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After Supreme Court Ruling, Cities ‘Left Holding the Bag’ on Climate Change

The decision to curb federal authority on emissions puts even even more pressure on local governments, which have attempted to fill the gaps in climate policy.

The Supreme Court curbed federal authority to regulate emissions on Thursday. 

The Supreme Court curbed federal authority to regulate emissions on Thursday. 

Photographer: Dan Koeck/The Washington Post

The US Supreme Court severely limited the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act on Thursday, ruling 6-3 that it does not have broad authority to shift power generation from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. The decision deals a major blow to the Biden administration’s climate agenda of halving carbon emissions by 2030 and creating a carbon-free electric grid by 2035.

Scientists have already warned that the US is not on track to meet its emissions target, and the decision now renders the goal nearly impossible unless Congress acts to pass new legislation. That puts even even more pressure on local governments, which have attempted to fill the gaps in climate policy, particularly during the Trump administration. But the ruling could become a double whammy, severely hampering those local efforts, too.