EPA chief: Next administration must continue Obama’s climate legacy

mccarthyEPA’s Administrator Gina McCarthy had a message for voters yesterday: there’s much more climate work to be done and it will be the next administration’s duty to carry it out. This comes after the Supreme Court issued a rare ‘stay‘, preventing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from moving forward with its landmark Clean Power Plan (CPP). If not resolved by the lower courts, it could be the first sign of the CPP’s eventual death.

The CPP is a none-too-subtle, heavily criticized plan to ‘bankrupt‘ the coal industry by rolling out thousands of new regulations that would be too costly to implement. McCarthy has even admitted to congress the CPP would only avert a temperature increase of .01 degrees Celsius (see video), and that it was largely created to “show ‘leadership’ rather than actually curb projected warming.” What it will create, though, are hundreds of thousands of unemployed workers across the country affected by the new rules.

McCarthy said more work needs to be done “to meet the climate change goal agreed to in Paris” last December. She also said they needed to “expand research into technologies such as carbon capture, nuclear energy and electric cars,” even though these industries are highly subsidized and still struggling. The EPA has come under heavy scrutiny after the non-partisan watchdog group Open The Books released a report (PDF) showing how the agency has become a “well-armed militia” with hundreds of millions being spent on questionable expenses.

Since 2000, the EPA has given out $72 billion in federal grants or 20 times more money than the largest non-profit, funneling taxpayer dollars to special interest groups, favored research, and renewable energy grants. One benefactor of the government’s largesse is SunEdison, which is expected to declare bankruptcy as it can’t compete with traditional energy sectors. SunEdison has also received millions of dollars from the federal government under Obama’s renewable initiatives. Other companies not even based in the United States have even received billions of taxpayer dollars.

She also pointed to efforts currently underway to “understand the extent to which emissions from airplanes and landfills are contributing to global warming.” The EPA has till next January to add even more draconian regulations that will tie up the courts for years, if not decades. There is also the Paris climate agreement, where nations pledged to cut carbon dioxide emissions by the year 2025, with one of the largest emitters, China, agreeing to cut emissions after it reached its peak, long after President Obama has left office.

“We already have a lot in the queue, but I’m sure people will bring new ideas as time moves on,” McCarthy told reporters. “There’s opportunities everywhere.” McCarthy is referring to how the current administration has retrofitted our economy to favor wind and solar through tax incentives and subsidies. They have also targeted a number of energy sectors: new mileage standards for vehicles and trucks, new smokestack emission standards (also being litigated), reducing methane leaks from oil and gas drilling (most methane comes from agricultural practices), and tougher restrictions on ill-favored power sources (like coal, natural gas, and oil).

There are currently seven months until the election, something not lost on McCarthy or the Obama administration. All the presidential candidates have differing views on global warming, with Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton both promising to shut down fracking (which has brought the price of gasoline and natural gas to historic lows) and shutting down coal-fired power plants through unattainable, costly regulations.

The two leading Republican candidates, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and real estate mogul Donald Trump, point to the satellite record, considered the gold standard for measuring any increases in Earth’s temperatures. Other than a blip in temperatures due to a strong, naturally occurring El Ni√±o last year, which increased temperatures worldwide, there has been a zero or negative trend in global temperatures for the last 18 years 10 months.

Both Trump and Cruz have said they plan to undo Obama’s intricate web of tightly woven regulations that have stifled the economy, forced jobs oversees, and decimated coal communities. Even Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin was ‘horrified’ when Hillary said at a CNN town hall debate that as president she would kill the coal industry. Environmental activists hope that global warming takes a bigger role in the general election, even though it consistently ranks dead last as an issue in national surveys done by Pew and Gallup.

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