U.S. President Barack Obama holds a news conference at the conclusion of his visit to Paris, France, December 1, 2015.
Benoit Tessier / Reuters

In February 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court made an extraordinary decision. It temporarily suspended the implementation of President Barack Obama’s signature climate change initiative—the Clean Power Plan—which requires coal- and gas-fired power plants, the largest source of U.S. carbon pollution, to cut their emissions for the first time. At the Paris climate talks just two months prior, nearly 200 nations pledged to mitigate their greenhouse gas emissions using a variety of domestic policies. Obama’s plan had become a crucial part of the United States’ strategy for meeting its own commitment in Paris: to reduce greenhouse gas

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