At a time when President Biden is urging international leaders to address global warming quickly, court actions this week make it clear that the U.S. judiciary is shaping the United States’ climate trajectory as much as the White House.
On Monday, the Interior Department said it would heed a Louisiana federal judge and resume federal oil and gas leasing, which will drive up carbon emissions. On Wednesday, however, another federal judge blocked a controversial oil project planned for Alaska’s North Slope, effectively keeping fossil fuels in the ground. And on Thursday, the administration said it would conduct a comprehensive review of coal leasing on federal lands — but keep holding auctions in the meantime.
“The Biden administration can’t claim to care about the climate emergency and land conservation while auctioning off more public land for filthy fossil fuels,” said Taylor McKinnon, a senior campaigner at the Center for Biological Diversity, an advocacy group.