US Supreme Court halts Obama’s Clean Power Plan, while businesses call for its implementation

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11 February 2016

NEW YORK: The US Supreme Court has temporarily halted Obama’s Clean Power Plan to curb CO2 emissions from coal-fired plants, following a legal challenge made from some states and the coal industry.

Under the plan, which would enter into effect from 2022, states must cut carbon emissions from existing power plants by a third by 2030, from a 2005 baseline. At the same time, wind power capacity will more than triple by 2040 and solar generation will nearly double, the US Energy Information Administration forecasts.

The We Mean Business coalition, of which The Climate Group is a founding partner, “regrets the US Supreme Court’s decision to temporarily stay the Clean Power Plan while the litigation proceeds. We strongly believe that the Clean Power Plan is on solid legal ground and will prevail based on the merits.

“Business and investors across the United States support the Clean Power Plan because is a core component of the US climate commitment and would reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the power sector by an average of 32% from 2005 levels by 2030. The economic benefits of the plan are clear. It will drive innovation, create new and better job opportunities and help grow the economy and increase the competitiveness of American businesses in the global marketplace.

“Forward-thinking companies are already seizing the economic benefits of climate action and are seeing an average Internal Rate of Return of 27% on their low carbon investments. 368 companies – representing $7.8 trillion in total revenue – and 186 investors – representing $20.7 trillion in assets under management – have made over 900 bold commitments to climate action. These companies and investors are taking action because it makes good business sense to do so. They will continue to move forward - and the Clean Power Plan will help them accelerate their journey.

“To that end, We Mean Business supports the many states that are continuing to diversify their energy portfolios and to prepare their Plans. We look forward to working with businesses, investors and communities around the country to secure the Clean Power Plan and build a thriving, clean American economy.”

Once implemented, under the Clean Power Plan renewables will account for 28% of US capacity by 2030, while cutting emissions from fossil fuel-fired power plants – which account for almost one-third of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions.

When the US government announced its “historic carbon pollution standards for power plants”, the Environmental Protection agency estimated the new rule would create “tens of thousands of jobs while ensuring grid reliability (…) continuing to lower the costs of renewable energy.”

The agency also forecasted the new regulation would save consumers a total of US$155 billion from 2020-2030 – while helping to avoid up to 3,600 premature deaths, 90,000 fewer asthma attacks in children, and prevent 300,000 missed work and school days.

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