Climate Policy In The United States


Climate change has been a topic of discussion in the U.S., with organizational activities playing a key role in environmental sustainability. The role of federal agencies in climate policy formulation and implementation has been a topic of discussion after the Supreme Court’s ruling on the West Virginia v. EPA case (Hill and Madeline 1). As the country struggles to mitigate the impacts of greenhouse emissions on the environment, the EPA has been working to curtail carbon emissions within the U.S. power sector. According to Hill and Madeline, the Supreme Court ruled that the EPA overstepped its authority by requiring utilities to shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources in line with the 1970 Clean Air Act (2). This decision, though locally affecting power utility companies and organizations in the U.S., has far-reaching national implications on the Supreme Court’s role in influencing climate policy in the U.S.

Local and National Implications

As corporations strive to make profits, they should be considerate of the impacts of their business activities on society and the environment. Heinzerling points out that accountable finance is a crucial issue, resting on the UN mandate on human rights and climate change that calls for financial actors to be held accountable for their environmental and social influences (2255). Further, it is recorded that currently, the financial implications are an average of $227 billion in insurance cover catering for climate-related catastrophes in the U.S (Heinzerling 2255). With such an alarming financial implication, the U.S. should be more concerned about the manufacturing activities within the country. Much of the negative climate effects result from carbon emissions from companies, necessitating the enforcement of the Clean Air Act. Although the EPA was allowed to regulate carbon emissions in the U.S., the original policy created no room for an amendment that would allow the EPA to set new rules to safeguard the nation’s ecological and social aspects.

The climatic changes and their subsequent effects on human, animal, and plant life have been changing drastically. Increased industrialization and the demand for energy have led to an exponential growth in the use of fossil fuels in corporations, including state-owned facilities. The Clean Air Act that was formulated in 1970 was based on the climatic conditions at that time, rendering it insufficient to handle the current accelerating environmental degradation (Heinzerling 2256). The U.S. is known to be a democratic nation that follows the rule of law to ensure equality and fairness for all Americans. However, the nation has not comprehended the legal and social implications of the EPA ruling, which prevented the federal agency from setting rules for clean energy adoption in private companies. Congress has been endowed with a more significant role in shaping U.S. climate efforts. In essence, federal agencies have been given minimal control in matters of social, political, and economic importance.

Self-regulation and the powers given to federal agencies have become a critical issue, raising the question of the Supreme Court’s ability to enforce sustainability while protecting U.S. citizens and corporate bodies. Hill and Madeline assert that by the time the Clean Air Act was formulated, carbon emissions in the U.S were recorded at 325 ppm, a rate that had risen to 422ppm by May 2022 (3). These statistics reveal that without efficient regulation, the climate change effects may be catastrophic, rendering America a dangerous place for human and animal life. As the Supreme Court ruled against EPA’s regulation of utility corporations, it opened a way for many private companies to override the accountable finance requirement, further risking the lives of Americans and, by extension, the entire world. The current EPA ruling opens a date concerning how well the Supreme Court works for the public good, with some critics arguing that the decision is linked to political interests.

Locally, the decision shows that the judiciary supports the rights of businesses in the U.S. by protecting them against undue regulation by government agencies. The respect for the rule of law is a commendable effort demonstrated in this case (Heinzerling 2256). On the national scale, the ruling may lead to additional lawsuits, with new cases arising to challenge the court’s decisions and their long-term effects on the American people.

Action Plan

The UN and other federal agencies within the U.S. have been working towards global climate sustainability by calling for industry-driven energy regulations. While these efforts have brought minimal benefits, they serve as a reminder to corporations and individuals to be sensitive about their energy use for the current and future generations’ wellbeing. Hill and Madeline hint that the ruling by the Supreme Court limiting EPA’s role in the energy sector will delay the U.S. government’s efforts to create a clean environment free from carbon emissions (4). Therefore, there is a need to create awareness of the current and potential effects of fossil fuels on the environment and society to motivate individuals to be increasingly aware of their activities and promote clean energy solutions.

The U.S. judicial system should look into the bigger picture and understand the potential impacts of its current ruling on the environment. As it stands, the court may have opened a way for private companies to disregard the EPA’s role in energy regulation. Further, federal agencies charged with climate sustainability should be given more powers to change the policies under which they operate. In this case, the 6-3 ruling held that EPA was not mandated by law to alter the Clean Air Act and that it was only required to act within the boundaries set 30 years ago (Heinzerling 2256). Such a ruling has far-reaching consequences and should be subjected to policy change. The independent operations of federal agencies have been challenged, and their abilities to enforce social and environmental solutions are at risk. Lastly, since the climatic conditions have been changing at an alarming rate, the country should set aside resources for environmental analysis and formulate new laws that reflect the current needs.


In conclusion, the U.S. is among the world’s most industrialized nations, recording a significant level of carbon emissions. The country established the Clean Air Act to regulate the greenhouse emissions from companies in an effort to curb the hazardous environmental impacts resulting from climate change. However, the EPA has been regulating the power utilities in the country, their requirement that companies transit into clean energy was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. The judiciary’s ruling relied on the original boundaries set by the Clean Air Act, which does not clearly reflect the current energy challenges in the U.S. As power utilities applaud the court’s ruling, significant negative effects may result from the EPA’s limitations set forth in the ruling. Evidently, federal agencies have been granted minimal control over crucial issues of national importance, as shown in this case. As Congress is given more power to control the country’s climate change efforts, there is a need to consider the implications of current and future environmental solutions.

Works Cited

Hill, Alice, and Babin Madeline. “The Supreme Court’s EPA Ruling Will Delay U.S. Climate Action.” Council on Foreign Relations, 2022.

Heinzerling, Lisa. “Climate Change in the Supreme Court.” New England Journal of Medicine, vol. 386, no. 24, 2022, pp. 2255-2257. Massachusetts Medical Society.