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Barack Obama Calls Supreme Court's EPA Ruling 'Major Step Backward' for Stopping Climate Change

·2 min read
Former U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about the Affordable Care Act and lowering health care costs for families during an event in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, April 5, 2022. President Biden announced additional actions to save families hundreds of dollars a month on their health care. Photographer: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Former U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about the Affordable Care Act and lowering health care costs for families during an event in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, April 5, 2022. President Biden announced additional actions to save families hundreds of dollars a month on their health care. Photographer: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Al Drago/Bloomberg/Getty Barack Obama

Former President Barack Obama is expressing his disappointment with a new Supreme Court ruling that could severely limit the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency.

"No challenge poses a greater threat to our future than a changing climate," Obama wrote on Twitter after the decision was made public Thursday. "Every day, we're feeling the impact of climate change, and today's Supreme Court decision is a major step backward."

In a 6-3 decision, SCOTUS concluded that the EPA does not have authority to regulate carbon emissions from existing power plants, making it more difficult to achieve environmental goals and decelerate climate change.

RELATED: Supreme Court Limits Power of EPA, Thwarting Biden Administration's Ability to Combat Climate Change

The White House has long argued that the Clean Air Act gives the EPA broad powers to regulate emissions, though many Republican lawmakers have argued the opposite: that the federal government has no authority to regulate power plants and only Congress should decide on questions of significant political or economic importance.

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Unlike many cases that come before the court, West Virginia v. EPA wasn't based on a rule already in place, but will set a precedent for future actions, effectively handing the authority to regulate air pollution to a divided Congress.

RELATED: Ketanji Brown Jackson Is Sworn into SCOTUS as Nation's First Black Female Justice

Obama warns that SCOTUS' decision to side against the EPA lays the foundation "to dismantle some of the most impactful provisions of the Clean Air Act and limit our ability to reduce carbon pollution."

Coal-fired power plant on river in eastern Wyoming
Coal-fired power plant on river in eastern Wyoming

Getty Coal fired power plant

In a statement released by the White House Thursday afternoon, Biden said that while the high court's ruling is "devastating," the nation's "fight against climate change must carry forward."

"I have directed my legal team to work with the Department of Justice and affected agencies to review this decision carefully and find ways that we can, under federal law, continue protecting Americans from harmful pollution," the statement reads.

RELATED: Supreme Court Rules That States Can Prosecute Non-Native Americans Who Commit Crimes on Tribal Land

Last April, the White House announced a goal for the United States to achieve a 50-52% reduction in net greenhouse gas from 2005 levels by 2030. The goal, the Biden administration said at the time, included reducing carbon pollution from industrial sources.

"Climate change is no longer just about the future that we're trying to protect for our children or our grandchildren; it's about the reality we're living with now," Obama wrote. "That's why it's more urgent now than ever before that Congress pass POTUS' climate and clean energy investments."