Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Are Green Robes Next

In a stunning ruling expanding EPA authority to regulate carbon emissions, the Supreme court handed environmentalists, and by extension, the cleantech industry, a very generous prize yesterday. I am surprsied that more cleantech bloggers are not recognizing the importance and benefit that this ruling will have for our industry. Paul Kedrosky was the only prominent blogger to chime in here. (link)

Specifically for cleantech, the ruling means that:

1. What begins with more emission controls for Duke Energy - the heart of this case - could be easily extended and expanded into carbon taxes and increased fee structures for carbon emitters. Whether market-based or by regulation, anything that increases the cost structure for coal or fossil fuel power and transportation is a boon for cleantech.

2. Another foundation stone towards a real and valued carbon credit trading system.

3. A more naunced benefit from this ruling is a reinforcement that States and environmental groups have sufficient "standing" to bring these cases forward. This was the key "objection" by the conservative bench; Scalia, Roberts, Thomas, and Alito wanted to limit and essentially remove the court's participation in this matter (and most environmental matters if Scalia had his way). They indicated in their dissent that Congress and The President were better "deciders" on the issue. Thank goodness they were overuled.

The text of the bill is online here. (link)

For now, green is the new black at One First Street, DC (Supreme Court's address.)