Environmentalists hailed a US Supreme Court ruling that the government has the power to regulate greenhouse gases as a watershed decision in fighting global warming.
In a sharply divided judgment, the court ruled on Monday that greenhouse gases are pollutants, and so the federal Environmental Protection Agency was wrong to say it had no mandate to regulate such emissions.
The decision dealt a new blow to the administration of US President George W. Bush, which is steadfast in refusing any limits on US industry or on its gas-guzzling cars, arguing it could hurt the country's economy.
"Because greenhouse gases fit well within the Clean Air Act's capacious definition of `air pollutant,' we hold that EPA has the statutory authority to regulate the emission of such gases from new motor vehicles," the court ruled.
Led by Massachusetts, a dozen states along with several US cities and environmental groups went to the courts to try to force the agency to regulate greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide emissions after it refused to do so.
"The harms associated with climate change are serious and well recognized," said Justice John Paul Stevens in the ruling which won five votes in favor to four against.
"EPA's steadfast refusal to regulate greenhouse gas emissions presents a risk of harm to Massachusetts that is both `actual' and `imminent.'"
Environmental campaigners, who have been fighting for greater regulations in the US hailed Monday's ruling, as did a handful of politicians.
"It is a watershed moment in the fight against global warming," said Josh Dorner, spokesman for the Sierra Club environmental group.
"This is a total repudiation of the refusal of the Bush administration to use the authority he has to meet the challenge posed by global warming," he said.
It also "sends a clear signal to the market that the future lies not in dirty, outdated technology of yesterday, but in clean energy solutions of tomorrow like wind, solar," he added.
White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said the administration and EPA would have to "analyze" the decision and denied ever contesting that greenhouse gases contribute to global warming.
FOX HUNT: To suppress dissent, Chinese living abroad that Xi Jinping sees as threats are told to either return to China or commit suicide, Christopher Wray said Chinese agents have been pursuing hundreds of Chinese nationals living in the US in an effort to force their return, as part of a global campaign against the country’s diaspora, known as Operation Fox Hunt, FBI Director Christopher Wray said on Tuesday. In a speech about the security threat posed by China, during which he said Beijing’s counterintelligence work was the “greatest long-term threat to our nation’s information and intellectual property, and to our economic vitality,” Wray gave the example of one Fox Hunt target who was given a choice of going back to China or killing themselves. Fox Hunt was launched
‘WOULD NOT COMPLY’: The company’s user data are kept in Singapore and it would not turn the data over to Beijing even if asked, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said Social media app TikTok has distanced itself from Beijing after India banned 59 Chinese apps in the country, according to a correspondence seen by Reuters. In a letter to the Indian government dated on Sunday last week and seen by Reuters on Friday, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said the Chinese government has never requested user data, nor would the company turn it over if asked. TikTok, which is not available in China, is owned by China’s ByteDance, but has sought to distance itself from its Chinese roots to appeal to a global audience. Along with 58 other Chinese apps, including Tencent
INTERNET CURBS: People are rushing to erase their digital footprints after police given powers over online activity, although it might take years for the full effect to be felt At midnight on Tuesday, the Great Firewall of China, the vast apparatus that limits the country’s Internet, appeared to descend on Hong Kong. Unveiling expanded police powers as part of contentious new national security legislation, the Hong Kong government enabled police to censor online speech, and force Internet service providers to hand over user information and shut down platforms. Many residents, already anxious since the legislation took effect last week, rushed to erase their digital footprint of any signs of dissent or support for the past year of protests. Hong Kong Legislator Charles Mok (莫乃光), a pro-democracy member of the Legislative
‘FIGHT FOR FREEDOM’: Hong Kongers will never bow to Beijing, the advocate said, while the US’ envoy to the territory called China’s new security law a ‘tragedy’ The world must stand in solidarity with Hong Kongers after Beijing imposed sweeping national security legislation on the semi-autonomous territory, advocate Joshua Wong (黃之鋒) said yesterday, vowing to continue campaigning for democracy. Wong, one of the territory’s most prominent young advocates and a figure loathed by Beijing, was speaking outside a court where he and fellow advocates are being prosecuted for involvement in last year’s pro-democracy protests. China last week enacted sweeping security legislation for the restless territory, banning acts of subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces. The legislation has sent a wave of fear through the territory, and criminalized dissenting