Breaking News: California Judge Rebukes Automakers

Fred KruppThis post is by Fred Krupp, President of Environmental Defense.

A federal judge in California today rebuked the auto industry’s attempt to block California and 16 other states from setting tough new limits on global warming pollution from automobiles, calling these efforts “the very definition of folly.”

Environmental Defense was a defendant-intervener in the case. We worked closely with California state officials and several other environmental groups, including the Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, Blue Water Network, Global Exchange, and Rainforest Action Network.

In the ruling, Federal District Court Judge Anthony Ishii rejected the auto industry’s claim that federal fuel economy standards preempted the authority of California and other states to limit global warming pollution from automobiles.

This ruling comes three months to the day after a similar ruling by a federal judge in Vermont, and just eight months after the historic Supreme Court decision in early April that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has an obligation to regulate carbon dioxide under the Clean Air Act.

These are huge victories. Today’s ruling shifts the focus to the EPA where a decision on whether to grant California’s waiver request to tighten auto emission standards has been pending for two years.

I have just issued a press statement calling on EPA Administrator Steve Johnson to “immediately grant California’s request to move ahead with this program. All similar California air pollution requests have been approved. Not one has been turned down in EPA history.”

In his ruling, Judge Ishii alluded to the importance of EPA granting the waiver. He wrote:

“Given the level of impairment of human health and welfare that current climate science indicates may occur if human-generated greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated, it would be the very definition of folly if EPA were precluded from action.”

Environmental Defense played a big role in these historic court rulings. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to our General Counsel Jim Tripp and our Regional Director of our Climate and Air Program Jim Marston, who worked so hard on this case.

As we look ahead to the new year and the need for a national, economy-wide cap on global warming pollution, please join me in celebrating today’s terrific news. We are making progress!

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  1. rkcannon
    Posted December 15, 2007 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    “Given the level of impairment of human health and welfare that current climate science indicates may occur if human-generated greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated,…

    MAY? Or MAY NOT equally applies..

    This is a victory? A judge who doesn’t know what he is talking about? His statement is easily refuted.
    CO2 rise FOLLOWS global warming per ice samples. This is easily understood because when it is warmer, plants and trees thrive, producing more CO2. Something else causes the temp rise. It has been shown to correlate with solar cycles. THE SUN is causing it- that is simple to understand because that’s what provides our heat and any cycle in the heat source we will see directly.

  2. rkcannon
    Posted December 15, 2007 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    Oops- correction to above- plants USE CO2 and produce O2, not CO2, so something else causes the CO2 rise. Sorry. I admit I was wrong. Wish more would do that.

  3. Posted December 17, 2007 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    rkcannon – You chose your username well since you indeed “bombed” this blog over the weekend with at least half a dozen messages insisting that there’s no human-caused climate change.

    I don’t want to waste a lot of time responding to silly messages, but I’ll post some refuting links. I don’t expect you to read them, but others might.

    From my previous answer to you:

    Bill Chameides – member of the National Academy of Science and science advisor to Environmental Defense – wrote a series on “How We Know Humans Cause Global Warming“. If that series doesn’t answer every question you have, click on the Science category or do a search on “Chameides”. We’ve addressed Mars, the Sun, etc., etc. I won’t repeat it all here. Humans are causing global warming.

  4. bunnybeer
    Posted December 19, 2007 at 11:20 pm | Permalink

    The real issue is the denial of a state’s right to enact a law that is more stringent than federal law. Almost every state has set environmental laws that are more stringent than EPA. The EPA’s role should be to set minimum standards that all states must adhere to, not maximum standards. States have abundant laws, ordinances, etc. that are more strict than federal law. Examples are zoning, traffic control, highway construction (where the state DOT uses the federal DOT regulations as the minimum), etc.

    Take the City of Houston, Texas for example. It is has passed ordinances against Petrochemical companies for emissions of butadiene. The city has set up monitoring and is poised to fine these companies. It is an example of a local government acting within their right.

  5. rkcannon
    Posted December 21, 2007 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    Ms. Canter,

    We are constantly “bombed” by “Global Warming” scare tactics on NPR, and Al Gore is tromping around screaming how the US is so bad and he knows more. Yet you global warming groupies don’t look very deep into the science it seems. Dr. Chameides’ arguments are not convincing to me, with a fairly good scientific background and MS in Engineering. The many scientists that do not agree that Man is the cause of the minimal if any average warming are much more convincing because they use sound scientific arguments. There is NOT a consensus and the science is NOT settled as the UN cries. The UN is clearly VERY BIASED. We can’t let such bias get in the way of sound science. It appears that there is far more evidence that man CANNOT cause climate change to any significant degree doing what we are now doing.
    And there are far more important areas to focus our energies.
    Here is a collection of REAL scientists.

  6. Posted December 21, 2007 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    rkcannon – even the Bush Administration acknowledges that global warming is happening and that it’s caused by human activities. You are one of a handful of extremists who continue to irrationally claim otherwise. Nothing anyone can say to you will budge your opinion.

    bunnybeer – there were some good editorials in the New York Times and Washington Post on this today.

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