US Supreme Court’s Ruling Limiting the EPA’s Ability to Regulate Greenhouse Gases is a Blow to Sea Level Rise Real Estate

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision today to limit the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ability to regulate the release of greenhouse gases by electrical power plants is a serious blow to efforts to fight overall global warming and the resultant sea level rise that threatens billions of dollars of real estate all along the U.S. coastline.

Scientists based their latest estimates on the amount of sea level rise U.S. coastal communities will experience between now and the end of the century on the assumption that regulators, like the EPA, would be able to force electrical power plants and other major greenhouse gas emitters to reduce their annual output. With no oversight from the EPA, the court is saying that the American public has to rely on Congress to pass specific legislation restricting emissions from individual sources. The reality of this situation is that Congress is heavily under the influence of fossil fuel — coal, oil and natural gas — producer campaign contributions, so getting meaningful regulations passed will be nearly impossible.

Where does this leave us? Quite frankly, living in a world that’s already overheating and experiencing longer, hotter and more deadly heatwaves, mega-droughts that threaten the very existence of cities in the American West, supercharged tropical storms, hurricanes and local rain events that bring devastating flooding, calamitous wildfires, and rising seas that are inundating coastal real estate.

The Supreme Court’s decision limiting the EPA’s ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions will accelerate global warming. This will result in faster ocean expansion and ice melting in Greenland and Antarctica and, ultimately, sea level rise at the high end of expert forecasts. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website: “Current and future emissions matter. About 2 feet or sea level rise along the U.S. coastline is increasingly likely between 2020 and 2100 because of emissions to date. Failing to curb future emissions could cause an additional 1.5-5 feet of rise for a total of 3.5-7 feet by the end of this century.”

It’s important to keep in mind that many coastal communities are already spending millions of dollars combatting the sea level rise we’re already experiencing. Every additional inch between now and the 2100 will add to the burden and damage more and more public and private real estate and infrastructure. For example, if saltwater invades the water table and fouls freshwater wells, some cities and towns will find it hard to continue to exist.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s EPA decision is dangerous for the U.S. and the entire planet. The best we can do to protect our lives and property and the lives and property of others is to vote only for candidates who who are prepared to ignore old world energy producers and join the fight against climate change, global warming and sea level rise.

Trump’s Busy Rolling Back Environmental Policies, Setting Up Another Global Catastrophe

While the nation focuses its attention on fighting the coronavirus pandemic, the Trump Administration has been working to rollback environmental policies. The result of its efforts will be to accelerate climate change and the sea level rise flooding that threatens millions of lives and billions, if not trillions, of dollar worth of real estate located along the vulnerable U.S. coastline.

In late March, the Environmental Protection Agency announced that it would would not fine companies that break the law by failing to monitor their emissions and discharges if they can prove the lack of monitoring was due to the coronavirus epidemic. In response, a coalition of environmental groups signed a petition to the EPA that warned: “EPA’s non-enforcement policy threatens environmental and health protections by inviting regulated entities to pollute and to hide crucial information from the public. It conveys a broad license to quit monitoring and reporting indefinitely, based only on the honor system.”

On another front, the Trump administration boasted that it performed “the largest deregulatory initiative of this administration” when it announced on March 31 that it was replacing Obama-era fuel standards with lower annual increases. According to a CNN report, the rule, which was created by the EPA and Department of Transportation, calls for fuel economy and emissions standards to increase by 1.5% each year instead of the 5% annual increase in the Obama rule.

President Obama criticized the change on Twitter writing: “We’ve seen all too terribly the consequences of those who denied the warnings of a pandemic. We can’t afford any more consequences of climate denial.”

A New York Times analysis estimated that the new rule would lead to nearly a billion more tons of carbon dioxide — a major greenhouse gas that causes global warming — being released into the atmosphere.

Using one global emergency to accelerate another is a dangerous game to play for us all. With the lack of responsible federal leadership, we are as unprepared for the coming crises sure to be posed by global warming and sea level rise as we have been for the coronavirus pandemic. If we don’t get a handle on greenhouse gas emissions, the results will be devastating.

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