EPA chief jets off to Paris to defend climate rules

The head of the Environmental Protection Agency is jetting off to Paris later this week to play up President Obama's Clean Power Plan, which is at the heart of the U.S. commitment to reaching a global deal to cut greenhouse gas emissions but is facing increasing Republican opposition back home.

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy "will speak about the progress the U.S. has made under President Obama's Climate Action Plan and the need for ambitious climate targets from all countries," the agency said Thursday morning, laying out a robust speaking agenda where she will address the emissions rules for power plants and other key aspects of Obama's climate change agenda.

Her trip follows a vote in the House earlier this week to repeal the Clean Power Plan, which the GOP says will drive up energy costs and make the electric grid less reliable. The plan is the linchpin in the president's broad environmental agenda to cut greenhouse gas emissions that most scientists blame for causing the Earth's climate to warm. The president was in Paris earlier in the week to start the United Nations climate change conference, which he wants to conclude with a successful deal to cut global emissions.

Former EPA deputy administrator Bob Perciasepe, who will be linking up with McCarthy on Saturday, arrived in Paris Thursday and began to downplay Republican efforts to repeal the rules. He spoke at an event hosted by his group, the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, which will be hosting McCarthy at an event on the sidelines of the global conference.

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