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The Effect of Challenges to the US Clean Power Plan on the Paris Climate Agreement

Ongoing legal challenges to the US Clean Power Plan (CPP) have led some to question whether the United States can meet its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction targets pledged pursuant to the recent United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Paris Agreement. In particular, the US Supreme Court’s February 9, 2016 decision to stay implementation of the CPP means that the implementation of the plan will at least be delayed, and there is significant risk that it will be rejected by the courts. It is our view, however, that the stay decision should not significantly detract from global efforts to address climate change pursuant to the Paris Agreement, and will not affect the ability of the US to meet its initial targets for reductions in GHG emissions. If the CPP is struck down by the courts in a final order, that could impede the ability of the United States to meet its longer term targets.

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