PJ Media

EPA Air Chief Is CO2 Clueless

The situation in Japan is awful on multiple fronts, and the Japanese face a recovery that will challenge the limits of their capabilities. Yet back here at home, the EPA is aiming to melt down our feeble economic situation by taxing everything that produces energy — not  because of anything like radiation, but due to harmless carbon dioxide.

I thought I had heard just about everything in the great global warming debate until, on March 1, the House of Representatives held a hearing dealing with the EPA’s proposal to commence sweeping nationwide regulations on greenhouse gas emissions. The idea behind the EPA’s plan is to regulate (read: “tax”) the largest “polluters” to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emitted into the air. The EPA believes that by reducing carbon dioxide by some tiny fraction it can control the Earth’s climate system — a typical government mentality, no? Doing this would result in higher costs of doing business for the nation’s power generating facilities and manufacturing plants. It would increase the cost of doing business across the board for many other smaller businesses, and would likely inhibit companies from hiring new employees.

In February, Republican Fred Upton said:

Needless to say the Chinese government and other competitors have no intention of burdening and raising the cost of doing business for their manufacturers and energy producers the way EPA plans to do here in America. Our goal should be to export goods, not jobs.

During the EPA hearings, Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) questioned Gina McCarthy, EPA chief of air programs and greenhouse gas regulations. He asked:

Do you know what the level of CO2 right now is generally speaking in the atmosphere?

He threw her a softball. Her answer?

Well actually I don’t have that figure.

(Take long pregnant pause here.)

You don’t have what? Please tell me this is a joke! The chief of the EPA’s air programs and greenhouse gas regulations doesn’t know how much carbon dioxide is in the air? This is beyond anything I thought was possible. This is a person leading the United States of America? Don’t tell our enemies.

What if Joe Barton was to ask a scientist who did not believe in manmade global warming that kind of question?

Barton: Mr. Horn, do you know what the instrument we use to measure temperature is, generally speaking?

Me: I don’t have that information at this time.

That’s how bad Gina McCarthy’s answer was. To be the chief regulator of such a potentially devastating policy and to not know that CO2 is 390 parts per million? What else doesn’t the EPA know about carbon dioxide? How about that it’s not a dangerous pollutant?

We have been told Ms. McCarthy is highly trained and unquestionably qualified for the job. Says Scientific American:

Although Ms. McCarthy has a tough road ahead, her experience and achievements prove she will rise to the challenge. She has shown true leadership in Connecticut and Massachusetts implementing a multi-pollutant approach to clean up the air in those states.

Let’s talk about that leadership: as head of Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Power, Gina McCarthy helped develop the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, the nation’s first mandatory cap-and-trade program. That program, called RGGI, is actually a tax on each resident and business owner in Connecticut and the other 9 RGGI member states. The charge for operating RGGI is hidden within complicated verbiage of electric bills each month.

Maybe that’s part of the reason New Hampshire just voted to drop out of the system, and more states are looking to follow New Hampshire’s lead.

There are two constants in the universe. The first is change, and the second is the bureaucratic mentality. Ms. McCarthy actually said:

I never really thought of myself as a regulator. I actually am a strong believer in markets. I really think our job is to make sure that the work we do is valued and priced in the markets appropriately. And so I am a true believer in democracy — in having government intervene when it needs to and not when it doesn’t.

Really. It would seem that she believes in the markets only when it is convenient to her bureaucratic, unscientifically biased agenda.

Is the United States going to keep up with China and maintain our leadership role in the world? Not if the EPA keeps looking for ways to handicap us. We need to get our heads out of the clouds and start developing our own resources — the most abundant in the world. Nations such as China, India, and others are unburdened by the carbon dioxide ball-and-chain.

They are forging ahead with a clear vision of the future while we are regulating ourselves into mediocrity.