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Gina McCarthy testifies before a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on her nomination to be administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency on Capitol Hill in Washington April 11, 2013. (REUTERS/Joshua Roberts) Gina McCarthy testifies before a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on her nomination to be administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency on Capitol Hill in Washington April 11, 2013. (REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)  

EPA chief unable to say if the world has gotten warmer

Environmental Protection Agency administrator Gina McCarthy wasn’t able to definitively say whether the world has gotten warmer in Senate testimony.

Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions asked McCarthy to confirm a statement made by President Obama last year that global temperatures were increasing faster in the last five or ten years than climate scientists had predicted.

McCarthy couldn’t answer the question, saying that she only repeats what the climate scientists tell her. Sessions was not satisfied with her response.

“Do I not have the right to ask the Director of EPA a simple question that is relevant to the dispute that is before us?” Sessions angrily asked. “Is the temperature around the globe increasing faster than was predicted, even 10 years ago [as the President claimed]?”

“I can’t answer that question,” McCarthy said.

“You are asking us to impose billions of dollars of cost on this economy and you won’t answer the simple question of whether [temperature around the globe is increasing faster than predicted] is an accurate statement or not?” Sessions shot back.

“I just look at what the climate scientists tell me,” said McCarthy.

The hearing was meant to examine President Obama’s climate agenda and featured two panels of environmentalists, climate scientists and federal officials. Last summer, Obama pledged to use his executive powers to fight global warming. His main effort so far has been focused on banning the construction of new coal-fired power plants.

The EPA recently published its carbon dioxide emissions limits for coal plants. In order to comply with such limits, coal plants must install costly clean coal technology that is not commercially proven.

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