Calling all eco-filmmakers! Bloomberg Green Docs accepting submissions, plus a brief history of U.S. climate change policy. WVA vs. EPA–or a brief history of U.S. climate change policy, part two.
Calling All Eco-Filmmakers! Bloomberg Green Docs Accepting Submissions, A Brief History of U.S. Climate Change Policy, WVA vs. EPA: A Brief History of U.S. Climate Change Policy Part Two
A BRIEF HISTORY OF CLIMATE CHANGE POLICY IN THE USA
Somebody recently asked me what the climate change policy of the United States is. Well their question got me thinking, and searching for an answer. And guess what? The answer is, “It depends.” First a little history.
Currently, the US regulates GHG emissions—the primary source of climate change globally—through the Environmental Protection Agency under the Clean Air Act. The CAA, as it’s also known was first passed into law in 1963, during the Kennedy Administration.
Way back in 1999, the International Center for Technology Assessment (ICTA) among others, petitioned the EPA to regulate greenhouse gases from new motor vehicles under the Act, arguing that carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), and hydrofluorocarbons meet the definition of an air pollutant under section 302(g), and that statements made by the EPA, other federal agencies amounted to a finding that these pollutants are reasonably anticipated to endanger public health and welfare.
Four years later, 2003, EPA denied the ICTA petition on the grounds that it did not have authority under the CAA to regulate CO2 and other GHGs because they could not be considered air pollutants under the provisions of the CAA, including section 202.
The agency further stated that even if it had the authority to regulate GHGs from motor vehicles, it would decline to do so as a matter of policy as doing so would not be consistent with President Bush’s policies for addressing climate change, which centered on non-regulatory efforts such as voluntary reductions in GHGs, public-private partnerships aimed at reducing the economy’s reliance on fossil fuels.
Why does this matter to us? Because those ignorant of history are bound to inadvertently repeat it. And besides, all hope is not lost. Will our intrepid USA prevail over the interests of Big Ag and Big Oil? Will Miss Sally be freed from the train tracks in time?..
WEST VIRGINIA VS. THE EPA, OR A U.S. CLIMATE CHANGE POLICY PRIMER, PART TWO
When last we heard about our intrepid hero, the ICTA, the EPA claimed it wouldn’t regulate GHGs from motor vehicles even if it did have the authority as doing so would be at odds with President Bush’s policies emphasizing voluntary goals for addressing climate change.
The ICTA persisted and after a prolonged legal battle, the case of Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency was eventually argued before the Supreme Court in November 2006. In a 5–4 decision, the Supreme Court held that “greenhouse gases fit well within the Act’s capacious definition of ‘air pollutant’ ” and that EPA therefore has statutory authority to regulate GHG emissions from new motor vehicles.
In a stunning 180, On December 7, 2009, the EPA Administrator found that under section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act greenhouse gases threaten both the public health and the public welfare, and that greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles contribute to that threat. And so, as of January 2, 2011, the EPA began regulating greenhouse gases (GHGs) under the Clean Air Act from mobile and stationary sources of air pollution.
Why does this matter to us? After all, the good guys won, right? and now the US has a clear mandate to regulate GHG emissions on mobile and stationary emitters (i.e. cars and/or factories)?
Well Not quite. No good deed goes unpunished. Immediately lawsuits were filed. In 2015, the Supreme Court heard Michigan v. EPA. In a 5–4 decision, it held that the EPA must consider costs and that it interpreted the Clean Air Act unreasonably when it determined that it did not need to consider costs when it issued a finding that it was “necessary and appropriate” to regulate fossil fuel power plants.
Now, West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency is a pending Supreme Court case related to the Clean Air Act and the ability of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants. The case hinges on contradictory language that was mistakenly included from both the House and Senate’s version of the bill when it was amended and signed into law in 1990. That language was never reconciled, creating a legal loophole.
So, does the US still have a climate change policy? Yes and no.
CALLING ALL ECO-FILMMAKERS! BLOOMBERG GREEN DOCS OPEN
Calling all filmmakers, Bloomberg Green, a multiplatform editorial brand focused on climate change news, analysis, and solutions, announces ITS inaugural Bloomberg Green Docs competition. Here’s the pitch: “What is the compelling story you most want to tell?”
The competition is open for submissions and open to all eligible filmmakers who would like to compete to win a $25,000 grand prize for your short climate documentary. Submission deadline is September 16.
- Films addressing the urgency of climate change
- Under 10 minutes, including credits
- Winner will be announced at a special Bloomberg Green Docs screening in Los Angeles on October 26, 2022
- Top 5 documentaries will be shown at the event
Bloomberg Green wants to explore our climate future in the here and now, with documentaries that reveal the world we are making today. For example, ecosystems are being restored alongside the formation of tomorrow’s zero-carbon communities. At the same time, extremes in our habitats warn of cascading climate consequences.
Competition jurors include: Ed Begley, Jr.—Golden Globe/7x Emmy-nominated Actor; Oliver English, Filmmaker/Chef and Food Advocate, Common Table Creative;Anna Jane Joyner, Founder/Director, Good Energy; Eva Orner, Academy/Emmy-award winning filmmaker and director/exec. producer, Burning.
Apply online at Bloomberg.com/greendocs. Remember, submissions open now through September 16th.
DEEPER DIVE: Bloomberg GreenDocs