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How Democrats can move forward on climate change after SCOTUS blow

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Yahoo Finance's Rick Newman discusses the Supreme Court's ruling on the EPA's authority to regulate greenhouse gases at power plants and the political path forward for climate change legislation.

Video Transcript

AKIKO FUJITA: Well, it has been a tough week in the fight against climate change with the Supreme Court ruling on Thursday that the EPA does not have the authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions at existing power plants. So, what does this all mean for President Biden's green energy transition?

Let's bring in Yahoo Finance's Rick Newman, who's watching this one closely. And Rick, I saw White House climate advisor Gina McCarthy yesterday say that we're going to continue to use every tool we can to tackle the climate crisis. To what extent have those tools been significantly limited as a result of the Supreme Court ruling?

RICK NEWMAN: The Supreme Court took away some of the tools. And it took away some of the most important tools of the Biden administration. And before Biden, the Obama administration tried to use-- basically, the Supreme Court is saying, you really just cannot use executive action to change things. And this dates all the way back to the Clean Air Act from 1973 and what that's really supposed to do. So this seems like a huge setback.

But it also clarifies what we actually need to do here. And what needs to happen to make progress on climate is, Congress needs to pass laws. Congress has really not passed any meaningful laws to address climate change at all. There was some funding for electrical charging stations, EV charging stations, in that infrastructure bill last year. But that's been about it. There was, obviously, nothing done during the Trump administration, not much during Obama either, because Republicans controlled at least one house of Congress for six of Obama's eight years.

And Biden wasn't able to get his climate provisions through last year as part of Build Back Better. So, Congress cannot punt on this anymore. That means there will have to be some kind of bipartisan agreement on what to do. And everybody thinks, oh, we can't really have bipartisan agreement on things anymore.

Eh, that's not entirely true. There is some evidence some Republicans, some moderate Republicans say we do need to start doing something to deal with climate change. So now, that is really the only way forward, is Congress has to do this. And I don't know if anything's going to happen this year. But at least we know where the path forward lies.

BRIAN CHEUNG: Rick, not sure how much of the general populace is kind of thinking about the nuance of the Supreme Court versus what Congress's powers are. But do you think that this might actually be fuel for the Democrats in the midterms, who might be able to go and say, look, we have to have a Democratic-controlled Congress for another term if we want to try to codify something to make sure we can actually give the Biden administration the tools they need to address this?

RICK NEWMAN: I doubt it. I think the Democrats are pretty inept at capitalizing on opportunities in front of them. And if that's the message they give to voters going into November, voters can rightfully say, well, wait a minute. You already have control of Congress right now. And you got about nothing done on climate. What's the deal? And that would be-- sorry, my phone's ringing. I'll turn it off. That would be-- I mean, that's a fair criticism. We've seen the problem with Democrats, is they can't even agree among themselves on a bill.

So if they were unable to get climate provisions through on their own, I just don't think they have a great case to say, why don't you give us another shot? Maybe we'll get it done next time. Let's say Republicans do take one or both houses of Congress. Then you can say, well, is it possible there could be some kind of compromise deal on climate? I don't think Republicans would want to give Biden something he could call a win. But who knows? Maybe public opinion is shifting enough to create a sense of urgency even among Republicans.

AKIKO FUJITA: Rick, I'm going to just say that's one of your sources calling you, right? Working the phones as always.

RICK NEWMAN: Absolutely. Probably the White House, you know.

AKIKO FUJITA: All right, Rick Newman, you've got the story out on this as well. Thanks so much for joining us today.

RICK NEWMAN: Bye, guys.

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