By Jeff McMahon
Republicans may be able prevent an international climate deal at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris if they can scuttle the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan before the talks convene in December, an expert on environmental law said in Chicago Wednesday.
Republicans in Congress will use riders on appropriations bills to try to choke off funding for the EPA Clean Power Plan and other rules that curb greenhouse-gas emissions, Michael Gerrard, director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School, told about 50 people at the University of Chicago. The rules will also face an onslaught of lawsuits that will try to prevent EPA from regulating power plant emissions.
“If that happens before Paris, that would have disastrous implications for the international negotiations,” he said, “because it’s really U.S. participation that is helping to drive it, and if that is shut down, that’s very bad news.”
Gerrard predicted President Obama will defend the Clean Power Plan, which would regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, but less known regulations are not likely to survive the Republican majority.
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