The administration of President Barack Obama is vowing to press ahead with efforts to curtail greenhouse gas emissions after a divided Supreme Court put his signature plan to address climate change on hold until after legal challenges are resolved. Tuesday’s surprising move by the court is a blow to Obama and a victory for the coalition of 27 mostly Republican-led states and industry opponents, who call the regulations “an unprecedented power grab.”
Today’s decision marks a big victory for critics of President Obama’s signature climate change rule. By granting the unusual request — which the administration called “extraordinary and unprecedented” — the high court has signaled that the regulation may not withstand its scrutiny.
The 5-to-4 vote, with the court’s four liberal members dissenting, was unprecedented — the Supreme Court had never before granted a request to halt a regulation before review by a federal appeals court.
It’s unclear now whether the rule — which the Obama administration leaned heavily on in recent international climate negotiations in Paris — will ever be revived. The high court blocked it at least until a federal appeals court weighs its legality and potentially until the Supreme Court decides whether to uphold the rule, which could conceivably take years.
Senators from both parties are scrambling to save the bipartisan energy package from collapsing under the political weight of the Flint, Mich., drinking water crisis. With the Senate scheduled to move on to other business tomorrow morning, key senators huddled on the floor last night to talk strategy for providing federal assistance for Flint — a key demand of Democrats, who filibustered a pair of procedural motions for the underlying energy bill (S. 2012) last week to maintain leverage on the issue.
The European Union installed record wind-power capacity in 2015 as the technology leapfrogged hydropower to become the third-biggest source of electricity in the 28-nation bloc. Germany’s market led the growth, installing 47 percent of the 12.8-gigawatts of new wind power capacity across the region, the European Wind Energy Association said Tuesday in an e-mailed report. Record offshore installations canceled out a dip in new onshore machines. That pushed the total for 2015 above the 12.1 gigawatts registered in 2014.
Humans have only a small window to zero out carbon dioxide emissions that could lead to changes affecting the globe for tens of thousands of years, according to new research published today. The study in the journal Nature Climate Change warned that the climate change debate has focused on time frames that are too short, largely ignoring long-term changes to the ecology and geology of the world.
President Obama will deliver his final budget proposal today, which will seek to cement his environmental legacy with billions of dollars in clean energy investments and by building on the global climate deal struck in Paris. “My budget is going to double our investment in clean energy research and development by the end of the decade,” Obama said Friday during a short White House press conference. “That’s going to help businesses create more jobs faster, it’s going to lower the cost of clean energy faster, it’s going to help renewable power compete with dirty fuels across America in a more effective way.”
The White House outlined a sweeping plan this weekend to double clean energy research spending over five years as part of a global effort to fight climate change. The massive proposal — which involves 12 federal agencies and envisions a 20 percent increase in energy research and development in the president’s coming budget — is meant to be the meat on the bones of the “Mission Innovation” initiative launched at last year’s climate talks in Paris.
The leaders of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee are working to keep their bipartisan energy package alive, while discussions continue on possible aid to help the residents of Flint, Mich., cope with their lead-contaminated drinking water. In a joint statement yesterday afternoon, Energy Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and ranking member Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) said they worked over the weekend to “clear a path” for the bill, which became bogged down last week over Democrats’ demands that aid for Flint be included.