EPA chief: Climate rule 'changing tone' of talks

Environmental Protection Agency chief Gina McCarthyGina McCarthyEPA finalizes rule cutting use of potent greenhouse gas used in refrigeration Interior announces expansion of hunting and fishing rights across 2.1 million acres Time to rethink Biden's anti-American energy policies MORE said the administration's signature climate change regulation is "changing the tone" of conversations with global leaders.

"We know the U.S. has to really go out domestically and take serious action," McCarthy said on a call with reporters Monday previewing public hearings this week on the new carbon emissions standards.

Opponents of the EPA's proposal argue the U.S. should not take the lead on climate change policies, when countries like China, India and Germany are still building new coal-fired power plants. 

But McCarthy said, if the administration didn't push the new standards, which the mandate states cut carbon dioxide from existing power plants 30 percent by 2030, then "a global solution to climate change won't make it to the table."

She added that the new rules are "internationally changing the tone of the conversation."

"We have already seen a different tone in the diplomatic talks the State Department is having," McCarthy said, referring to Secretary of State John Kerry's climate push with countries such as China and India. 

When asked about the fallout from Australia's repeal of its carbon tax heading into the Paris 2015 talks, McCarthy said Australia is just "one factor."

"There are many players at the table now talking very seriously," she added. "We need to change the tone, and that is what we are doing."

Last week, the White House confirmed that President Obama will attend the United Nations climate summit in New York, where he will meet with global leaders to build up momentum for an international treaty on climate change.