The American Supreme The court ruled on Thursday that it effectively banned the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating carbon pollution from power plants, a decision that reduces the prospects for rapid action on climate change in the world’s largest economy.
As if that wasn’t depressing enough, the move also gnaws at American competitiveness at a time when the world is swinging into an energy transition destined to banish fossil fuels to the dustbin of history.
The US has nothing resembling a rational national energy policy, in part due to its federal structure and polarized politics. Rather, it has a hodgepodge of policy roots and sticks influenced by myriad actors and woven into a complex web of regulation and incentives overseen by a range of states and regulators.
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The ill-fated Clean Power Plan and whatever succeeded could have set the stage for a policy that would have put the US competitive with other countries moving towards an electrified future. With the ruling of the Supreme Court, that possibility has disappeared.
As a result, the US has fallen behind other countries in many key sectors that play a major role in the transition from fossil fuels, which promises to be another industrial revolution. We have one more chance to turn things around, but it’s a long one.