Trump’s EPA Head: ‘We’ve Led With Actions Not Words’ On Global Warming

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Andrew Follett Energy and Science Reporter
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The U.S. will lead with “actions not words” when it comes to global warming, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt said in a White House press conference Friday.

“Paris at its core was a bunch of words committed to very little environmental benefits,” Pruitt remarked the day after President Donald Trump made the decision to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement. Pruitt said that the U.S. has already significantly reduced its carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, and should now focus on exporting the technology to do the same to the rest of the world.

“We have reduced our CO2 footprint to levels of the 1990s,” Pruitt said. “That’s been largely accomplished by technology, not government.”

U.S. CO2 emissions fell 12 percent from their high in 2005, according to reports published by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the statistical branch of the Department of Energy. EIA said that hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, was responsible for 68 percent of this decline in U.S. emissions.

Natural gas emits about half the CO2 of coal when burned for electricity. Gas is now competitively-priced with coal in many areas of the country.

Some scientists say that even if all countries met their Paris pledges, it would still not be enough to keep future global warming under two degrees Celsius by 2100. A study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) concluded that if every single country met its pledge, it would only reduce global temperatures by 0.2 degrees Celsius.

“The President has said routinely that he’s gonna put the interest of Americans first,” Pruitt said. “He did that with respect to his decision on Paris.”

Pruitt specifically stated that the Green Climate Fund, which financially supports wind and solar power in developing countries, would end. The Trump administration proposed eliminating the nearly $1.6 billion in international programs in its budget.

“With the entire agenda of the previous administration, we still fell short of those targets by 40 percent,” Pruitt said. “The environmental left was very critical of Paris … largely because it did not hold nations like China and India accountable.”

Pruitt said that the Trump administration plans to export American technical know how to the rest of the world, which will help reduce global CO2 emissions.

“Global warming is occurring and in fact human activity contributes to it in some manner,” Pruitt said. “That begs the question of what we do about it and if it is an existential threat.”

Pruitt noted that many on the environmental left were exaggerating the potential effects of global warming, but stated that it does exist.

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