Newly sworn in EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, responding to criticism of her agency’s proposed new carbon capture rules from coal state Senators Joe Manchin (D, WV) and Mitch McConnell (R, KY), disavowed the idea that these rules are based on ideology. Instead, she claimed, the rules are based on “world-renowned science” — the 1993 Harvard University Six Cities Study on the link between air pollution and health.

Coal shippingManchin charged in the Christian Science Monitor that EPA rules would “have devastating impacts on the coal industry and our economy.” And McConnell, speaking on the Senate floor, called the rules “the latest Administration salvo in its never ending war on coal – a war against the very people who provide power and energy for our country.”

Perhaps Ms. McCarthy is simply ignorant of her boss’ rhetorical history. Back in 2008, Senator Barack Obama (D, IL) told the San Francisco Chronicle that, “if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.”

Of course, President Obama never got his carbon tax or his much desired cap and trade program. But he did find ways to “invest” in alternative energy technologies (wind and solar, in particular) by funneling large sums of subsidy money into “cutting edge” companies – many of which are now belly-up. And through it all apparently he never forgot his promise to bankrupt the coal industry.

Back in June, as the President was gearing up for a major climate chat with John Q. Public, Juliet Eilperin in the Washington Post noted that the Administration had pursued a string of policies unrelated to “climate change” that make it more costly for businesses to extract and burn coal. And an ecstatic Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune was licking his chops at the prospect of closing down more coal plants: “The President realizes that you can’t combat climate change without a direct confrontation with the fossil fuel industry,” he eagerly said.

Such sentiments were also echoed in ivory halls of Harvard, where Presidential advisor Daniel P. Schrag of the school’s Center for the Environment told to the New York Times that “a war on coal is exactly what’s needed” to address global warming. Apparently, neither Schrag, nor the President, nor Ms. McCarthy have gotten the message that there has been no meaningful global warming since the nineties and that many scientists today are much more concerned that we are entering a longer period of cooling.

It is one thing to further restrict emissions of known air toxins, soot, NOx or airborne contaminants, as EPA has already done. But it is far different to claim that science justifies a war on carbon dioxide emissions – despite the Supreme Court’s 2007 ruling that EPA can, but is not obligated to, control CO2 emissions pursuant to the Clean Air Act.

Ms. McCarthy’s proposed rules could not be linked to the 1993 Harvard study, which did not address carbon dioxide as a pollutant at all. Nor did the 1995 ACS study. Even the Court’s 5-4 declaration that CO2 is an air pollutant cannot establish a scientific link to either of those studies.

What is truly needed is for the Court to revisit its 2007 ruling, in light of new evidence that suggests the alleged link between CO2 levels and world temperature trends has been far overstated. Despite the oft-repeated, bogus claim that “97% of climate scientists” believe that CO2 emissions are so high the planet is about to burn up, new science, a lack of warming for 16 years, and now a growing number of skeptical scientists – tell a far different story.


This article originally appeared at the National Journal



  • Craig Rucker is a co-founder of CFACT and currently serves as its president.