Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito delivered a passionate speech at the Claremont Institute’s 2017 annual dinner. The Conservative think tank gave him a Statesmanship Award. He spoke about many issues, but the most confusing part of his speech was when he was talking about the environment.
He mentioned a case where the Supreme Court ruled, and Alito dissented, that carbon dioxide is a pollutant. He said this about it in the ruling:
“Now, what is a pollutant? A pollutant is a subject that is harmful to human beings or to animals or to plants. Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. Carbon dioxide is not harmful to ordinary things, to human beings, or to animals, or to plants. It’s actually needed for plant growth. All of us are exhaling carbon dioxide right now. So, if it’s a pollutant, we’re all polluting. When Congress authorized the regulation of pollutants, what it had in mind were substances like sulfur dioxide, or particulate matter—basically, soot or smoke in the air. Congress was not thinking about carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases.”
This is not the first time that Alito has ruled against environment issues. He once said this about the EPA saving wetlands and the problems it can cause for homeowners:
“Don’t you think most ordinary homeowners would say this kind of thing can’t happen in the US? You buy property to build a house. You think maybe there is a little drainage problem in part of your lot, so you start to build the house and then you get an order from the EPA which says: You have filled in wetlands, so you can’t build your house; remove the fill, put in all kinds of plants; and now you have to let us on your premises whenever we want to.”
Time For A Science Lesson
Justice Alito is obviously not up-to-date on his climate science. Yes, it is a gas that we all exhale, but it can cause harm to humans and animals when the levels get too high.
The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere keeps going up because of our use of fossil fuels. This makes the oxygen in the atmosphere, so we can’t breathe if these levels get too high. This has led to global warming because it increases the amount of solar radiation getting through the atmosphere. We need to start using less carbon dioxide to fix our climate problems. Crack open a science book, Justice Alito.
Featured image via YouTube screenshot.