Barack Obama calls Supreme Court emissions ruling ‘unusual’

US President Barack Obama said on Thursday that the Supreme Court did something “unusual” in freezing a plan to tackle carbon emissions, as he insisted his administration was on firm legal ground.

In his first public reaction after the top court put the brakes on a sweeping plan to reduce emissions from coal-fueled power plants, Obama insisted the battle was not over.

The plan underpins the US emissions reduction commitments under a global climate deal agreed by 195 governments in Paris last December.

“I’ve heard people say, ‘the Supreme Court struck down the clean power plant rule’,” Obama told donors in California. “That’s not true, so don’t despair people.”

“This a legal decision that says, ‘hold on until we review the legality.'”

Many Republican-controlled states opposed to Obama’s plan had petitioned the Supreme Court to temporarily suspend its implementation until a final ruling is made.

Experts say that final ruling is not likely before 2017.

“We are very confident we are on strong legal footing here,” Obama insisted.

Obama’s administration had expected legal challenges but had been surprised that a stay was enacted on plans that will take many years to come into full effect.

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