Obama climate initiative: Supreme Court calls halt
Obama's plans to regulate emissions from US power plants have been stalled by the US Supreme Court. The court ruled that the president's Clean Power Plan could not go forward until all legal challenges were heard. Designed to cut US emissions by 32% by 2030, the scheme put huge emphasis on a shift to renewable energy.
It formed the key element of the US pledge at UN climate negotiations held in Paris in December last year. Introduced by the president last August, the plan set carbon reduction goals for each state and it was up to the states themselves to come up with proposals to meet those goals.
A group of 27 states, utilities and coal miners sought to block the proposal in the courts. They argued that the plan was an infringement on states' rights. An initial attempt to halt the implementation of the plan until legal challenges were heard was thrown out by a US appeals court in Washington in January. However the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to suspend the plan pending the outcome of the litigation.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest put out a statement following the decision:
"We disagree with the Supreme Court's decision to stay the Clean Power Plan while litigation proceeds.
"The Clean Power Plan is based on a strong legal and technical foundation, gives states the time and flexibility they need to develop tailored, cost-effective plans to reduce their emissions, and will deliver better air quality, improved public health, clean energy investment and jobs across the country, and major progress in our efforts to confront the risks posed by climate change.
"We remain confident that we will prevail on the merits."