Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

Sustainable Energy

Supreme Court Strikes Blow Against Obama’s Climate Agenda

Ending a run of good news for clean energy, justices delayed emissions regulations while a legal battle plays out.

In a blow to President Obama's plans for combating climate change, the Supreme Court issued a stay yesterday that prevents the Clean Power Plan, the president’s initiative on fighting climate change, from restricting existing power plants’ emissions. Coming, as it did, seven years after the court held that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has the authority to regulate carbon dioxide as a pollutant, the ruling startled environmental advocates and clearly undermines the U.S. plan to reduce overall greenhouse-gas emissions under the Paris climate accord reached in December.

Issued without explanation in a terse order approved 5-4 along partisan lines, the ruling delays implementation of the plan while a federal appeals court considers the case brought by 29 states and fossil-fuel companies that seek to strike it down. As several commentators noted, it is extremely unusual for the high court to stay federal regulations while lower courts consider their constitutionality—in fact, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., unanimously refused to grant a stay just last month.

The Scattergood Power Plant in El Segundo, California, operating after sunset in 2006.

The Supreme Court’s move also ends a run of good news for the clean energy movement, which included Congress’s extension of the investment tax credit for solar power installations. Despite low oil prices, investment in and adoption of clean power has continued to soar in the last year.

That surge is not likely to be affected by whether the Clean Power Plan is ultimately upheld, but there are signs that economic winds may be changing. Shares in SolarCity, the nation’s largest installer of residential solar arrays, have lost 61 percent of their value in the last month as the company issued reduced projections for future growth.

(Source: Washington Post)

Cut off? Read unlimited articles today.

Become an Insider
Already an Insider? Log in.
The Scattergood Power Plant in El Segundo, California, operating after sunset in 2006.
More from Sustainable Energy

Can we sustainably provide food, water, and energy to a growing population during a climate crisis?

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe and become an Insider.
  • Insider Plus {! insider.prices.plus !}* Best Value

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Everything included in Insider Basic, plus the digital magazine, extensive archive, ad-free web experience, and discounts to partner offerings and MIT Technology Review events.

    See details+

    Print + Digital Magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

    Technology Review PDF magazine archive, including articles, images, and covers dating back to 1899

    10% Discount to MIT Technology Review events and MIT Press

    Ad-free website experience

  • Insider Basic {! insider.prices.basic !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Six issues of our award winning print magazine, unlimited online access plus The Download with the top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox.

    See details+

    Print Magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

  • Insider Online Only {! insider.prices.online !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Unlimited online access including articles and video, plus The Download with the top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox.

    See details+

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

/3
You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.