Martin Bashir | March 05, 2013
>>> the president may have delivered on his inaugural promise to devote his second term in part to climate change . his nominee to head the epa , gina mccarthy , has championed clean air initiatives. in fact, she worked for then massachusetts governor mitt romney back when he believed in climate change . of course, not everyone is a fan. republican senator jim inhofe of oklahoma says in a statement about her record, as head of the air office, mccarthy oversaw some of the epa 's most costly and controversial rules. which is funny because this is how he described her during the 2009 confirmation to head the epa 's clean air division.
>> let me do this. i want to make sure that it's real clear because i hold you in a very high regard. i think we're very fortunate to have someone like you willing to take on a very difficult task.
>> joining us now is bill nye , the science guy, and sabrina schaefer, the executive director of the independent women 's forum. welcome to both of you. bill, if i can start with you, from everything you've so far heard about gina mccarthy , does her record make you think that the president is, indeed, serious in his second term to focus on the issue of climate change ?
>> oh, yeah, absolutely. she was in charge of air and radiation. i remind everybody that no matter what your point of view, everybody on earth breathes the same atmosphere. so you can have a libertarian point of view or a modern conservative point of view, but you can't get around the idea that everybody breathes the same air, and so the question will be, there are regulations in place going back to 2007 about restricting the pollution and the particulates and also the carbon dioxide from coal-fired power plants being built now. the question will be can miss mccarthy so even the old plants will be required to go by these modern rules and we'll see what happens. of course, as a progressive, as a guy who spent a lot of time studying the environment, i did a science education show --
>> as a scientist.
>> yeah. climate change is very serious business, and the sooner we get started on it, the better. when you -- i was born here. i can't help but want the united states to be the world leader in this rather than not.
>> absolutely. sabrina , your organization has spoken out against miss mccarthy , but isn't it the case that basically whoever is appointed will be carrying out the president's policies on this issue?
>> and that's the bigger problem for us. look, i think that bill and i actually share some common ground , some common air. i'm the mom of three young children. i care about my environment, but i also care about the cost of milk. i care about our energy supply . i care about our economy and job production and i want to make sure that if we're tackling climate change , which i think a lot of people think is a serious issue, although i think we may have some differences of opinion on that, if we're tackling it, that we do it properly through the legislative branch and not through the battles of the bureaucracy. that's what i'm concerned about. mccarthy has already earned the title obama's green quarterback, and it's for a reason. because he plans to use the epa and mccarthy as a way of affecting change rather than going through the proper congressional channels.
>> bill, so there you have it. sabrina is concerned that this particular appointee and the president will issue changes that may undermine the economy and cost -- cause the price of her children's milk to go up.
>> well, i have said this for many years. i just disagree with the idea that a clean environment leads to fewer jobs. i am never going to see eye to eye with that especially, if i may use the term the medium term. as soon as you start making farms harder to grow crops, then you will have fewer livestock and you will end up with milk being more expensive. furthermore, just this morning or i guess maybe it was the interview yesterday, jeb bush referred to the problem that the other side or the conservatives have right now with their anti- science policies, and i submit that the legislators hire people like the environmental protection agency to provide the --
>> if i can interrupt for a second. i hope i'm not being lumped in with the anti- science . you're on with someone who is a deep believer in science and the skib tisk method and the use of experiments and randomization. i have studied science and the history of skuns. i don't want to be lumped in with those people. my concern is somebody like mccarthy has been working in conjunction with president obama to so-called bankrupt the coal industry . this makes up 42% of our energy spry --
>> sabrina , the sole --
>> getting cleaner and easier to use and better, and we have to be careful that we're not, you know, throwing the baby out with the bath water here. we have to be practical in the kind of energy policies that we're putting out there.
>> bill, your response to that?
>> well, coal is not in anybody's long-term interest. this is not controversial. our problem, martin sa b, sabrina , our problem is there are no limits to fossil fuels . we will never run out of fossil fuels . the sooner we stop using them, the better the world will be. everybody kind of know this is but the sooner we get started the better. coal plants, especially the old ones, are just not -- they're not good for the air. they're not good for your children's future.
>> well, one more concern that we have with mccarthy is it seems as though many of her reg layings have been based on faulty science and insufficient findings and small sample sizes and even the inspector general at the epa has called her out on this on numerous occasions. i am a believer in science but i want to make sure it's good science and if we are going to be establishing thousands of regulations, and let's remember the regulatory agencies in 2011 issued over 3,800 regulations. this is not insignificant. we want to make sure it's being based on sound science .
>> let me ask this --
>> very quickly, bill.
>> do you believe this climate change ? do you believe coal plants are not a problem for the future of your children? those two questions.
>> i believe that clay mat change is a new science we have a lot of research to still do and tackling it needs to be done correctly in a way that won't destroy our economy.
>> thank you, sabrina . you didn't answer the question. bill nye the science guy and sabrina