Clean Power Plan. Supreme Court puts Obama’s environmental plan on hold

The Supreme Court of the United States voted for halting Obama’s Clean Power Plan, aimed to significantly reduce CO2 emissions from US power plants.

It’s a major blow, to Obama and to the Planet. The Supreme Court of the United States has decided to halt Obama’s ambitious Clean Power Plan aimed at significantly decreasing greenhouse gas emissions released into the atmosphere by power plants all over the country.

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A coal plant in the American state of Oregon ©Tedder/Wikimedia Commons

The Supreme Court voted 5-4

Five out of nine judges of the US Supreme Court have voted for putting the plan on hold, thus granting the request of 27 states (mostly Republican-led countries, which called it an historic and unprecedented victory). The four other (more liberal) judges voted in favour of the government’s plan instead, also denouncing the fact that the decision has been made with unexpected speed.

The result is that Obama’s Clean Power Plan, developed by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), will be blocked. The plan aims to decrease CO2 emissions released by US energy plants by 32%: a goal to be achieved by 2030, compared to 2005 levels.

Obama’s Clean Power Plan, a cornerstone of COP21

From a political point of view, this is not an easy blow to put up with. The Clean Power Plan, indeed, represents one of the cornerstones of the government’s commitment to protecting the environment. Besides, it’s one of the key elements of US’ pledges at COP21, the United Nations Climate Change Conference held in December in Paris.

It’s no coincidence that the Democrat candidate at the primaries, Bernie Sanders, said he is extremely disappointed by the Supreme Court’s decision. Similarly, Press Secretary Bernie Sanders revealed his disagreement in an official statement.

In legal terms, however, the final word has not been spoken yet: Obama’s plan will be re-examined on appeal by the US Supreme Court. And the EPA has often won its legal battles. But, for now, the transition towards a cleaner country remains blocked.


Cover photo: Lawrence Jackson/Official White House Photo


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