Legal Challenge To Clean Power Plan Will Have Global Ramifications – Christopher Knittel

MIT Sloan Professor Christopher Knittel

MIT Sloan Professor Christopher Knittel

From The Huffington Post

The DC. Court of Appeals began hearing arguments recenlty in an historic session taken “en banc” – with a roster of 10 judges hearing a case that challenges President Obama’s Clean Power plan. Specifically, some industry associations are challenging new targets for coal plants that would require a 32 percent reduction in carbon emission by 2030. More generally, the case highlights challenges to Obama’s use of his executive powers to regulate the electricity industry in a way that will help the US meet international targets for reduction in carbon emissions.

Obama’s use of the Clean Air Act to bring his Clean Power Plan to fruition has been
called “vast legal overreach” by some law professors who have said it is tantamount to burning the constitution.

While it may take weeks or even months for the court to rule, the case highlights the extreme importance of keeping U.S. plans to reduce emissions on track in order to spur continued global cooperation on global warming. With the U.S. election continuing to create its own heat, there are many interlocking and swiftly moving pieces on the global climate change front.

The world needs continued leadership from the U.S. and a ruling by the court that Obama had overreached would impact progress globally.

The hearing comes on the heels of last November’s Conference of the Parities on Climate Change in Paris (COP-21) where more than two decades of difficult and very tenuous multilateral negotiations on collective action on climate change concluded in a delicate compromise. The effectiveness of this agreement hinges on nations adhering to – and eventually ratcheting up – their nationally determined contributions (NDC). Other big emitters are living up to their commitments. India, for example, is set to ratify its COP-21 contributions next month on the historic occasion of Gandhi’s birthday, October 2; just last month, China’s President Xi Jinping announced the ratification of China’s COP-21 commitments in a joint press conference with President Obama. China and India rank first and third, respectively, in global greenhouse gas emissions. The U.S. ranks second. Combined these three countries account for nearly one-half of all emissions.

Read the full post at The Huffington Post

Christopher Knittel is the George P. Shultz Professor and a Professor of Applied Economics at the MIT Sloan School of Management.

 

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