Supreme Court to hear climate case

The U.S. Supreme Court announced today they will hear what’s described as a ‘landmark case’ on climate involving energy utilities.

The U.S. Supreme Court said today they will hear what’s described as a  ‘landmark case’ on climate involving energy utilities, the D.C.-based newspaper Politico announced on their website.

Pitted against each other are five electrical utilities, including Duke Energy (click here for an EarthSky interview with Duke CEO Jim Rogers), who are being sued by eight states, together with New York City and some environmental groups, which include The Audubon Society.  The plaintiffs claim that greenhouse gas emissions from the utilities’ exacerbated global warming, which created a “public nuisance” under federal and state law.  The defendants argue that only the EPA has the right to intervene in the matter.

This case comes in the wake of a 2007 decision by the high court that ruled 5-4 to allow the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency authority to regulate greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, which is emitted into the atmosphere from human activities such as burning of fossil fuels and deforestation. The Court has scheduled to hear the case in the spring of 2011.

Jorge Salazar