Scott Pruitt, head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, said Thursday power utilities should be able to decide how to supply electricity to the grid without government regulators picking "winners and losers".
"I think that measuring, with precision, human activity on the climate is something very challenging to do and there is tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact", he said.
"But we don't know that", he continued. "But we don't know that yet ... we need to continue the debate and continue the review and the analysis".
The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has found that increased carbon dioxide has been the dominant source of global warming, said Kerry Emanuel, professor of atmospheric science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). "I can not imagine what additional information the Administrator might want from scientists for him to understand that".
"Since the Industrial Revolution began around 1750, human activities have contributed substantially to climate change by adding Carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases to the atmosphere". Pruitt wrote: "I also believe the Administrator has an important role when it comes to the regulation of carbon dioxide, which I will fulfill consistent with MA v. EPA and the agency's Endangerment Finding on Greenhouse Gases respective of the applicable statutory framework established by Congress".
The EPA administrator is supposed to protect families and communities from environmental crises, but all Pruitt is willing to do is spewing corporate polluter talking points.
Gina McCarthy, the last EPA administrator, also weighed in, saying, "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".
But it seems most likely that what Pruitt and Trump want is no additional information at all. "The majority of greenhouse gases come from burning fossil fuels to produce energy, although deforestation, industrial processes, and some agricultural practices also emit gases into the atmosphere".
To recap, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council, global warming is the idea that certain types of "greenhouse gases", chiefly carbon dioxide produced from activities like burning fossil fuels for electricity and transportation, become trapped in the Earth's atmosphere and absorb sunlight, increasing temperatures all over the planet and creating serious environmental problems.
Pruitt's nomination and eventual confirmation to run the EPA was a major concern to environmentalists around the world, who labelled him a climate change denier. Trump and Pruitt have both expressed plans to overturn Obama-era climate regulations, including the Clean Power Plan which requires states to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.
The plan, similar to numerous other Obama-era policies to combat climate change and safeguard clean air and water, is likely to be dismantled by the Trump administration.
As Oklahoma's attorney-general, Mr Pruitt and another dozen attorneys-general unsuccessfully challenged the endangerment finding in a federal appeals court.
Like Pruitt's own entanglement with oil and gas producers, the freakish anatomy of denial has a long paper trail of "bankrolled public relations firms and their bogus fronts and campaigns have deliberately sought to manipulate the media, mangle the language of real science, and effectively derail any public policy or action to halt the spiraling climate crisis".
Every day, we'll post one easy thing that people can do to continue to resist the current state of politics under the Trump administration, focusing on the creative ways (we are a culture website after all) that citizens are finding to resist.
Separately, in an exchange with Senator Bernie Sanders, Pruitt said "Senator, I believe that the [EPA] administrator has a very important role to perform in regulating CO2".
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