President Barack Obama’s former Assistant Secretary of Energy Charles McConnell attacked his former boss’ plan to tackle global warming, saying federal power plant regulations had “been falsely sold as impactful.”
“The Clean Power Plan has been falsely sold as impactful environmental regulation when it is really an attempt by our primary federal environmental regulator to take over state and federal regulation of energy,” McConnell said of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) rule to limit carbon dioxide from power plants.
“What’s also clear, scientifically and technically, is that EPA’s plan will not significantly impact global emissions,” he said in a Thursday congressional hearing on EPA’s rule.
“If the definition of clean was simply the reduction of atmospheric CO2 levels — and that’s a naively narrow and incorrect perspective by the way. But even if it were, then this Clean Power Plan is not the pursuit of clean.”
McConnell’s no global warming skeptic, and told members of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology he thought the U.S. should reduce CO2 emissions. McConnell said the Clean Power Plan (CPP), however, will only reduce global CO2 emissions by 0.2 percent.
That’s virtually no impact on warming at a high cost. EPA’s rule would only reduce projected warming by 0.01 degrees Celsius and projected sea level rise by 1/100 of an inch — the equivalent as two human hairs.
“It’s a waste of citizens money,” McConnell said.
McConnell, who headed the Energy Department’s fossil fuel office under Obama, became the executive director of Rice University’s Energy and Environment Initiative 2013. McConnell was invited by Republican lawmakers to testify on the inadequacies of EPA’s plan to cut emissions.
The CPP forces states to cut CO2 emissions from power plants 32 percent by 2030. EPA has acknowledged the CPP on its own would do virtually nothing to stop projected global warming, that’s why the agency has said the CPP is necessary to spur global efforts to cut emissions.
“We see it as having had enormous benefit in showing sort of domestic leadership as well as garnering support around the country for the agreement we reached in Paris,” EPA Chief Gina McCarthy told lawmakers in March, referring to a recently signed United Nations climate deal.
McConnell’s testimony sharply criticized EPA’s CPP, and even slammed the agency for doing subpar analysis when it came to how cramming more green energy onto the electric grid would impact reliability.
He said EPA consulted with his office at DOE about future “resource adequacy” of the grid, not grid reliability. Resource adequacy refers to the sufficient theoretical capacity to meet predicted demand.
“This is simply theoretical, linguistic mumbo jumbo offered by that agency in order to sound like an analysis,” McConnell said. “It’s theoretical, but it’s not thoughtful.”
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