EPA’s Air Chief Gina McCarthy Admits Defeat: Climate debate ‘got away from us’ — We ‘allowed climate science deniers to get the upper hand’ — Time to ‘rethink’ message

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EPA’s McCarthy: Climate science debate ‘got away from us’

By Robin Bravender

7/18/11 2:16 PM EDT

EPA’s top air official is dismayed by the traction climate science deniers have gotten on Capitol Hill and in public debate, and she thinks it’s time for environmental advocates to rethink their message.

“I think the biggest disappointment we have is just how badly we have let the arguments about the science get away from us and allowed science climate science deniers to get the upper hand here,” EPA air chief Gina McCarthy said Monday in an interview with WNYC radio.

House Republicans have made attacking EPA climate rules one of their top environmental priorities since taking over the chamber this year, although they face hurdles in the Senate and the White House. The House passed a stand-alone bill in April to upend climate rules and the House Appropriations Committee last week approved a 2012 spending bill with language blocking the agency from regulating greenhouse gases from stationary sources.

But McCarthy said Monday that her disappointment goes beyond efforts on Capitol Hill to handcuff her agency to the way climate science is perceived by the public.

“I don’t think it’s just disappointing in what we’re seeing with Congress and appropriations and bills trying to limit our ability to move forward on reasonable greenhouse gas rules, but it’s disappointing to read the polls and to understand just how confused people have become over the past two years on what we believe to be an absolutely clear scientific record,” she said.

“I think it’s been a very concerted campaign effort … and environmental advocates everywhere need to rethink how we again make the science message clear to everyday Americans.”

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Climate Depot Note: This is the same Gina McCarthy who failed a question at a House hearing in February 2011:

EPA Air Chief Is CO2 Clueless: Shouldn’t Gina McCarthy know how much CO2 is in the air? ‘McCarthy: ‘Well actually I don’t have that figure.’

Analysis: ‘You don’t have what? Please tell me this is a joke! The chief of the EPA’s air programs and greenhouse gas regulations doesn’t know how much carbon dioxide is in the air?’