EPA Admits to Senate that CO2 Regs Not About Pollution Control

July 25th, 2014 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

I usually don’t comment on what transpires in congressional hearings. But this is too good to pass up.

On Wednesday, before the Senate EPW Committee, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy had this priceless quote regarding the EPA’s proposed carbon dioxide regulations (italics added):

“And the great thing about this proposal is it really is an investment opportunity. This is not about pollution control. It’s about increased efficiency at our plants…It’s about investments in renewables and clean energy. It’s about investments in people’s ability to lower their electricity bills by getting good, clean, efficient appliances, homes, rental units.”

Mmm hmmm. Kind of like investment in Solyndra? Or Tesla?

Why not go all the way…just put all Americans to work digging holes in the ground and filling them up again. No unemployment. Great investment opportunity for shovels and backhoe manufacturers. And we won’t be wasting all of that energy on transportation because the work can be right at home!

This gaffe could come back to bite the EPA. The Endangerment Finding was all about the negative effect of “carbon pollution” on the environment. Now we find out “this is not about pollution control”?


38 Responses to “EPA Admits to Senate that CO2 Regs Not About Pollution Control”

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  1. Marcus Landry says:

    This is a great example of a politician accidentally telling the truth. (Otherwise known as a gaffe.)

  2. George Tobin says:

    Wonder if the 7 justices in Mass v. EPA now feel silly about buying the argument that CO2 regulation was actually a form of pollution control.

    You would think the EPA Administrator would kinda know that the pretext of “pollution control” is the sole legal basis for EPA carbon regulation. Or maybe it’s one of those Age of Obama in-your-face gestures by federal regulators who know they can do whatever they want, including “investments” in adolescent fantasy about imaginary costs for imaginary power sources.

    I prefer people I agree with to be in power. When that is not the case, I still expect the other side to supply competent honest grownups for these positions. Oh, well…

  3. ossqss says:

    Inadvertent transparency. LOL!

    That is a keeper!

  4. MRW says:

    Brilliant. Thanks for this. I agree with ossqss: this is a keeper. I’ve even shortened the URL for those who want to use it.


  5. D Monceaux says:

    Well, one would normally expect Ms. McCarthy’s head to roll for letting the proverbial cat out of the bag.

    But then again, with this administration screwing up big has no consequence.

    But then again, again, most of the screw ups to date have only cost American lives, taxpayer dollars and Constitutional freedoms. This one may have cost the administration a major part of its socialist agenda.

    Say goodbye Gina.

  6. I feel stupid. Up until reading this post, I was in favor of the EPA’s new CO2 regulations on coal-fired power plants. Now I am not so sure because it’s CO2 proposal obviously had nothing to do with preventing or reducing pollution, but rather about reducing carbon emissions, which really isn’t part of the EPA’s charter

    • Mark Luhman says:

      I hope that was a sarc.

    • ClimateDerange says:

      You should have left it at “I feel stupid.”

    • michael hart says:

      Much of what the EPA does/has done is good and sensible.
      But what does a powerful bureaucracy do when it starts running out of good, sensible, and achievable tasks?

      It risks becoming the province of zealots. The campaign against carbon dioxide appears no more rational than a Medieval witch hunt.

  7. Greg says:

    ” It’s about increased efficiency at our plants”

    Yeah! CCS is _way_ more efficient than letting the CO2 get used to fertilise the biosphere.

    Now any time a plant owner wants to make any changes at all he’s going to need to conform to incredibly stringent regulations that are intended to effectively force him to shut down.

    If you’re not with us we’ll ensure you never work again: McCarthyism rears it’s ugly head once more!

    And what will all that result in? No modernisation, no improvements at all and probably safety failings putting workers at risk.

    Nice work Mz McCarthy, could you post one of you illicit, covert email accounts please, I’d like to send you my personal thanks.

  8. Greg says:

    The best way to “increased efficiency at our plants” would be to give them more CO2, not to try and starve them !!

  9. Carbonicus says:

    Oh boy, Amerika.

    The EPA Administrator just went wee wee on your shoes and told you “its raining”.

    George Tobin makes a great point. I bet SCOTUS judges will get very mad when they realize that’s not rain on their shoes and robes.

    This is 1984 meets Prelude to Atlas Shrugged.

    Relevant environmental/energy joke for the day:

    What did Eco-Socialists use before candles?

    Electricity! (of course….)

  10. Fred Colbourne says:

    This really is madness.

