Energy

Trump’s EPA Chief Promises ‘Red Team’ Climate Debate Sometime Next Year

EPA Chief Scott Pruitt said Thursday that the agency’s much-discussed red tam vs blue team climate debate could happen as soon as January.

The agency’s plan to pit climate scientists against one another on a public forum could come to fruition early next year after the review process is concluded, Pruitt said before lawmakers on the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment. Democrats have railed against the idea.

“That’s an ongoing review internally, and it’s something we hope to do,” Pruitt said at today’s hearing, noting how the debate would center around questioning how carbon emission effects the climate. “We may be able to get there as early as January next year.”

President Donald Trump and the EPA enlisted the help of the Heartland Institute to help build the red team, or a group of climate skeptics. The institute, which is widely considered a central hub for skepticism, is a type of boogeyman in liberal circles.

Military and intelligence agencies use similar tactics to expose vulnerabilities to strategic systems. Skeptics say it would give needed balance to climate science, a field of research many believe has been monopolized by activists.

Environmentalists and scientists are not buying Pruitt’s argument. They believe it’s “dangerous” to elevate dissenting voices, and argue an existing peer-review process works better than a “red team vs. blue team” project.

Democrats at Thursday’s hearing, meanwhile, recited a litany of complaints about Pruitt’s time at EPA, including the agency chief’s use of charter jets and a secure phone booth in his office.

“The stories coming from the agency paint a pretty bleak picture,” Rep. Frank Pallone of New Jersey, ranking member on the committee, said during the hearing. “And why all the secrecy? One has to wonder.”

Elements within the Obama administration even promoted the idea. Steve Koonin, a former Energy Department head during Obama’s tenure, for instance, suggested a red team-blue team approach in an April editorial to put the issue to rest.

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