Energy

Lawmaker Grills EPA Chief For Claiming 0.01 Degree Of Averted Global Warming Is ‘Enormously Beneficial’

In a recent congressional hearing, a Republican lawmaker slammed Environmental Protection Agency Chief Administrator Gina McCarthy for claiming the agency’s pending rule to limit carbon dioxide emissions from power plants was “enormously beneficial” when it would only avert one one-hundredth of a degree of global warming.

Republicans on the House Committee on Science called a hearing earlier this month to discuss EPA regulations and their impact on the Americans. One hotly debated topic was the agency’s so-called “Clean Power Plan” which aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants.

The EPA’s own regulatory analysis of the rule, however, shows that while U.S. emissions will decrease it will have little impact on projected global warming. The EPA estimates its plan would only reduce projected global temperature 0.016 degrees Celsius by 2050 — for reference, the United Nations predicts 1.8 to 3.6 degrees Celsius by that time.

In the hearing, McCarthy said the Clean Power Plan would yield huge benefits for the climate because it would galvanize a global deal to lower emissions. Republicans disagreed and pointed to the minuscule impact the rule would have on temperature rise.

Here’s a transcript of the heated exchange between Texas Rep. Lamar Smith and McCarthy:

Rep. Smith: “On the Clean Power Plan, former Obama Administration Assistant Secretary Charles McConnell said at best it will reduce global temperature by only one one-hundredth of a degree Celsius. At the same time it’s going to increase the cost of electricity. That’s going to hurt the lowest income Americans the most. How do you justify such an expensive, burdensome, onerous rule that’s really not going to do much good and isn’t this all pain and no gain.”

EPA’s McCarthy: “No sir, I don’t agree with you. If you look at the [regulatory impact analysis] we did, the Regulatory Impact Analysis you would see it’s enormously beneficial.”

Smith: “Do you consider one one-hundredth of a degree to be enormously beneficial?”

McCarthy: “The value of this rule is not measured in that way. It is measured in showing strong domestic action which can actually trigger global action to address what’s a necessary action to protect…[interrupted].”

Smith: “Do you disagree with my one one-hundredth of a degree figure? Do you disagree with the one one-hundredth of a degree?”

McCarthy: “I’m not disagreeing that this action in and of itself will not make all the difference we need to address climate action, but what I’m saying is that if we don’t take action domestically we will never get started and we’ll never…[interrupted].”

Smith: “But if you are looking at the results, the results can’t justify the cost and the burden that you’re imposing on the American people in my judgement.”

[h/t: Climate Depot]

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