Media outlets are feverishly reporting Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt’s remarks that carbon dioxide is not the primary driver of global warming.
Environmentalists are calling for Pruitt to resign over the comments, arguing he “misled Congress” about his beliefs in global warming. Democratic senators have chastised Pruitt for his “ignorant display.”
But Pruitt’s comments to CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” which have outraged many on the left, are no different than what he’s been saying for a long time.
“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 told CNBC Thursday.
“But we don’t know that yet,” Pruitt said. “We need to continue the debate and continue the review and the analysis.”
— Steve Kopack (@SteveKopack) March 9, 2017
Sounds oddly similar to what he told “Exploring Energy” at least twice throughout 2016 about the role human activities play in global warming. Pruitt’s consistently argued there’s considerable debate about the extent to which man-made greenhouse gas emissions impact the climate.
“It gets cooler, it gets hotter. We don’t know the trajectory, if it is on an unsustainable course,” Pruitt said in early 2016. “Nor do we know the extent by which the burning of fossil fuels, man’s contribution to that, is making this far worse than it is.”
Pruitt gave “Exploring Energy” a similar explanation in October 2016: “Is it truly man-made and is this just simply another period of time where the Earth is cooling, increasing in heat? Is it just typical, natural type of occurrences as opposed what the administration says?”
Pruitt co-authored a May 2016 op-ed in National Review that claimed “[s]cientists continue to disagree about the degree and extent of global warming and its connection to the actions of mankind.”
News outlets labeled Pruitt a “climate denier” almost immediately after President Donald Trump nominated him to head the EPA in December.
The New York Times ran with the headline: “Trump Picks Scott Pruitt, Climate Change Denialist, to Lead E.P.A.” Reuters reported this when the Senate confirmed Pruitt in February: “Climate change cynic Scott Pruitt takes over as Donald Trump’s head of Environmental Protection Agency.”
So, you’d think the media wouldn’t come out guns blazing when Pruitt says the same thing he’s been on record saying for months. Guess again.
Major news outlets put out stories on Pruitt’s comments, interviewing a host of politically active climate scientists to denounce the EPA chief.
“Scott Pruitt is just plain wrong on this,” Kerry Emanuel, an atmospheric scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, told The AP.
“EPA Chief Scott Pruitt Questions Basic Facts About Climate Change,” NPR reported. “EPA chief’s climate change denial is easily refuted by the EPA’s website,” The Washington Post reported.
“E.P.A. Chief Doubts Consensus View of Climate Change,” reported the same NYT reporter who labelled Pruitt a “denialist” in December.
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