Donald Trump sued by 29 states, 7 cities in US over climate protections

The lawsuit has been filed to block the US from easing restrictions on coal plants

Donald Trump sued by 29 states of US over climate protections [File] Millions is being poured into research to boost the performance of coal-fired power plants in the US | AFP

Twenty-nine states and seven cities in the USA on Tuesday sued President Donald Trump over climate protections. The lawsuit is an attempt to block the Trump administration from removing restrictions on coal-burning power plants.

The lawsuit was filed in the United States Court of Appeals in Washington by a 29-state coalition which includes New York and California, joined by cities such as Los Angeles and Chicago.

The climate change policy regulations were put in place by former president Barack Obama.

Since becoming president, Trump has been systematically dismantling several environmental regulation policies, including the Clean Power Plan of the Obama-era. The Clean Power Plan called for cuts to greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

The White House had ordered the Environment Protection Agency to replace the Clean Power Plan, which was put on hold by the Supreme Court, with the Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule. However, concerns have been raised by many that the new rule does little to tackle climate change.

California state Attorney-General Xavier Becerra called the ACE “a toothless substitute”.

“This administration has decided to repeal the Clean Power Plan and replace it with a toothless substitute... It's anything but clean, and it's anything but clean energy. President Trump's attempt to gut our nation's Clean Power Plan is just the wrong way to go,” Becerra said at the news conference at Sacramento.

“It's more of a fossil fuel protection plan,” he said. “It's ill-advised, but more importantly it's against the law,” he added.

The lawsuit says that the new ACE rule projects reducing emissions by 35 per cent below 2005 level as opposed to the standard set by the Paris-based International Energy Agency. As per the IEA, the US must cut emissions 74 per cent below 2005 levels to keep global warming within 2 degree Celsius.

The ACE rule allows states to set their own standards for existing coal-fired power plants, rather than follow a single federal standard.

In 2017, during his first year in office, Trump had pulled the US out of the Paris Agreement on climate change mitigation. He has ordered the Energy Department to pour millions into research to boost the performance of coal-fired power plants.

(With inputs from agencies)