The presidential election is now more important than ever.
However worrying Tuesday was for the success of xenophobic politics in America, it might have been more worrying for the planet’s climate.
In the early evening, the Supreme Court temporarily blocked the implementation of the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, a set of Environmental Protection Agency regulations which would limit greenhouse-gas emissions from the power sector.
Issued last summer, the rules are the centerpiece of the White House’s climate-change-fighting agenda, and they play a big part in the recent, tepid optimism about global warming. Without the proposal of the plan, the United States couldn’t have secured the Paris Agreement, the first international treaty to mitigate greenhouse-gas emissions, last December. And without the adoption of the plan, the United States almost certainly won’t be able to comply with that document. If the world were to lose the Paris Agreement—which was not a total solution to the climate crisis, but meant to be a first, provisional step—years could be lost in the diplomatic fight to reduce climate-change’s dangers.