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US States Warn China, India That Obama’s Climate Plan Is Illegal

Ed Crooks, Financial Times

State officials in West Virginia and Texas are sending a letter to the governments of China, India and other countries, arguing that US President Barack Obama’s plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions is unlawful and likely to be struck down in court.

In an intervention aimed at the international climate talks that begin in Paris next Monday, the attorneys-general of the two states warn that there are “significant legal limits [on Mr Obama’s] ability either to carry out the promises he has made in advance of Paris 2015 or to enforce any agreement arising out of the summit.”

The letter is addressed to John Kerry, the US secretary of state, but is also being circulated to ministers from large economies that will be key participants in the Paris talks.

The attorneys-general argue that Mr Kerry has a duty to tell other countries that “the centrepiece of the president’s domestic [carbon dioxide emissions] reduction program is being challenged in court by a majority of states and will likely be struck down.”

The letter highlights the difficulties the US administration will face in the Paris negotiations because of the general opposition to action on climate change among the Republican party, which controls Congress and over half the state governments.

West Virginia and Texas are leading the legal action, now joined by 27 states, against the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, its most significant climate policy.

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