The Supreme Court dealt a blow to President Barack Obama’s signature climate change initiative yesterday by temporarily blocking his administration’s new regulation to limit greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants.

The court’s five conservative members voted to halt the president’s Clean Power Plan while the regulation is being challenged in an appeals court in a lawsuit brought by 29 states, coal mine operators and utilities, who argue that the plan is not realistic and infringes on states’ rights.

Designed to cut US emissions by 32% by 2030, the scheme put huge emphasis on a shift to renewable energy and formed the key element of the US pledge at UN climate negotiations held in Paris in December last year.

Introduced by President Obama last August, the plan set carbon reduction goals for each state and it was up to the states themselves to come up with proposals to meet those goals.

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