    How can the Administrator of the EPA not know that her policy is one of dis-investment in power-generation capacity?

  11. Dr. Strangelove says:

    Finally EPA admitted what is common knowledge to all except to EPA and warmists. CO2 is not a pollutant. “Air pollution is the introduction of particulates, biological molecules, or other harmful materials into the Earth’s atmosphere, possibly causing disease, death to humans, damage to other living organisms such as food crops, or the natural or built environment.” Even Wiki does not list CO2 as air pollutant.


    • Tom Waeghe says:

      You can be sure some libs/progressives are busy editing the Wikipedia entry so that oversight is corrected. CO2 is definitely a pollutant according to them… Then, again, human beings are pollutants to the earth according to the powers that be and their sycophants.

    • JohnKl says:

      Hi Dr. Strangelove,

      You stated:

      “Even Wiki does not list CO2 as air pollutant.”

      Apparently, Wiki didn’t get the PC memo yet. However, they do list CH4 perhaps more reasonably as a pollutant perhaps for its obvious flammable and volatile nature. In other places, they label natural gas (80% methane) as a fossil fuel, despite the fact that it is a volcanic gas. Wiki proves with some inspection to contain some very dubious, problematic if not completely erroneous information.

      Have a great day!

  12. Windsong says:

    I will bet on Gina being all over the Sunday talk shows saying she “misspoke,” or is being “misquoted,” or was “misconstrued.”

  13. Not to worry. Just a “speako”.

  14. wyoskeptic says:

    Nah, she has taken this tack all along.
    Mon, 2013-03-04 Georgetown Climate Center:
    [>>> From http://www.georgetownclimate.org/tags/gina-mccarthy

    “It’s very exciting to me to see that some of the programs at EPA are being as successful as they have been in working with the states, in incentivizing opportunites, at building tools, seeing the states run with those issues, understanding how important climate change is to mayors across this country,” McCarthy said. “It’s an exciting time, and one in which I know that we will find ways to collaborate more and more together.”

    McCarthy pointed to ongoing state efforts, such as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, that have demonstrated that carbon pollution can be curbed while helping the economy, and indicated that the EPA wants to build on successful state efforts.

    “There are tremendous opportunities to address climate change in ways that build the economy, that grow jobs, that you can articulate makes sense to every individual who works in those communities,” she said.

    Oh yeah, climate change is really important to the local mayor, especially each time the overtime budget is wiped out by having the snowplows remove all that climate change from the city streets.

    As for state efforts, all these "tremendous opportunities to address climate change" are going to, in time, bankrupt the state I live in. All that nasty oil, coal and methane, don't you know.

    We used to have a rather popular bumper sticker around here: "Ban strip mining and let the bast***s freeze in the dark."

    It needs to be updated to "Ban coal and coal power plants and let …"

    Looks like it is about to happen finally. And boy does the EPA chief look happy about it.

  15. Etaoin Shrdlu says:

    It is becoming obvious that Gina is channeling charlie.

  16. 4TimesAYear says:

    I watch quite a bit of the EPA hearings on YouTube while doing other things (saves time reading the transcripts and you can go look those up later) It’s very surprising how many Senators and Congressmen catch her saying things that can and will be used against her and the EPA. There was one statement she made on Bill Maher’s show on June 13 – and I’m not talking about the war on coal comment – it’s “This [GHG rule] is about leadership. This is about US being a leader on this issue and we believe and we already know it’s going to leverage a much better opportunity for a global solution.” Unfortunately the video has been edited or taken down, because I’m only finding the 22 second version. Nonetheless, she has made the same comment in EPA hearings. It’s never been about pollution control. Of course we knew that – CO2 is not a pollutant as emitted by power plants.

  17. I am in favor of regulations that mandate increased energy efficiency of appliances (and other things, such as homes and cars), to an extent that minimizes total cost to consumers.

    I see the need because many consumers think excessively short-term, and landlords, homebuilders, etc. often go cheap.

    One example: My cable internet/phone provider recently foisted upon me, at my electricity expense, some box that has 7 usually-glowing LEDs that I can tell (from spectrum) to have basic chemistry types being ones available in the 1970s. This is in addition to my provider-owned cable modem that averages 3 similarly old-tech LEDs glowing when I have the cable modem in use.

    If the LEDs were made 2 cents more expensive by using more modern technology, then all 13 of them (including ones that are usually off) would cost the equipment manufacturers a total of 26 cents extra. Suppose my cable internet/phone provider bills me $2 more over the projected lifetimes of these pieces of equipment, perhaps 4 years, to cover markups. My expectation is to save at least $2 on electricity due to reduction of power consumption by the LEDs, their driving and other associated circuitry, and the power supply circuitry.

