Sunday, September 22, 2013

EPA and Carbon Emissions.

 

U.S. environment chief uses humor, health argument to sell carbon plan

Fri, Sep 20 2013
By Environment Correspondent Deborah Zabarenko
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - When U.S. environment chief Gina McCarthy talked about cutting climate-warming carbon emissions on Friday, she offered a translation for those unfamiliar with the dropped "R" of her thick Boston accent.
"I should make sure that everybody knows that when I say cahbon, it's c-a-r-b-o-n," McCarthy told a standing-room-only gathering at the National Press Club in Washington.
As the chuckles subsided, the new administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, who was sworn into office in July, added, "I'll be talking about cahs later too, which is c-a-r."
McCarthy's self-deprecating humor is a new asset in the Obama administration's push to sell its climate plan - in Friday's case, regulations that will use the Clean Air Act to severely limit greenhouse gas emissions from yet-to-be-built power plants.
She also emphasized, for the second time this week, that the climate policies do not add up to a "war on coal," a persistent charge from many Republican lawmakers, Democrats from energy-producing states and many in the fossil fuels industry.
"Cutting climate change just makes good business sense," McCarthy said, adding that "setting fair Clean Air Act standards does not cause the sky to fall."
Beyond the business case, McCarthy cited links between a changing, warming climate and risks to public health and safety from smoggy air, with lower income and urban communities particularly at risk.
McCarthy became emotional at times when she discussed the health problems caused by smog, such as the life-threatening Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) that afflicts Daniel Dolan-Laughlin, a retired railroad executive from Wheaton, Illinois.
"Daniel's health has improved significantly after he received a double lung transplant," she said. "Last year Daniel came to EPA to tell his story. He made a specific plea: he asked us to act on climate change."
DOWN-TO-EARTH STYLE
McCarthy's down-to-earth communications style has been on display for three days in Washington as part of a very public rollout of the carbon-cutting regulations.
On Wednesday, she faced pointed questions from Republicans on the House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce at a hearing to examine current and future regulations which it said cost $22 billion this year.
At that hearing, McCarthy parried questions about whether the proposed regulations would be so tough that they would effectively prevent new power plant construction.
McCarthy sat for interviews with publications ranging from the mainstream - the Washington Post - to the partisan - Grist, an environmental news and commentary website. Her speech to the National Press Club was carried live on C-SPAN.
McCarthy's path to this spotlight has been a bumpy one.
Confirmed after more than four months of partisan wrangling, she came to the job after overseeing rules on mercury and soot pollution as EPA's top air official.
Before coming to the federal agency, McCarthy earned bipartisan stripes as the top environmental regulator in Massachusetts and Connecticut under Democratic and Republican governors.
She was the environmental policy adviser to then-Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee.
(Editing by Ros Krasny and Jim Loney)

14 comments:

Remy Gallo said...

Anyone who reads this article, environmental major or not, will agree that regulations that use the Clean Air Act to limit greenhouse gas emissions is a good thing so I wont focus on that part of the article. My favorite thing is learning about the newly inducted Gina McCarthy. Although we have put in laws to limit environmental damage in the past few decades, enough hasn't been done. McCarthy seems like she desperately wants to see change, and hopefully we will see more to come in the short future. After reading the article, and doing further research on her, her work speaks for herself. She has a passion for making a difference and uses that to convince everyone one both sides of the environmental issue that further work needs to be done.

Annamaria Watson said...

Gina McCarthy is offering herself up as the new face of US environmentalism. She's experienced, bipartisan, and down-to-earth without coming of as being a "hippy". She could turn into a very valuable asset in Washington. The issue, of course, of environmental regulation and the Clean Air Act has for some time been considered common sense by the left; it will be Ms. McCarthy's job now to convince the right.

Leah DeEgidio said...

Gina McCarthy seems to have grabbed the attention of the environmentalists in the political world. Her outgoing personality and well rounded experience, both in the environmental and political world, will hopefully serve as the new activist for the environment. She is well spoken and knows how to grab the attention of her audience. Hopefully she can grab the country's attention and get the ball rolling with the Clean Air Act and environmental regulation as a whole.

Christie Homberg said...

After reading this article, I feel like the focus is not so much on the Clean Air Act, but rather on how Gina McCarthy is conveying the issue of regulation of emmissions. Although the Clean Air Act will be very benifical to the environment, I think it's an important preliminary step to get the general public aware and involved in the issue. McCarthy's presentation of the issue is both attention grabbing and relatable. Additionally, she comes across as being a credible invidual with a background in environmental regulation in Massachusets and Connecicut.

Anonymous said...

This post reminds me of last weeks....Again, the true question at hand is what weighs more heavily? The present or future?

Although we've administrated some cuts to the amount of green-house gas emmisions throughout the years, they have done little to no good. I think these new rules and requirements that new plants have to follow are fantastic. Despite the difficulties the new regulations pose and the fact that changing this type of huge global asset is an incredibly difficult thing to do, it must be done. When better to start now? The sooner these harsher regulations take place, the better the future outcome.

-Megan Spaulding

Anonymous said...

This post reminds me of last weeks....Again, the true question at hand is what weighs more heavily? The present or future?

Although we've administrated some cuts to the amount of green-house gas emmisions throughout the years, they have done little to no good. I think these new rules and requirements that new plants have to follow are fantastic. Despite the difficulties the new regulations pose and the fact that changing this type of huge global asset is an incredibly difficult thing to do, it must be done. When better to start now? The sooner these harsher regulations take place, the better the future outcome.

-Megan Spaulding

Nikita Iyengar said...

I think that The clean air act would be a step in the right direction, however there is one statement in this article that really got me thinking. It is ""Cutting climate change just makes good business sense," McCarthy said." I think that that is the wrong attitude, because of the fact that we are thinking about things from an "economic perspective." We have learnt time and time again that there is no such thing as sustainable growth, and so if our goal is sustainability, then we need to start steering away from the ideas of what is good in the business world. I believe that we are not getting closer to moving into this new paradigm in which the environment is sustainable if we are trying to clean up the environment for the purpose of the economy.

Michael Bronn said...

Gina McCarthy seems like she could do some good for our environment. I do believe that the statement "Cutting climate change just makes good business sense," was said not because she was thinking about things from an economic perspective, but because cutting climate change is good for everything and everyone in general. So of course it is good business if everyone benefits from cutting climate change, and I think that she made that statement to get some people to realize the truth in that statement.

Bradley Malave said...

I feel as though people who are in the position to make drastic environmental regulations choose not to make those changes. The article says that Daniel came to the EPA and asked them to act on climate change. It seems as though this resulted from him being sick and needing a double lung transplant. This reminds me of a person who was in charge of allowing Agent Orange to be used in the Vietnam War. It wasn't until he found out that his son, who was fighting in that war was affected by it that influenced him to help people who were also affected. Based on history, if people aren't affected personally by what is happening in the world such as pollution and global warming then they won’t take any action to prevent/deal with it. Is this the world that we live in? One where people have to be affected in order for them to care about it?

Anthony Jones said...

"Cutting climate change just makes good business sense", while this , statement is indeed factual we, as a society, MUST learn that the current environmental issues that face us are not soley a matter of economics. We shouldn't address environmental issues with soley business in mind. Economics should not be the sole driver of our environmental policy. We should want to protect the environment because we understand what is at stake for our very existence and for the existence of our planet. It is too often the case that environmentalism only finds amble support when facts, figures, and statistics are presented which show how the economy might fail if a certain environmental law,regulation, policy or action isn't put into place and this is quite frankly, appalling. I call for a total change of mindset!

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