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ATS Files Amicus Brief in Pivotal US Supreme Court Case on Climate Change Regulation

This week, the ATS led a coalition of 17 leading national medical organizations and many prominent U.S. public health leaders in submitting an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of West Virginia v. EPA, urging the justices to affirm EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. As explained in the brief, “(h)igher temperatures and punishing heat waves that contribute to illness and injury are two prominent effects of climate change that harm public health. America's leading physician-member medical organizations and public health experts submit this brief to draw the Court's attention to the exigent health threats from climate change. Driven by fossil fuel emissions, climate pollutants harm public health across every segment of American society and in every state. The consequences of climate change impair pulmonary, cardiovascular, neurological, immunological, behavioral health, and other vital systems and functions.”


At stake in this case is whether the U.S. Supreme Court will affirm the Agency’s authority to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from U.S. powerplants or whether the court will place restrictions on the EPA’s ability to fully respond to the climate crisis.


Joining the American Thoracic Society in the amicus brief were the following national medical organizations:


American Medical Association

American College of Physicians

American Academy of Pediatrics

National Medical Association

The Endocrine Society

American Association for Community Psychiatry

Society of General Internal Medicine

American Association for Respiratory Care

Climate Psychiatry Alliance

American College of Environmental and Occupational Medicine

American Society of Hematology

Academic Pediatric Association

American Academy of Otolaryngic Allergy

American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology

American Medical Women’s Association

American Society of Cataract & Refractive Surgery


In the brief’s concluding comments, the national medical organizations emphasize that “(r)egulation and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions are necessary to mitigate the scale of intensifying public health harms associated with climate change. The need is urgent, and the quality and length of lives are at stake. The Court should affirm EPA's ability to carry out its mandate to protect public health by regulating carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.”


Oral arguments in this care are scheduled for Feb. 28, 2022.

Last Reviewed: February 2022