Climate Change in the Supreme Court

19 Pages Posted: 26 Jan 2008 Last revised: 20 Oct 2014

Date Written: October 26, 2010


In Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency, the Supreme Court confronted the issue of climate change for the first time. The Court held that the Clean Air Act gives the Environmental Protection Agency the authority to regulate greenhouse gases and that the agency may not decline to exercise this authority based either on factors not present in the statute or inconclusive gestures toward uncertainty in the science of climate change. I had the privilege of serving as the lead author of the winning briefs in this case. This Article provides an insider's perspective on the choices that went into bringing and briefing the case.

This Article is an edited version of the 20th Annual Natural Resources Law Institute Distinguished Lecture, delivered in the fall of 2007 at Lewis & Clark Law School.

Keywords: climate change, supreme court

Suggested Citation

Heinzerling, Lisa, Climate Change in the Supreme Court (October 26, 2010). Environmental Law, Vol. 38, p. 3, 2008; Georgetown Law and Economics Research Paper No. 1087385; Georgetown Public Law Research Paper No. 1087385. Available at SSRN:

Lisa Heinzerling (Contact Author)

Georgetown University Law Center ( email )

600 New Jersey Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001
United States

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