Acting EPA administrator says administration deserves credit for decline in carbon emissions in wake of climate report

Environmental Protection Agency chief Andrew Wheeler did not voice alarm Wednesday about the dire prediction...

Posted: Nov 28, 2018 4:44 PM
Updated: Nov 28, 2018 4:44 PM

Environmental Protection Agency chief Andrew Wheeler did not voice alarm Wednesday about the dire predictions in the government's recent climate report, and instead said the Trump administration deserves credit for a decline in carbon emissions in his first remarks since the government released a devastating report Friday on the growing impacts of climate change.

"In the first year of the Trump administration, we've seen a 2.7% reduction in CO2 from 2016 to 2017," Wheeler told an audience at a Washington Post event.

Andrew Wheeler

Business and industry sectors

Business, economy and trade

Climate change

Donald Trump

Energy and environment

Energy and utilities

Environment and natural resources

Environmental Protection Agency

Environmental regulation and policy

Government and public administration

Government bodies and offices

Government organizations - US

Political Figures - US

Politics

US federal departments and agencies

US federal government

US government independent agencies

White House

The Fourth National Climate Assessment, released by the administration the day after Thanksgiving, concluded the effects of rising temperatures will devastate the US economy, result in thousands of premature deaths and lead to severe weather events.

Wheeler, who is the acting administrator of the EPA and Trump's pick to lead the agency, said he had not finished reading the report and had not yet discussed it with President Donald Trump, a clear sign of the priority the administration is giving the report.

"I'm not aware of a formal process within the administration" to incorporate it into decision-making, Wheeler said.

He also noted "a 14% reduction in CO2 emissions in the United States since 2005," a time period that includes the Obama administration, which implemented strict environmental policies Wheeler and the Trump administration have sought to reverse, amend or eliminate.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, a Democrat who has taken the administration to court over car emission standards, spoke at the event after Wheeler and said "they don't deserve credit for that."

"It's frustrating when someone tries to take credit for things that are occurring because they just happen to be sitting in the seat of that agency," Becerra said. "But for their intransigence and their backsliding, can you imagine how much more we would have gotten done?"

Wheeler also said the report does not take into account "innovation that we've seen already in the marketplace."

"I think we really need to take a hard look at where the markets are going, where technology is going, where innovation is going, and what has driven the reduction in CO2, and we need to give credit for that CO2 reduction," Wheeler said.

President Donald Trump has cast doubt on the report as well. Before boarding Marine One on the way to a political rally in Mississippi Monday, Trump was asked about the report.

"I don't believe it," he responded.

Wheeler said he respects the efforts of career government scientists who worked on the report, but noted that the work was begun under the Obama administration and that the Trump administration did not play a part in the work.

"We did not review it. I did not see the report until it was released," Wheeler said.

There is an open question, however, about whether the administration directed the report be released amid the holiday weekend in an effort to bury it. People who worked on the report said it was scheduled for release in December. The executive director of the US Global Change Research Program, which released the report, has not answered repeated questions about the timing. Wheeler was not asked nor did he provide information on the report's timing.

Asked to name three EPA policies that are contributing to cleaner air, Wheeler struggled to answer.

"I'm not sure I'm going to be able to give three off the top of my head," he said.

Of the three he listed, two are proposed regulations that would dial-back back Obama-era rules that aimed to reduce pollution.

Wheeler argued that the report authors focused on worst-case scenarios. However, the report looked at the impacts of multiple scenarios, and cited a study conducted by EPA scientists in 2017.

A separate climate report released Tuesday by the United Nations said those worst-case scenarios are not at all far-fetched. Emissions are falling short of targets that would limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, the goal of the Paris climate accord, the report said.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 68433

Reported Deaths: 2980
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion14863719
Lake7101271
Elkhart459777
Allen3635158
St. Joseph315479
Hamilton2513104
Cass17519
Hendricks1750105
Vanderburgh172612
Johnson1652118
Porter119539
Tippecanoe110311
Clark108145
Madison84765
LaPorte83829
Kosciusko81912
Howard81065
Bartholomew74347
Marshall74222
Floyd69444
Monroe68630
Delaware63852
Noble63728
Boone63546
Dubois62612
Hancock62337
Jackson5524
LaGrange54210
Warrick51630
Shelby51126
Grant49629
Vigo47410
Dearborn46528
Morgan42532
Henry36118
Clinton3573
White34710
Montgomery34321
Lawrence32827
Wayne3179
Decatur31432
Harrison29422
Miami2582
Scott25010
Daviess24619
Greene23934
Franklin22410
DeKalb2224
Putnam2228
Jennings21012
Jasper2082
Gibson2004
Steuben2003
Ripley1887
Perry17212
Starke1657
Orange16424
Wabash1613
Posey1580
Fayette1557
Jefferson1492
Whitley1486
Fulton1462
Carroll1452
Wells1342
Knox1310
Huntington1183
Washington1161
Spencer1143
Newton11010
Tipton1075
Randolph1034
Clay975
Jay820
Adams812
Rush794
Owen781
Sullivan761
Pulaski721
Brown701
Fountain632
Benton600
Blackford532
Ohio514
Pike460
Parke451
Switzerland430
Crawford420
Martin420
Vermillion380
Union320
Warren191
Unassigned0200

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 93963

Reported Deaths: 3539
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin17254514
Cuyahoga12753477
Hamilton9160248
Lucas4944318
Montgomery405778
Summit3294217
Marion288444
Butler271459
Mahoning2411253
Pickaway235742
Stark1690132
Lorain163476
Warren163435
Columbiana158260
Trumbull1433103
Fairfield125425
Delaware120618
Licking112543
Clark108613
Lake104336
Wood92458
Clermont85511
Medina83533
Miami76937
Tuscarawas74713
Portage71760
Allen65442
Greene62611
Belmont58926
Richland54012
Ashtabula53945
Mercer53513
Geauga53143
Erie52427
Wayne49958
Ross4014
Huron3764
Ottawa35925
Athens3451
Madison33310
Sandusky33217
Holmes3226
Darke32127
Hancock3202
Auglaize2225
Lawrence2200
Union2161
Jefferson2063
Washington19722
Putnam19217
Scioto1881
Coshocton1866
Muskingum1811
Knox1692
Crawford1685
Preble1662
Seneca1613
Shelby1604
Morrow1582
Hardin15012
Clinton1486
Fulton1401
Champaign1381
Ashland1333
Highland1321
Defiance1294
Williams1243
Logan1231
Wyandot1207
Brown1121
Guernsey1117
Hocking1119
Carroll1085
Henry1061
Perry1062
Fayette970
Monroe9118
Van Wert691
Jackson670
Pike660
Paulding610
Gallia581
Adams532
Vinton302
Meigs250
Harrison201
Morgan200
Noble170
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Clear
54° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 54°
Angola
Clear
52° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 52°
Huntington
Clear
52° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 52°
Decatur
Scattered Clouds
72° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 72°
Van Wert
Scattered Clouds
72° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 72°
Sunny Wednesday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events