In an interview on CNBC this morning, new Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt said that there needs to be more debate about whether carbon dioxide is a primary driver of global warming and that "I would not agree that it's a primary contributor to the global warming that we see."
— CNBC (@CNBC) March 9, 2017
"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 asserted, falsely. "But we don't know that yet...We need to continue the debate and continue the review and the analysis."
In fact, the international scientific community has reached consensus that human activity is causing climate change, and that urgent action is needed to further avoid catastrophic results. Even the agency Pruitt now runs concluded seven years ago that greenhouse gases "may reasonably be anticipated both to endanger public health and to endanger public welfare."
Pruitt's endorsement of "teaching the controversy" regarding the impact humans and carbon dioxide have on the planet isn't terribly surprising. Earlier this month, it was revealed that the Trump administration would eliminate federal rules regarding car emissions standards and would revoke a waiver given to California that allowed the state to enforce strict standards of its own. And Pruitt himself folded Oklahoma's Environmental Protection Unit in 2010 after he was elected as the state's attorney general.
Simply put:Scott Pruitt's words today—denying what climate science has known for decades—directly endangers our safety.
He should step down.
— Eric Holthaus (@EricHolthaus) March 9, 2017
In addition, those notable environmentalists at the Pentagon put out a report in 2015 which stated that global warming "will aggravate problems such as poverty, social tensions, environmental degradation, ineffectual leadership and weak political institutions that threaten stability in a number of countries."
The last three years in a row have been measured as the planet's hottest three years on record, and global sea ice has shrunk steadily over the last 30 years. If you're curious, here's a look at what New York City would look like if half of the world's ice sheets melted.
Incidentally, October will be the five-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, which devastated coastal New York City and New Jersey. I was in my old hometown of Long Beach this week, and saw homes still getting raised up, and remnants of our hospital, which is being torn down after it was forced to close because of damage due to Sandy. I hung out in a bar with a sign on the wall somewhere between shin- and knee-high that read "Historic High Tide. Hurricane Sandy."
So, no matter what might happen and no matter the devastation that will be wrought by these short-sighted and nihilistic grabs for more money, take at least a little bit of comfort knowing that after Scott Pruitt burns the world it won't exist for his grandchildren just the same as it won't exist for us.
— grist (@grist) March 9, 2017