Today appeared to be a good day for US President Obama and the environment, what with the unveiling of a moonshot budget, complete with billions to improve the environment (and humanity!). The Supreme Court, however, is not joining in on the fun.
Earlier today, the Supreme Court put a temporary block on the Clean Power Plan, a US federal regulation that would require power plants to dramatically reduce emissions. The delay lasts while challenges from corporations and states work their way through the legal system.
The Clean Power Plan would force states to reduce their carbon emissions by 32 per cent by 2030. It’s been widely described as the most ambitious plan ever by the US government to reduce the impact of climate change, by addressing the number one cause of carbon emissions: electricity consumption.
Critics claim that it’s unrealistic, and that it infringes on states’ rights by forcing them to make radical changes to their infrastructure. Five of the nine Supreme Court justices seem to think those arguments have at least some merits, hence the stay on the Clean Power Plan’s enforcement until arguments are heard in federal court.
Needless to say, it’s not a good sign for the Obama administration, or anyone who doesn’t particularly like coal power stations. A temporary stay is exactly that — but with over half of US states lining up to challenge the Clean Power Plan in court, the first act has gone very badly indeed.