ABCNews.com's Drive-By Approach to Court Ruling on CO2 Regulation

"Court trumps Bush on global warming," read the teaser headline on the front page of ABCNews.com, as accessed by this reader at 12:15 p.m. EDT today. No, the Supreme Court is NOT the high court of all things scientific, but ABC and other liberal media outlets are essentially portraying the new ruling as such, although it pertains merely to what the EPA may choose to regulate as an air pollutant.

When I clicked the link it took me to a two-paragraph Reuters squib about a Supreme Court ruling on carbon dioxide regulation that came down this morning:

Apr 2, 2007 — WASHINGTON (Reuters) - In a defeat for the Bush administration, a closely divided Supreme Court ruled on Monday that a U.S. government agency incorrectly determined it lacks the power to regulate greenhouse gas emissions that spur global warming.

The nation's highest court said the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency "has offered no reasoned explanation" for its refusal to regulate carbon dioxide and other emissions from new cars and trucks that contribute to climate change

The headline reads "Supreme court [sic] rules against Bush in global warming case." Of course, the ruling had nothing to do with establishing the scientific credibility of the theory of manmade global warming, nor could it. The issue was whether the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) could regulate CO2 as a pollutant, something the Bush administration argued it could not do under existing law.

Indeed, as the Court's longest-serving liberal jurist noted, the ruling doesn't force the Bush administration's hand on regulating so-called greenhouse gases, it merely broadened interpretation of existing law to make CO2 classifiable as a pollutant.

That would be clear to ABCNews.com Web site visitors had ABC amended the Web site with a link to Reuters's updated article, posted at 11:05 a.m. EDT.:

In sending the case back for further proceedings, [Justice John Paul] Stevens said the high court did not decide which policy the EPA must follow. "We hold only that EPA must ground its reasons for action or inaction in the statute," he wrote.

Essentially what happened in this case is that a group of 12 states successfully pushed the Court's liberal wing (plus swing vote Anthony Kennedy) to force the EPA's hand to open the door to regulating carbon dioxide emissions.

Of course, greater regulation will entail greater costs to the consumer, namely taxes and federal spending on compliance costs (hiring federal inspectors to enforce the law), but don't expect the dollars and nonsense of rulings like this to tamper the media's jubilation over its hottest pet issue.

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is the Managing Editor for NewsBusters