Statement on Supreme Court’s Decision in West Virginia v. EPA

Statement from Dr. Helen Fox, Conservation Science Director of the Coral Reef Alliance, on the Supreme Court’s Ruling in West Virginia v. EPA. 

“Today’s decision by the Supreme Court on West Virginia v. EPA is a threat to coral reefs and the people who depend on them. It hinders our ability as a nation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and slow the rate of climate change, which our research shows must happen in order to save coral reefs. 

Nearly 1 billion people around the world depend on coral reefs for food, income, coastal protection, and more. Nearly $375 billion in services comes from coral reefs alone each year. As a global community, we simply cannot afford to lose our coral reefs. 

Today’s ruling is an ecocide—an unlawful act that was committed knowing that there will be widespread damage to the environment. The decision by the partisan and politicized Supreme Court to ignore science and instead rule in favor of corporate revenue puts us all at risk. Without clear action from our nation’s leaders, the lifesaving measures we need to curb emissions and slow the rate of climate change are out of reach. 

In January, a report by the International Panel on Climate Change showed that if we reduce greenhouse gas emissions by nearly half by 2030, we can still limit global warming to 2.7°F. The report showed that was an achievable target with appropriate government action. We are currently on track for 4.9°F of global warming, which from a coral reef standpoint alone, would create simultaneous ecological, humanitarian and economic crises. 

Now is the time to take bigger, bolder action to address the climate crisis. We formally call on the leaders of this great nation to respond to today’s setback by passing legislation that curbs our greenhouse gas emissions with urgency and severity. 

The science is clear: we must do more, and we must do it quickly. Our future, and the future of our planet, depends on it.”

If you would like to take action:

Here are some ways you can use your voice to stand in solidarity with coral reefs and the communities that depend on them today: 

  1. Write to your government representatives: Call, email, and/or send a letter to your representatives encouraging them to take urgent action against climate change. You can use our letter template below, and let them know that we MUST reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to save coral reefs and protect the people and wildlife who depend on them. You can find your representatives here.
  2. Vote in November: As this week has demonstrated very clearly, who you vote for matters. Do your research before November and vote for like-minded candidates that share your views on climate change and other critical issues. Register to vote here
  3. Take a stance on social media: Use your digital platforms to show your support for coral reefs and to denounce the recent Supreme Court decision. If you’re not sure what to say, feel free to share this statement. 
  4. Donate to save coral reefs: Though today’s decision is a setback, it does not change the fact that we must continue to reduce local threats to reefs. You can make a donation to support this work—now more vital than ever.

Letter Template to Write to Your Representatives: 

Subject: Ruling on West Virginia v. EPA


As a resident of your district, I’m reaching out to ask you to take urgent action on our climate crises in light of today’s ruling in West Virginia v. EPA. 

I am incredibly disappointed in the Supreme Court’s decision to hinder our government’s ability to implement clean air regulations. This decision is a direct threat to me and my family, as well as you and yours. It hinders our ability to slow the rate of climate change and secure a livable future for our planet. 

The climate crisis is here, and the science has repeatedly told us that we must stop this ecocide. 

As my representative, I’m calling on you to urgently pass legislation that reduces our greenhouse gas emissions and slows the rate of climate change. 

Thank you for your time, 


Close flyout widget area

Help save the world’s coral reefs