Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy emphasized the need for U.S.-China collaboration on climate policy on Monday, but failed to outline a plan of action for how the two countries will work together.
“The U.S. and China represent the world’s largest economies, the world’s largest energy consumers, and the world’s largest emitters of carbon pollution,” McCarthy said during an event hosted by the Center for American Progress ahead of her planned visit to China next week. “I’d rather not be the largest energy consumers or the largest emitters of carbon pollution, but since we are we’re going to get together and we’re going to talk.”
McCarthy touted the president’s climate-action plan during the event and stated that the U.S. will play a major role in facilitating global efforts to rein in carbon emissions.
“We are going to continue at EPA to take the lead in implementing the president’s climate-action plan,” she said. “We are charged with responsibility to do it and we will meet that challenge — to address the action items in the report and the plan as well as continuing to engage our international partners because it’s all about reducing carbon pollution. It’s all about adapting to a changing climate and it’s all about the United States playing a leadership role in international discussions.”
McCarthy called on China to emulate U.S. efforts to improve air quality but was not clear on what the administration will do to ensure that China succeeds in this endeavor.
“China also is facing significant public outcry and they have significant challenges that they need to address,” the EPA administrator commented. “But the good news is that we have been there before. The U.S. has faced these challenges. We have faced them well, we have faced them over time…. We know the technologies that are available, we know what planning can do, we know that there are many ways that you can engage states, and in China’s case provinces, to bring a sense of urgency to this issue, and we are going to be working with them to address these air-quality issues going forward.”
McCarthy also offered some praise for Chinese leaders. “They have established some very ambitious goals,” she said. “Not only for air quality but also for climate and we believe that they can learn from the lessons of the United States.”
What We're Following See More »
The White House on Wednesday laid out its plan for tax reform, with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin saying it would be "the biggest tax cut and the largest tax reform in the history of our country." The tax code would be broken down into just three tax brackets, with the highest personal income tax rate cut from 39.6 percent to 35 percent. The plan would also slash the tax rate on corporations and small businesses from 35 percent to 15 percent. "The White House plan is a set of principles with few details, but it’s designed to be the starting point of a major push to urge Congress to pass a comprehensive tax reform package this year," said National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn.
"An emerging government funding deal would see Democrats agree to $15 billion in additional military funding in exchange for the GOP agreeing to fund healthcare subsidies, according to two congressional officials briefed on the talks. Facing a Friday deadline to pass a spending bill and avert a shutdown, Democrats are willing to go halfway to President Trump’s initial request of $30 billion in supplemental military funding."
The Michael Flynn story is not going away for the White House as it tries to refocus its attention. The White House has denied requests from the House Oversight Committee for information and documents regarding payments that the former national security adviser received from Russian state television station RT and Russian firms. House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz and ranking member Elijah Cummings also said that Flynn failed to report these payments on his security clearance application. White House legislative director Marc Short argued that the documents requested are either not in the possession of the White House or contain sensitive information he believes is not applicable to the committee's stated investigation.
The U.S. deployed "F-35 joint strike fighters" to Estonia on Tuesday. The "jets will stay in Estonia for several weeks and will be a part of training flights with U.S. and other NATO air forces." The move comes at a time of high tension between the U.S. and Estonia's neighbor, Russia. The two nations have been at odds over a number of issues recently, most of all being Vladimir Putin's support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in light of Assad's chemical weapons attack on his own people in the midst of a civil war.