Morning Brief: Court Backs EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Rules

Morning Brief: Court Backs EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Rules

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Director Lisa Jackson announcing the EPA finding that greenhouse gases are a threat to public health on December 7, 2009 (Jonathan Ernst/Courtesy Reuters).
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Director Lisa Jackson announcing the EPA finding that greenhouse gases are a threat to public health on December 7, 2009 (Jonathan Ernst/Courtesy Reuters).

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DC’s U.S. Court of Appeals rejected a challenge to the findings by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that greenhouse gas emissions contribute to global warming and are therefore a threat to public health (WashPost). The court stated that the EPA’s interpretation of the Clean Air Act was “unambiguously correct,” and that the rules the EPA has made after that finding could not be challenged due to authority granted to the agency by a prior Supreme Court ruling.

Dodd-Frank May Give CFTC Global Reach

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) said that new rules for banks regarding derivatives, such as interest rate swaps and credit default swaps, will reach beyond U.S. borders (Reuters). The head of European affairs for ICAP, the world’s largest inter-dealer broker of derivatives said: “We are looking at the CFTC effectively becoming the global swaps regulator. Maybe that will be a good thing for financial stability but it's something overseas regulators need to be grappling with quite seriously”

In December of 2010, the CFR’s Maurice R. Greenberg Center for Geoeconomic Studies held its World Economic Update, a panel discussion in which experts analyzed the effect of the Basel III accords and new U.S. federal regulations. Meeting videos and a transcript are available.

Corporate regulation and taxation. Read more from top economists and business experts on solutions for addressing corporate tax reform.


KKR Raises Billions for Infrastructure and Energy

Private equity giant KKR has $4 billion to invest in infrastructure, energy and natural resources (Bloomberg). KKR’s competitors, such as the Carlyle Group and the Blackstone Group are also looking for investment opportunities beyond leveraged buyouts. KKR plans to invest in public and private infrastructure assets in need of repair. In energy, KKR will continue its long history in fossil fuels, while also looking for alternative energy opportunities.

Scott Thomasson, the president of NewBuild Strategies and an expert on infrastructure funding, recently authored Encouraging U.S. Infrastructure Investment, a Policy Innovation Memo released by CFR’s Renewing America initiative. Thomasson proposes new initiatives to address crumbling U.S. infrastructure.

Infrastructure. Read more on how upgrading the nation’s aging network of roads, bridges, airports, railways, and water systems is essential to maintaining U.S. competitiveness.

International Trade and Investment

Apple Wins Injunction against New Samsung Galaxy Tab

At Apple’s request, a Californian judge issued an injunction banning sales of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 (WSJ). The court found merit in Apple’s argument that Samsung had violated its design patent. Patents on smartphones and tablets continue to occupy courts across the globe. Samsung has already redesigned some devices for the Australian and German markets after Apple’s court victories there. Last week, Richard Posner, an influential federal judge, dismissed with prejudice a case between Apple and Google’s Motorola Mobility in which both sought injunctions (Forbes).

International trade and investment. Read more from leading analysts on the debate over next steps in U.S. trade policy.

Education and Human Capital

Senate Leaders Reach Compromise on Student Loans

With a July 1 deadline looming, Senate leaders Harry Reid (D-NV) and Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced they reached a compromise for a one-year extension to a temporary interest rate cut for student loans (WashPost). The plan will keep the interest rate on federally backed Stafford loans at 3.4 percent, rather than the usual 6.8 percent for an additional year. While both parties wanted to extend the popular rate cut, they argued over how to pay the $6 billion cost. McConnell said he expects House GOP leaders to support the deal.

Education and human capital. Read more from experts discussing ways to improve U.S. education and immigration policies.


Apple’s Builds Retail Success on a People Strategy

From 2007 to 2012, Apple has tripled the average number of employees in its retail stores (TechCrunch). It’s a unique strategy in retail, where cost concerns often limit the amount of staff on hand. From Apple’s perspective, the retail stores are a way to advertise its products; its 35,852 retail employees enable the company to hold millions of conversations with potential customers each day.

Innovation. Read more on how the U.S. capacity to innovate could play a chief role in economic growth.

The Morning Brief is compiled by Renewing America contributor Steven J. Markovich.

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