US Lawmakers Vote To Block Obama’s Climate Policy

capitalThe House of Representatives voted Wednesday to delay the Environmental Protection Agency’s climate rule for power plants and let state governors opt out of complying. The bill, passed 247-180, is a major blow to the main pillar of President Obama’s effort to reduce the greenhouse gases that cause climate change, although the White House has promised a veto to protect his legacy. The regulation’s enforcement would also be delayed until all court challenges are resolved. The GOP believes that the rule will not withstand judicial review, so the delay is designed to ensure that the regulation never takes effect. –Timothy Cama and Cristina Marcos, The Hill, 25 June 2015

Indiana will not comply with President Barack Obama’s plan to battle climate change by requiring reductions in emissions from coal-fired power plants, Republican Gov. Mike Pence said Wednesday. The proposal as currently written, known as the Clean Power Plan, will make Indiana electricity more expensive and less reliable and hurt economic growth in Indiana and across the nation, Pence wrote in a letter to Obama. Indiana is not the only state to defy the president on the issue. Oklahoma’s Republican Gov. Mary Fallin issued an executive order in April prohibiting her state from developing a plan to reduce its carbon dioxide emission from power plants. —Associated Press, 24 June 2015

The Obama administration’s plan for U.N. climate change talks encountered swift opposition after its release Tuesday, with Republican leaders warning other countries to “proceed with caution” in negotiations with Washington because any deal could be later undone. –Valerie Volcovici, Reuters, 31 March 2015

Germany will scrap plans to raise emissions charges for older coal-fired power stations, bowing to pressure from the power sector which warned that the levy would result in the closure of mines and power plants. The move illustrates the challenge Berlin faces as it attempts to meet its ambitious targets to combat climate change while safeguarding jobs. Despite a shift towards renewable energy, Germany still generates 44 per cent of its electricity from coal. –Jeevan Vasagar, Financial Times, 25 June 2015

Expecting opposition from the agri-food sector, the European Union is dropping its plan to put a limit on methane emissions, Irish Times reported. EU countries earlier wanted to include methane, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds, and ammonia as four air pollutants whose emission limits should be implemented. However a “working paper” is no longer including methane and ammonia due to “concerns about possible overlaps with commitments related to greenhouse gas emission reduction targets”. –Vittorio Hernandez, International Business Times, 23 June 2015

A court in the Hague has declared the Dutch government’s climate policy illegal and ordered it to cut its emissions by at least 25 per cent within five years, in a landmark ruling. In the first climate change liability suit brought under human rights and tort law, Judge Hans Hofhuis said that the threat posed by global warming was severe and acknowledged by the Dutch government in international treaties. To cheers from climate campaigners in the court, three judges ruled that government plans to cut emissions by just 14-17 per cent compared to 1990 levels by 2020 were illegal. –Arthur Nelsen, Guardian Sustainable Business, 24th June 2015

The Dutch Government will appeal a far-reaching climate change ruling by the court in The Hague according to cabinet sources. The court ruled yesterday that the government should ensure that CO2 emissions by 2020 is reduced further than the government had planned. The environment secretary yesterday said in an official reaction that the government will study the ruling. However, insiders report that the verdict will be challenged by the government. —De Telegraph, 25 June 2015