Molly Butler / Media Matters

Right-wing media and climate deniers celebrate Supreme Court ruling limiting federal government's power to tackle climate change

The Supreme Court’s 6-3 decision in West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency vastly curtails the EPA’s ability to regulate carbon emissions from power plants, thus making it more difficult for the federal government to act on climate change. The case is a result of a “multiyear strategy by Republican attorneys general, conservative legal activists and their funders, several with ties to the oil and coal industries, to use the judicial system to rewrite environmental law, weakening the executive branch’s ability to tackle global warming.”

Prominent climate deniers (many of whom have financial ties to the fossil fuel industry) and right-wing media figures are reacting to the decision by downplaying or denying the human role in climate change, claiming the move will correct for an overly controlling EPA, and generally celebrating.

  • Downplaying or denying manmade climate change and mocking those who don’t

    Marc Morano, a notorious climate denier who is a staple of Fox News’ pro-fossil fuels and anti-climate programming, used the Supreme Court decision as an opportunity to deny the reality of climate change: “That's one small step for climate sanity, one giant leap for democracy. Today's Supreme Court ruling reigning in the power of the unelected bureaucracy to essentially regulate every aspect of the American economy under the guise of 'climate change' -- has been mercifully laid to rest. CO2 is not a pollutant, humans inhale oxygen and exhale CO2. Humans are not 'pollution. I have been stating the obvious since 2007.” [Twitter, 6/30/22]

    Ben Shapiro, whose Daily Wire is funded by fracking billionaires, mocked “leftists” who are upset about the decision, tweeting, “Preparing for the wails of tearful fury from Leftists proclaiming that now that SCOTUS has said Congress must regulate carbon emissions, not the usurpatious EPA, the world will boil. In 3...2...1…” [Twitter, 6/30/22]

    Fox Business’ Larry Kudlow, appearing on America’s Newsroom dismisses the need for climate regulations under the EPA by falsely claiming, “The United States has the lowest carbon emissions and the cleanest water of any of the major countries. … We have clean air. We have clean water. We have done a great job on endangered species. We shouldn't have these overreaching overbearing regulations.” [Fox News, America’s Newsroom, 6/30/22]

    Right-wing TV personality John Stossel, who has a long career of climate denial, downplayed climate change in a tweet about the decision: “The Supreme Court just ruled that ‘Congress did not grant EPA ... authority to devise emissions caps.’ Good. The EPA overstepped, as all administrative agencies eventually do. Anyway, climate change, while real, is grotesquely overhyped.” [Twitter, 6/30/22]

    Podcaster Steven Crowder cast doubt on the idea that climate change is caused by humans. “You have to go through a few different sets of beliefs to be upset with this decision. All right. You have to believe that climate change, not global warming, that climate change is real. … You have to believe that human beings are the primary cause of it. … You have to believe that it is going to have catastrophic results imminently. … And you have to believe that we are capable of actually stopping nature’s course and preventing those catastrophic results.” Crowder also said, “I think Greta Thunberg is full of shit.” [BlazeTV, Louder with Crowder, 6/30/22]

    Joe Bastardi, a weather forecaster and climate denier, who used to regularly appear on Fox News to downplay extreme weather events, tweeted, “I can not share the ‘elation’ of my colleagues on the Supreme Court EPA decision, I have seen them for too long, They will find a way around, and exhaust people taking them to court. These are Marxists and Zealots, and they only obey what suits them.” [Twitter, 6/30/22]

    In a tweet thread, Steve Milloy, a climate denying former coal and tobacco shill who has a long history of appearing on right-wing TV, said it is “BS” for the dissent opinion in the Supreme Court decision to say “climate change's cases and dangers are no longer subject to serious doubt.” Later in the thread, he called climate change “a hoax.” [Twitter, 6/30/22]

    Fox News host Sean Hannity used the court case to attack people who believe that climate change is a threat, stating, “I don't see this Democratic Party ever giving up. I mean, they cling to this cult of climate alarmism. I mean, it's more than a religion to them. It's like you have to deprogram them and I don't even know if you could deprogram them. It's like they have been brainwashed in a cult.” [Fox News, Hannity, 6/30/22]

    Newsmax host Chris Salcedo called the decision “a major blow to the Democrats’ man-made global warming religion.” [Newsmax, The Chris Salcedo Show, 6/30/22]

  • Claiming decision should correct EPA’s and the bureaucracy’s attempt to control Americans’ lives

    Steve Bannon says the decision is a major win for the constitution and our liberties, and a major setback for the administrative state, “The deconstruction of the administrative state is one of the central issues that we face … on a global basis. … It's more than a bureaucracy, it's basically a control function where these global elites think they’re smarter than you.” [Real America’s Voice, War Room: Pandemic, 6/30/22]

    West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, who was a leader of the charge against the Clean Power Plan and who has received tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the coal industry, on America’s Newsroom, said, “We have been arguing for many, many years while everyone has been focusing on the question of climate change, we have said one simple thing — hat if you have a major issue of the day, Congress needs to be the decider, not an unelected bureaucracy. That’s what today's decision means — it ensures that these unelected bureaucrats are not going to be seizing power across the board.” [Fox News, America’s Newsroom, 6/30/22]

    While interviewing disgraced former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, Schmitt relished the decision, stating, “It's an assault on big government and bureaucracy, which I absolutely love. You know, the way this is, the way they operate now they try to just pull off all these moves, they try to just — executive orders and they try to go into places where they don't belong. And they want to control you, just with their political power and that's just not the way it's supposed to be.” [Newsmax, Rob Schmitt Tonight, 6/30/22]

  • Celebrating the court's decision to limit federal climate action

    Climate denier Marc Morano celebrated the decision: “‘EPA loses – America Wins’: Supreme Court rules against overreach by EPA” [Twitter, 6/30/22]

    Steve Milloy gloated about the decision, tweeting, “WINNING! EPA loses. ‘Congress did not grant EPA in Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act the authority to devise emissions caps based on the generation shifting approach the Agency took in the Clean Power Plan.’” [Twitter, 6/30/22]

    A Fox News article gleefully tracked the reactions of major media outlets to the decision, running with the headline “'Dear Supreme Court, Thanks for Nothing:' Dems and media melt down over high court's EPA decision.” [, 6/30/22]

    On Fox Business’ Kudlow, former Trump EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler celebrated the decision, stating, “This is … a powerful decision today, and I have to say, I feel vindicated. I feel vindicated on behalf of myself and my entire staff at the Trump EPA.” [Fox Business, Kudlow, 6/30/22]

    Fox host Brian Kilmeade called it “probably the best news in a long time for the economy,” adding, “These militant green lunatics have been taking over our economy to the detriment of the American people while basically giving everything to China and Russia and Iran, our enemies, who couldn't care less about the environment. I think this is an intelligent way to do it.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 7/1/22]