Obama: 'Don't despair' over Supreme Court halting climate rule

President Obama is telling supporters not to "despair" after the Supreme Court this week temporarily halted implementation of a major climate rule.

Obama told an audience at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser Thursday that he is confident in the legality of the Clean Power Plan, an Environmental Protection Agency rule limiting power sector emissions that the Supreme Court halted this week.

ADVERTISEMENT
“One of reasons I want to talk about this is because in the last couple of days I've heard people say, 'The Supreme Court struck down the Clean Power Plant rule,’” Obama said in California.

“That's not true, so don’t despair, people. This a legal decision that says, 'Hold on until we review the legality.' We are very firm in terms of the legal footing here.”

The Supreme Court’s ruling staying the regulation — after a lower court denied a similar request — is unprecedented.

At the fundraiser, Obama also called the court's decision "unusual."

But the president and the EPA have reiterated their confidence in the Clean Power Plan despite the stay order, which opponents say bolsters their legal arguments against the rule and predicts their eventual success at the Supreme Court.

The rule, which looks to cut carbon emissions from the power sector by 32 percent by 2030, is the centerpiece of Obama’s climate agenda, and the stay means he will leave office with its fate uncertain.

Still, he said Thursday that he is proud of his work on climate change in office, including an international agreement reached last year to cut carbon emissions around the world.

“This is going to be an enormous generational challenge. There are going to be people constantly pushing back and making sure we keep clinging to old dirty fuels and a carbon-emitting economic strategy that we need to be moving away from,” he said.

"We need to be investing in the future, not the past. Instead of subsidizing ... the oil industry, we should be investing in solar and wind and battery technology — all the things that promise us we can generate enormous power without destroying the planet for our kids and grandkids."