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EPA Administrator Says Climate Change Is Already Imposing Significant Costs

The EPA will propose new rules governing carbon emissions from power plants in June, and to issue the final rules next year.

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EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy

The EPA will propose new rules governing carbon emissions from power plants in June, and to issue the final rules next year.

In her keynote address at IHS CERAWeek, McCarthy said her agency is determined to take account of costs to the energy sector as part of the rulemaking process. But she warned that climate change is already imposing a high toll of its own.

“We’re paying significant costs in the price of insurance rates going up, in taxes going up, in food prices going up, in lost tourism, and in 2012 alone, if you think about it, that was the second costliest year in U.S. history for disasters. It was a price tag of $110 billion that nobody planned for, and we all had to pay.”

McCarthy cited global re-insurance companies Munich Re and Swiss Re, both of which regard climate change as a major contributing factor to natural disasters. Asked whether the EPA’s rules would include specific targets for cutting carbon emissions, McCarthy said no — doing that would violate the Clean Air Act.

The administrator’s speech marked the first address by an EPA chief in the three-decade history of the CERAWeek energy conference.

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Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew heads Houston Public Media’s coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments across Greater Houston. Before taking up his current post, Andrew spent five years as Houston Public Media’s business reporter, covering the oil...

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