Big Tech consortium pressures US Supreme Court to uphold EPA regulations

The news: Big Tech companies including Apple, Amazon, Google, Meta, Microsoft, Netflix, Tesla, Paypal, and Salesforce filed a brief asking the Supreme Court to uphold the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) greenhouse gas regulations.

What this means: In a rare display of unity, the leading Big Tech companies, many of which are direct competitors in various businesses, are banding together to expedite EPA regulations that can help curb the worsening effect of climate change, per the Verge.

  • “Both corporate action and EPA regulation are needed to reduce emissions at the rate necessary to avoid the worst impacts of climate change,” the brief says. The companies say they are “united in their efforts to combat this threat.”
  • The consortium is weighing in on the West Virginia v. EPA case, which challenges whether the EPA has the regulatory authority to limit greenhouse gas emissions from power plants through the Clean Air Act.
  • Experts predict climate issues, such as emissions cuts and paying for climate loss and damage, will be top priorities this year. In context, global emissions in 2030 will still be roughly twice as high as needed to limit warming to 2.7°F (1.5°C).
  • "2022 is all about shifting into what the (U.N.) secretary-general has called ‘emergency mode’," said Inger Andersen, executive director of the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP), per

What’s next? Big Tech teaming up to exercise its collective influence on the Supreme Court helps move things forward by raising awareness and sustaining pressure from some of the world’s most profitable companies. 

What’s the catch? We need to look at how these companies are adopting their own sustainability targets.

  • Amazon, Google, and Meta have been criticized for doing business with fossil fuel companies, per Vox. And Google’s data centers require billions of gallons of water to cool.
  • Others, like Apple and Microsoft, highlight their own path toward being completely carbon neutral by 2030. However, Apple has been criticized by right-to-repair activists for products that aren’t user-serviceable, and Microsoft was recently in the news for plans to clear 2,600 trees in Texas for a data center.