Inhofe Opening Statement at Full EPW Committee Hearing entitled “Review of the President’s Climate Action Plan”

As prepared for delivery:

On multiple occasions, and most recently on May 30th of last year, President Obama has said that “the temperature around the globe is increasing faster than was predicted even ten years ago” and that “the climate is warming faster than anybody anticipated five or ten years ago.” 

Both statements are false, and through letters to you, Ms. McCarthy, and on the record in this Committee, we’ve asked the EPA to provide us with the data backing up these statements, but they don’t have any data and referred us to the UN IPCC.  They had nothing to back it up, so President Obama just made it up. 

Last week’s record cold temperature brought the global warming debate back to the public’s attention, but that’s only important to the extent that it’s bringing more awareness to the uncertainty of the science around the debate.

Behind me is a chart [Chart 1] of temperature projections from climate models that go back about 40 years.  It also shows the actual temperatures over the same time period.

Two things are readily evident in this chart: one, temperatures have flat lined over the last fifteen years; and two, an average of over 100 climate models from the last decade shows that the scientific community did not predict this would happen.  And to my knowledge, not a single climate model ever predicted that a pause in global warming would ever occur.

This chart completely contradicts the President’s statements and begs the question why he and the EPA not only continue to deny the truth but why it has raced to stop this information from disseminating into the scientific record.

What I’m referring to is the Administration’s efforts, with other nations, to lobby the IPCC to back up the President’s statements in their most recent report.  And while I did not think the IPCC’s hiatus explanation was sufficient, I have to at least give them credit for recognizing the facts for what they are: that the hiatus has occurred and does exist. 

I know this Administration and I will probably never agree on the science of global warming.  But we can set that aside for now and focus on perhaps the more alarming issue – the politics of the EPA’s regulations.

[Chart 2] In October 2012, when I was Ranking Member of this Committee, I released a report highlighting the Administration’s systematic actions to delay the finalization of costly environmental regulations until after the 2012 Presidential elections.  Whether it was the farm dust rule or the ozone standard, the President punted regulation after regulation until after the election to minimize the influence these rules would have on voters.

And it appears that he’s doing the exact same thing with the first round of greenhouse gas regulations for the construction of new power plants.

And we know this because under the Clean Air Act, new rules for power plants must be finalized within one year of the proposal’s publication in the federal register, or the proposed rule is invalidated.  This is important because after announcing his Climate

Action Plan, the President ordered the EPA to “issue a new proposal by no later than September 20, 2013.”

The EPA proposed the new rule on September 20, but it did not publish it in the federal register until January 9, 2014.

Had the EPA published this rule in the Federal Register on the same day it proposed it, on September 20, 2013, it would have been forced to finalize the rule by September 20, 2014, about 6 weeks before the 2014 elections.  But because the Agency delayed the publication until last week, the EPA will not be required to finalize the rule until January 2015, about 8 weeks after the 2014 elections.

This reveals an astounding double standard.  On the one hand, the President says that we don’t have time to delay action on global warming.  He says we must “act before it’s too late.”  But on the other hand, his actions show it is OK to wait to finalize rules that will harm the economy until after the elections so they won’t have an impact on vulnerable Senate Democrats who face voters this fall.

Ultimately, this hypocrisy reveals that the Administration is fully aware that the EPA’s greenhouse gas regulations will put a drag on the economy.  Study after study has shown that greenhouse gas regulations will cost the economy $300-$400 billion per year and will stunt economic growth for generations.

They would be the largest tax increase in American history, and our economy simply cannot afford them.  And more importantly, by this Administration’s own admission, the whole implementation of the rule would not reduce GHG emissions worldwide because it would only apply to the United States.  So it would be the largest tax increase in American history for nothing.