The administration of President Barack Obama has promised that it would be able to uphold United States commitments to an international climate change agreement, as a court ruling heightened concerns about the stability of the global carbon reduction pact reached last year.
Shares of coal companies reflected the uncertainty the day after the US Supreme Court ruling.
The court dealt a serious blow to President Obama’s climate change agenda when it took the unusual step to delay implementation of the Clean Power Plan until legal challenges to the regulation are completed.
The decision to temporarily block the rule came after the United States entered into a landmark agreement with countries around the world to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in December at a United Nations sponsored climate summit in Paris.
While the Clean Power Plan was expected to be the main tool for the United States to fulfill its part of the pact, White House spokesman Eric Schultz told reporters in a briefing that it was only one part of the nation’s response to climate change.
“The inclusion of those tax credits is going to have more impact over the short term than the Clean Power Plan,” he said.
“The Clean Power Plan is one way to get there, but it’s not the only way,” Mary Anne Hitt, director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign, said in a telephone interview with Bloomberg Newsagency.
Bloomberg reports environmentalists says President Obama can cement his climate legacy and fulfill commitments the US made in Paris by using other tools to put the nation on a trajectory that even a a Republican-led Congress cannot shift.
Reuters reports French government spokesman Stephane Le Foll quoted outgoing Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius as saying after a cabinet meeting that the decision was “not good news,” even if the debate will continue in the United States.
Claudia Salerno, a Venezuelan diplomat who leads the country’s delegation at UN climate talks, described the ruling as “truly damaging” to the outcome of the pact.