Quantcast
Climate

Scott Pruitt Asks if Global Warming 'Necessarily Is a Bad Thing'

Scott Pruitt, the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), suggested in an interview Tuesday that humans "flourished" during warm periods and climate change might not be so bad.

"We know that humans have most flourished during times of what? Warming trends," Pruitt told Nevada news station News 3. "So I think there's assumptions made that because the climate is warming that that necessarily is a bad thing."


Ironically, Pruitt's remarks were made after News 3 host Gerard Ramalho listed a slew of very real and very dangerous climate-related consequences to the EPA administrator—southern Nevada has felt one of its hottest summers and warmest winters ever, the polar ice caps are melting, sea levels are rising, and hurricanes and tornadoes are intensifying.

Pruitt's gaffe is comparable to the time he said carbon dioxide is "not a primary contributor" to climate change. But it is. It just is, as the overwhelming majority of climate scientists have concluded.

"As the evidence becomes ever more compelling that climate change is real and human-caused, the forces of denial turn to other specious arguments, like 'it will be good for us,'" Penn State University climate scientist Michael Mann told the Guardian, which first flagged the interview.

"There is no consistency at all to their various arguments other than that we should continue to burn fossil fuels," Mann added.

Pruitt, as well as his oval office boss, continue to ignore scientific fact as they roll back one environmental protection after another—including the Obama-era Clean Power Plan that slashes emissions from coal-power plants—to push for fossil fuels.

"There was a declared war on coal, a war on fossil fuels," Pruitt said during the Nevada interview. "The EPA was weaponized against certain sectors of our economy and that's not the role of a regulator. Renewables need to be part of our energy mix, but to think that will be the dominant fuel is simply fanciful."

Pruitt has long been criticized by environmentalists for his close ties to the fossil fuel industry. The former Oklahoma attorney general has famously sued the EPA more than a dozen times to block clean air and water safeguards.

Also in the chat, Pruitt insisted again that he wanted to "debate" climate science.

"I've talked about having an honest, transparent debate about what we do know and what we don't know, so the American people can be informed and make decisions on their own."

The Pruitt-headed EPA has called for a televised "red team blue team" debate between climate scientists and climate skeptics.

But there is no debate. Climate science is accepted by lawmakers around the world, who came together under the 2015 Paris agreement to fight the global phenomenon (which Trump is pulling out of, of course).

Various federal agencies also recognize the consequences of our warming world. 2017, one of the hottest years in modern history, was also an extremely costly year. According to a January report from the National Centers for Environmental Information, a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), "the U.S. experienced 16 weather and climate disasters with losses exceeding $1 billion, with total costs of approximately $306 billion—a new U.S. annual record."

The U.S. Department of Defense also released a report last week concluding that nearly half of U.S. military sites are threatened by the extreme weather linked to climate change.

"Changes in climate can potentially shape the environment in which we operate and the missions we are required to do," the department said in its report.

"If extreme weather makes our critical facilities unusable or necessitate costly or manpower-intensive workarounds, that is an unacceptable impact."

Someone should tell that to the man who's trusted with protecting our environment.

Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Sponsored
Popular
Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Nick Lyon, seen here speaking to the press about the Flint water crisis in 2016, will be the highest ranking official to stand trial over the public health disaster. Brett Carlsen / Getty Images

Judge Orders Michigan Health Director to Face Trial Over Flint Water Crisis Deaths

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Nick Lyon will be the highest ranking official to go to trial so far as a result of an investigation into the Flint water crisis, The Associated Press reported Monday.

Judge David Goggins ruled Monday there was probable cause for Lyon to stand trial for involuntary manslaughter in the deaths of Robert Skidmore and John Snyder that prosecutors say were due to a Legionnaires' disease outbreak that Lyon was aware of a year before he alerted Michigan's governor, Michigan Live reported. Lyons is also charged with misconduct in office.

Keep reading... Show less
Politics
Coal-fired power plant near Becker, Minnesota. Tony Webster / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Trump's 'Dirty Power Plan' Could Cost More Than 1,000 Lives a Year

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) unveiled on Tuesday its long-anticipated replacement of the Obama-era Clean Power Plan. The new coal pollution rules will increase planet-warming carbon pollution and could cost more than a thousand American lives each year, according to the EPA's own estimates.

EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler released the "Affordable Clean Energy Rule" today under President Trump's directive. The new plan encourages efficiency improvements at existing coal plants to ensure they operate longer and allows states to weaken, or even eliminate, coal emissions standards. That's a clear difference from former President Obama's plan, which was aimed at phasing out coal and transitioning to cleaner power sources to avoid dangerous climate change.

Keep reading... Show less
Health
Two workers in protective gear scrape asbestos tile and mastic from a facility at Naval Base Point Loma in California. NAVFAC / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Why Asbestos Is Still a Major Public Health Threat in the U.S.

Reports surfaced this month that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had proposed a significant new use rule (SNUR) for asbestos in June, requiring anyone who wanted to start or resume importing or manufacturing the carcinogenic mineral to first receive EPA approval.

Keep reading... Show less
Animals
Rklfoto / Getty Images

Bipartisan Group of Lawmakers Wants to End EPA’s Cruel Animal Testing

By Justin Goodman and Nathan Herschler

A bipartisan group of lawmakers in Congress recently pressed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on its "questionable" and "dubious" animal tests. The lawmakers' demand for information on "horrific and inhumane" animal testing at the EPA comes on the heels of a recent Johns Hopkins University study that found that high-tech computer models are more effective than animal tests.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Climate
Wikimedia Commons

Strongest, Oldest Arctic Sea Ice Breaks Up for First Time on Record

The Arctic is warming at a rate twice as fast as the rest of the globe, and now the region's thickest and oldest sea ice—also known as "the last ice area"—is breaking up for the first time on record, the Guardian reported Tuesday.

The breakage has opened up waters north of Greenland that are normally frozen-solid even in the peak of summer.

Keep reading... Show less
Energy
Climate Justice Edmonton

These Giant Portraits Will Stand in the Path of Trans Mountain Pipeline

By Andrea Germanos

To put forth a "hopeful vision for the future" that includes bold climate action, a new installation project is to be erected along the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline expansion route to harnesses art's ability to be a force for social change and highlight the fossil fuel project's increased threats to indigenous rights and a safe climate.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Popular
A worker inspects recycled plastic in a plastics factory. Getty Images

The Plastic Waste Crisis Is an Opportunity to Get Serious About Recycling

By Kate O'Neill

A global plastic waste crisis is building, with major implications for health and the environment. Under its so-called "National Sword" policy, China has sharply reduced imports of foreign scrap materials. As a result, piles of plastic waste are building up in ports and recycling facilities across the U.S.

Keep reading... Show less
Adventure
Aaron Teasdale

The One Thing Better Than Summer Skiing

By Aaron Teasdale

"There's snow up here, I promise," I assure my son Jonah, as we grunt up a south-facing mountainside in Glacier National Park in July. A mountain goat cocks its head as if to say, "What kind of crazy people hike up bare mountains in ski boots?" He's not the only one to wonder what in the name of Bode Miller we're doing up here with ski gear.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!