of the project, and its operation, that is to be considered and not that of the consumption of any retailed product ultimately emerging as a result of a refinement of the raw material.

[68] It would not be practicable, in an assessment of the environmental effects of a project for the extraction of fossil fuels, for the decision maker to conduct a wide ranging examination into the effects, local or global, of the use of that fuel by the final consumer.  Although the appellants’ aspiration is for such extraction to cease, it does not appear to be contended that the UK economy is not still reliant in a number of different ways on the consumption of oil and gas. At present, a shortage of oil and gas supplies is a matter of public concern. The argument is, in any event, an academic one. It is not maintained that the exploitation of the Vorlich field would increase, or even maintain, the current level of consumption. Unless it did so, it is difficult to argue that it would have any material effect on climate change; even if it is possible to arrive at a figure for its contribution by arithmetical calculation relative to the production of oil and gas overall. The Secretary of State’s submission that these are matters for decision at a relatively high level of Government, rather than either by the court or in relation to one oilfield project, is correct. The issue is essentially a political and not a legal one.

My Comment

Recent years have seen an huge increase in legal attacks funded by woke wealthy people with deep pockets against the supply of fossil fuels.  At the same time governments have loaded up regulatory regimes that impede or prevent additional development of FF energy resources. Instead of appreciating how essential are these fuels to modern societies, policy makers, and in many cases judges, are motivated by the slogan “keep it in the ground.”  As in the opinion above, shortages in fossil fuels supply are a public concern, and especially worrisome as we approach winter. Despite this, the activist strategy is to cut off supply of affordable, reliable energy even when alternatives like renewables will not replace them, and let the people do without.

At least in this ruling the judiciary got it right.