Obama’s EPA Pick Challenged on the ‘Science’ of Climate Change
January 14, 2009 - 8:56 PMEnvironmental Protection Agency head designee Lisa Jackson promises to rely on science when it comes to decisions about climate change, but would make no guarantees about the president-elect's proposed "cap-and-trade" proposal.
“If confirmed, I will serve with science as my guide,” said the former commissioner of New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection.
“Science must be the backbone of the EPA,” Jackson added. “We will make decisions based on the best available science … based on the judgment of the agency’s scientists and independent scientists.”
Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) called Jackson’s pledges to make scientific integrity the core value of the EPA “music to my ears,” but admonished her to consider all available scientific opinions on climate change -- especially critics of "global warming."
The ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee asked Jackson to commit to listen to a speech he made on the Senate floor last week about the science and economics of global warming.A Senate minority report titled, “More Than 650 International Scientists Dissent Over Man-Made Global Warming Claims,” provided the basis for the speech.
The report lists the names of hundreds of internationally recognized scientists who are now skeptical of global warming, many of whom currently or formerly worked for the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC),
“Many politically left-of-center scientists and environmental activists are now realizing that the so-called ‘consensus’ on man-made global warming is not holding up,” Inhofe said in his speech.
Inhofe quoted some of those scientists:
-- “I am a skeptic . . . global warming has become a new religion,” said (Ivar Giaever, Nobel Prize Winner for Physics.
-- “Warming fears are the “worst scientific scandal in the history…When people come to know what the truth is, they will feel deceived by science and scientists,” said IPCC Japanese scientist Dr. Kiminori Itoh, an award-winning Ph.D. environmental physical chemist.
-- “It is a blatant lie put forth in the media that makes it seem there is only a fringe of scientists who don’t buy into anthropogenic global warming,” said U.S government Atmospheric Scientist Stanley B. Goldenberg of the Hurricane Research Division of NOAA.
Jackson promised that if she is confirmed, she will make time to listen to the speech.
Inhofe, meanwhile, also expressed apprehension about Jackson’s support for the president-elect’s proposed “cap-and-trade” system. But the likely EPA administrator made no promises to listen to those concerns.
The system would set a cap on the amount of carbon a company could release into the atmosphere. If a company exceeded its carbon emission limit, it would be forced to buy “credits” from (or pay penalties to) a company that emitted less carbon.
Given the choice between cap-and-trade and a straight tax on actual carbon usage, Inhofe told the nominee he would rather have a carbon tax.
“To me, cap-and-trade is a way of obscuring what it really costs the American people – an estimated $300- to $330 billion a year,” he said.
Under cap-and-trade, the cost companies incur buying carbon credits will be passed on to consumers, according to Mark Morano, minority communications director for the committee.
“A carbon tax is direct – you can see it, feel it and know exactly how much it costs, whereas cap-and-trade will raise energy prices and you won’t know why they’re going up.
It’s a hidden tax on energy, whereas a carbon tax is open and honest,” he added.
The nominee’s response to Inhofe: “I would certainly be open to discussions, but the president-elect has said he believes the cap and trade program is a good way to go.”
Jackson has served as vice-president on the board of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a cap-and-trade system aimed at reducing emissions in the Northeast.