Environmental Protection Agency administrator Gina McCarthy, under questioning by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.), could not personally say whether global temperatures were increasing Thursday during a hearing of the Environment and Public Works Committee.
"I just look at what the climate scientists tell me," she said. "I don't dissect that information in ways that would impress you, but certainly I'm not qualified."
Under the Obama administration, the EPA is pushing for a climate action plan aimed at imposing more regulations on the coal industry. The National Journal reports McCarthy denied claims that a delay in the formal publication of climate-change rules for power plants "was political and designed to avoid completing the regulations before the 2014 elections."
On several occasions President Obama has asserted that the "temperature around the globe is increasing faster than was predicted even 10 years ago." In fact, global temperatures have not increased in the last 17 years.
JEFF SESSIONS: Is the temperature around the globe increasing faster than was predicted even 10 years ago?
GINA MCCARTHY: I can't answer that question.
SESSIONS: Why can't you answer that?
MCCARTHY: Because it is a narrow statement in a very large wealth of evidence and information —
SESSIONS: Do we not have the troposphere temperature reports that even IPCC recognizes, and do they not show that it's increasing anything like what the predictions were? Can't you answer that question?
MCCARTHY: Senator, I don't dissect the information and provide it to you in a way that claims that I'm a scientist, and it's a valid way to look. All I do —
SESSIONS: Well, you were asking us to impose billions of dollars of cost on this economy, and you won't answer the simple question of whether this was an accurate statement or not?
MCCARTHY: I actually rely on climate scientists. I just look at what the climate scientists tell me. I don't dissect that information in ways that would impress you, but certainly I'm not qualified.
SESSIONS: Not me. Climate scientists are telling you it's not warming to the degree predicted. In fact, it hasn't really warmed at all in the last 15 years. Thank you, Madam Chairman.