EPA Chief: Carbon Dioxide Not Primary Cause of Global Warming
On Thursday, The new chief of the Environmental Protection Agency said “he does not believe that carbon dioxide is a primary contributor to global warming,” a statement at odds with mainstream scientific consensus and his own agency.
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said measuring the effect of human activity on the climate is “very challenging” and that “there’s tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact” of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.
Pruitt’s stance is at odds with the international scientific consensus that underpins the landmark Paris Agreement, which saw more than 190 world leaders agree to lower emissions that lead to global warming.
NASA and NOAA reported in January that Earth’s 2016 temperatures were the warmest ever recorded.
A report in 2013 by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group of about 2,000 international scientists that reviews and summarizes climate science, found it to be “extremely likely” that more than half the global warming that occurred from 1951 to 2010 was a consequence of human emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.
Benjamin D. Santer, a climate researcher at the Energy Department’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, said, “Mr. Pruitt has claimed that carbon dioxide caused by human activity is not ‘the primary contributor to the global warming that we see.’ Mr. Pruitt is wrong.”
The basic science showing that carbon dioxide traps heat at the Earth’s surface dates to the 19th century, and has been confirmed in many thousands of experiments and observations since.
A 2014 investigation by The New York Times found that energy lobbyists had drafted letters for Mr. Pruitt to send, on state stationery, to the E.P.A., the Interior Department, the Office of Management and Budget and even Mr. Obama, outlining the economic hardship caused by the environmental rules.
Pruitt previously served as Oklahoma attorney general, where he rose to prominence as a leader in coordinated efforts by Republican attorneys general to challenge former President Barack Obama’s regulatory agenda. He sued or took part in legal actions against the EPA 14 times.
Pruitt said during his confirmation hearing in January that climate change is real – breaking with President Donald Trump and his own past statements.
Pruitt told Democratic senators that he disagreed with Trump’s earlier claims that global warming is a hoax created by the Chinese to harm the economic competitiveness of the United States.
‘I do not believe climate change is a hoax,’ Pruitt said.
Mr. Trump is expected to announce an executive order next week directing Mr. Pruitt to begin the legal process of unwinding the climate change regulations on emissions from power plants.