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Pause on US Clean Power Plan doesn’t change the realities of its benefits

Clean Power Plan

Creative Commons: Robert S Donovan, 2014

A Supreme Court decision to pause or “stay” the immediate implementation of the Clean Power Plan may serve as a speed bump for the first ever federal limits on carbon pollution from coal power plants, but it won’t change the health and economic benefits of the plan.

Wednesday’s decision means the Clean Power Plan is to be delayed until at least June, when the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit considers briefs and arguments against the plan submitted by a group of coal-friendly states, utilities and other interests.

Although the Clean Power Plan is being challenged, the White House has been quick to dismiss fears that it will impact its Paris Agreement contribution.

Meanwhile, the unwavering momentum to transition away from coal continues to grow in the US, even among communities living in the states challenging the Supreme Court rule.

Key Points

  • Most states are eager to tap into the multiple benefits of the low carbon transition. Over two-thirds of Americans support the Clean Power Plan and want climate action to be prioritized, while 61 per cent of people living in the states suing to stop the plan are actually in favor of it. Moving the US to a safer, healthier economy is smart policy, as the Clean Power Plan would allow the country to tap into the $54 billion in potential health and climate benefits.
  • Around the world, smart money is moving away from coal and cashing in on renewables. In the US alone, major business and investment leaders are lending their support to the Clean Power Plan, and renewable jobs are booming, with those in the solar industry growing 12 times faster than jobs in the overall economy since 2014. Outside the country, from China to the EU, major economies are also tapping into the benefits of renewables.
  • The Clean Power Plan is the first step to the US meeting its Paris pledge, while reaping the benefits. According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), if the world doubled its current market share of renewable energy to 36 per cent by 2030 – which the Clean Power Plan helps to do – global GDP would see a boost of $1.3 trillion. This would put the “Paris climate goals within reach,” while simultaneously strengthening the economy.

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