Turning Up the Heat on Industry, Congress

In a landmark decision earlier this week, the Supreme Court affirmed the president's power to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.  Given this administration's track record, that may seem like giving McDonald's permission to crack down on obesity.  But even if the current White House never uses this authority, the ruling would still mark a turning point in the fight against global warming.

Now, any future administration can use existing law to establish the nation's first limits on heat-trapping pollution.  With leading presidential candidates from both parties already on record in support of strong emissions reductions, the looming prospect of regulation should provide an added incentive for industry to negotiate meaningful climate legislation in this Congress.

Greenhouse gas limits are not only inevitable; they're coming soon.  In order to plan for a carbon-constrained future, businesses need the certainty provided by a long-term emissions reduction target.  Earlier this year, 10 major corporations endorsed a 60-80 percent cut in global warming pollution by 2050.  In light of the Supreme Court's decision, expect more to join them.

To be clear, the EPA's authority to regulate carbon does not let the House or Senate off the hook.  Congress is best suited to develop a market-based, economy-wide approach to global warming, which significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions from all sectors.  With the Supreme Court, a growing industry coalition and the American public behind them, it's time for lawmakers to get to work.