    If each of the altogether 10 usually-glowing LEDs has their current consumption decreased from (my guesstimate) 10 mA to 1 mA (on average), which I think is easily doable, then even with a low power supply voltage of 3.3 volts this is .297 watt. The wallwarts feeding my 2 boxes supply much higher voltages, so I suspect that at least .5 watt can be saved by using LEDs that cost 3 cents more to be 10x as efficient as the ones used.

    Actually, 70% of that .5 watt is all of the time, and 30% of that is maybe 20% of the time. That makes the opportunity for reduction being .38 watt, conservatively. Assuming national average electricity cost of 12 cents per KWH, I get $1.60 (probably conservatively) electricity savings over 4 years. (At this point so far, it costs me an extra 10 cents per year.)

    Something else good: Doing this and other similar mandates for energy efficiency of things that consume a fraction of a watt to a few watts all the time has extra benefits.

    One is that this can take some power plants off the construction schedule. This means fewer gigabucks spent by power companies to build power plants, and fewer multimegabucks spent defending power plant construction in regulatory appeals and court cases brought by environmentalists. I think that energy ratepayers pay more when there is need to build more capacity.

    Another good result of reducing energy demand is reducing energy price, through the law of supply and demand.

    I am in favor of energy security / independence, and reducing global warming is not my top reason for this.

  18. Where I said:

    “The wallwarts feeding my 2 boxes supply much higher voltages, so I suspect that at least .5 watt can be saved by using LEDs that cost 3 cents more to be 10x as efficient as the ones used.”

    I forgot to edit that part, during my reworkings, to say 2 cents more. I think 2 cents more per LED to achieve 10x efficiency over “early 1980s technology” is doable for making 250,000 or a million cable boxes or cable modems in China.

  19. Kate49 says:

    EPA’s Flawed Science: From Pretense of Knowledge to Fatal Conceit http://shar.es/L2xCP via @sharethis

  20. Publius says:

    They do have a bank setup and a stock exchange setup in place to sell and trade carbon tax and or carbon tax credits and If I’m not wrong the bank or in Chicago. They get their way with this fraud 1000 to 1300 people are hoping they will become billionaires almost over night.

  21. Steve McDonald says:

    This arrogance and example of seriously diminished intelligence often is the result of a once intelligent mind degenerating to irrational dogma.

  22. James says:

    This is all about money period and who benefits from it. Want more governmental power and control over lives you need more money. Raising taxes directly never is enough so you institute something like this where you have “carbon trading” and the government makes a small fortune off it at our expense. The benefit is the government doesn’t have to call it a tax on us. It’s just to help us combat mythical climate change. Why not just put in a program to battle unicorns? Unicorns are just as big a fantasy.

  23. beng says:

    The stuff about efficiency is also a lie. Adding undemonstrated carbon-capture schemes on coal-plants makes them more efficient? Any engineer knows that’s bullcrap. The increased capital/operation and auxiliary-power costs are beyond belief — back to 1920’s level coal-plant heat-rates. And to think solar/wind is “efficient” is laughable.

    The truth is, it’s the quest for power & control.

  24. Rick Adkison says:

    Laughable if it wasnt going to hurt raise our energy prices and further damage our economy. Look at Gina Mcarthy’s biography. She has been a public servant bureacrat basically her entire life. She doesnt know the first thing about creating investment opportunities. Oh and investment to the Federal Government = increased federal spending

  25. Threepwood says:

    So Earth is inhabited by pollution based life forms, plants especially love pollution. Pollution makes Earth green and most of this pollution based life evolved with far high levels of atmospheric pollution than today.

    Seems like we need a new word for something that is actually harmful to the environment?

  26. James says:

    100-150 years from now, people will laugh at us for believing the nonsense we currently believe about the climate. Don’t think so? Think back to 1914, the beginning of WWI, and what was believed then compared to now. The arrogance of human beings is that in their lifetimes they think themselves the most advanced and smartest humans ever when that isn’t remotely the case.

    • JohnKl says:

      Hi James,

      Great point. A movie could be made about the current CAGW crowd and pseudo-science leftist sycophants titled: “The Unbearable Smugness of Being.” Even if the title plays off of Milan Kundera’s film, the title really says it all!

      Have a great day!

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