Weekly wrap: Obama dismisses climate plan court threat

President says carbon cutting policy is legally sound, Bloomberg eyes secret polluters, UN agrees aviation efficiency boost, Sweden targets carbon neutrality by 2045

Obama's flagship climate policy, the Clean Power Plan, was conceived by his chief advisor John Podesta (Pic: White House/Flickr)

Obama’s flagship climate policy, the Clean Power Plan, was conceived by his chief advisor John Podesta (Pic: White House/Flickr)

By Ed King

Have five elderly US judges nixed the Paris climate change deal?

That’s the fear after the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS for short) voted 5-4 along partisan lines to postpone implementation of the country’s flagship climate policy.

Republicans and coal companies welcomed the move – but green groups were quick (very quick) to dismiss this as a serious threat to the nascent UN climate pact.

So too was President Barack Obama. “We’re very confident that we’re on strong legal footing here,” he told Democrat donors in California on Thursday. “Don’t despair,” he added.

Bloomberg’s coming
It’s unclear whether media magnate Mike Bloomberg will pitch himself into the 2016 race for the White House, but he’s keeping busy saving the world. This week he chaired the first meeting of a Financial Stability Board taskforce exploring the vulnerability of business to climate change. Environmental awareness is a “competitive advantage” for business, he said.

This week’s top analysis:
China: Does suffocating state agenda threaten climate goals?
Zimbabwe: Why have failed rains left 2.4 million on hunger line?

Aviation eyes CO2 curb
Major powers agreed an aviation emissions standards after six years of talks on Monday, boosting efforts to rein in the sector’s spiralling carbon footprint.

BP backs renewables
The oil and gas giant’s vaunted energy outlook emerged this week. It sees fossil fuels dominating till 2050 but hiked its 2035 forecasts for clean energy 13.9%, its biggest adjustment yet.

Stat of the week:
30.5 gigawatts:
China installed half of all new wind capacity worldwide last year, according to the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC).

Munich medal
French foreign minister Laurent Fabius and UN climate chief Christiana Figueres will receive the Munich Security Conference prize “for the diplomatic success” of the Paris Agreement.

Carbon neutral by 2045!
Sweden is aiming to neutralise its greenhouse gas emissions in 30 years. It will cut territorial emissions at least 85% from 1990 levels and offset the rest by investing in overseas green projects.

Quote of the week
“Let the English language be un-tortured” – former BBC environment correspondent Richard Black makes the case for better comms from the UN’s IPCC climate science panel.

Around the world:
Mexico: Check out this cactus power plant
Pentagon to war game climate threats
EU: Brussels faces 2-year wrangle to ratify Paris
Greenpeace ‘fracks’ Parliament as inquiry opens
‘Brexit’ would damage climate models, says Met Office chief
Warming raises threat of forest fires

Read more on: Breaking News