Scott Pruitt, the new head of the Environmental Protection Agency, showed that he is everything we feared he would be Thursday when he got on television and basically denied that climate change exists.
The Washington Post reports that Pruitt’s comments on the CNBC program Squawk Box “outraged scientists, environmentalists, and even his immediate predecessor” at the EPA.
“I think that measuring with precision human activity on the climate is something very challenging to do and there’s tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact, so no, I would not agree that it’s a primary contributor to the global warming that we see,” Pruitt said.
“But we don’t know that yet,” Pruitt continued. “We need to continue the debate and continue the review and the analysis.”
Yes, Scott Pruitt just proved that he is the human embodiment of this meme gif:
From the Washington Post:
His comments represented a startling statement for an official so high in the U.S. government, putting him at odds not only with other countries around the globe but also with the official scientific findings of the agency he now leads. President Trump in the past has called the notion of human-fueled climate change a hoax. And other Cabinet members, including Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, have previously questioned the scientific basis for combating global warming.
But Pruitt’s attempt to sow scientific doubt where little exists alarmed environmental advocates, scientists and former EPA officials, who fear he plans to use such views to attack Obama-era regulations aimed at reining in pollution from the burning of coal and other fossil fuels.
In a statement, former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said: “The world of science is about empirical evidence, not beliefs. When it comes to climate change, the evidence is robust and overwhelmingly clear that the cost of inaction is unacceptably high. Preventing the greatest consequences of climate change is imperative to the health and well-being of all of us who call Earth home.”
McCarthy added, “I cannot imagine what additional information the administrator might want from scientists for him to understand that.”
As is customary whenever someone in the Trump administration puts his foot in his mouth or spills out some absolute bullshit, Sean Spicer was probably in his office typing all fast so he could come up with a response defending Pruitt’s remarks.
“That’s a snippet of what administrator Pruitt said,” Spicer said. “He went on and said, ‘I don’t think we know conclusively; this is what we know.’ I would suggest that you touch base with the EPA on that. But he had a very lengthy response, and that is just one snippet of what the administrator said.”
Not so fast, Spicer.
More from the Washington Post:
But Pruitt, who was visiting the energy industry conference CERAWeek in Houston, also waded into related controversial topics during his CNBC interview. In particular, he questioned whether it was EPA’s role to regulate carbon dioxide emissions—something undertaken through the agency’s Clean Power Plan, the Obama administration’s most significant policy to combat climate change—and challenged the Paris agreement on climate change.
“Nowhere in the equation has Congress spoken,” said Pruitt on whether his agency is obligated to regulate carbon dioxide. “The legislative branch has not addressed this issue at all. It’s a very fundamental question to say, ‘Are the tools in the toolbox available to the EPA to address this issue of CO2, as the court had recognized in 2007, with it being a pollutant?’”
(Pruitt was apparently referring to the 2007 Supreme Court decision in Massachusetts v. EPA, in which the court ruled that “harms associated with climate change are serious and well recognized” and that the EPA had been “arbitrary and capricious” in failing to issue a determination on whether greenhouse gases endanger the health and welfare of the public.)
The remarks appeared to fundamentally call into question whether the EPA has a role in the regulation of greenhouse gases that drive global warming, including not only carbon dioxide but methane. Last week, Pruitt’s agency withdrew an agency request to oil and gas companies to report on their equipment and its methane emissions, which could have laid the groundwork for tighter regulations.
So, basically, the people who predicted that Pruitt would come in, limit the powers of the EPA and render it useless were right.
The Trump administration shit show continues.
Read more at the Washington Post.