- - Sunday, November 22, 2015

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

When Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy sits for a deposition in the Murray Energy legal case against the Clean Power Plan (CPP), she should be asked how much the CPP’s carbon-dioxide reductions would affect climate. If Ms. McCarthy gives the same answer she gave in the Sept. 18, 2013 hearing of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power, she will have to admit that the CPP will have no measurable impact on climate (“Lawsuit to stop ‘war on coal’ could derail Obama environmental agenda,” Web, Nov. 18).

If she continues as she did then, she will say that the CPP is still worthwhile because, to quote from her subcommittee testimony, it “is part of an overall strategy that is positioning the U.S. for leadership in an international discussion, because climate change requires a global effort.”

But why, Ms. McCarthy should be asked, would developing countries, now the source of most of the world’s carbon-dioxide emissions, follow the United States on this? After all, it would require curtailing their use of coal, the source of 81 percent of China’s electricity and 71 percent of India’s electricity. If they are to continue to develop and pull their people out of poverty, poor nations must use more, not less, coal since it is their cheapest and most reliable source of electricity.

If a U.N. climate treaty is in place by the time Ms. McCarthy testifies, she may point to it as evidence that developing nations will follow the United States’ lead. But U.N. climate treaties are based on the Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC), which has given developing nations an out clause. Their “first and overriding priorities,” the FCCC states, is not climate change mitigation, but poverty alleviation and development. Since any significant mitigation effort will interfere with these priorities, developing countries will not be held to any emission limits whatsoever.

Even if the questionable science that Ms. McCarthy supports were true, the CPP would clearly be all pain and no gain for America.

TOM HARRIS

Executive director

International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC)

Ontario, Candada


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