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
Insights/Opinion
Pexels

Tackling Climate Change Requires Healing the Divide

Canadian climate change opinion is polarized, and research shows the divide is widening. The greatest predictor of people's outlook is political affiliation. This means people's climate change perceptions are being increasingly driven by divisive political agendas rather than science and concern for our collective welfare.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
Westend61 / Getty Images

EcoWatch Gratitude Photo Contest: Submit Now!

EcoWatch is pleased to announce its first photo contest! Show us what in nature you are most thankful for this Thanksgiving. Whether you have a love for oceans, animals, or parks, we want to see your best photos that capture what you love about this planet.

Keep reading... Show less
Food
Pexels

10 Chefs Bringing Forgotten Grains Back to Life

Millets are a staple crop for tens of millions of people throughout Asia and Africa. Known as Smart Food, millets are gluten-free, and an excellent source of protein, calcium, iron, zinc and dietary fiber. They can also be a better choice for farmers and the planet, requiring 30 percent less water than maize, 70 percent less water than rice, and can be grown with fewer expensive inputs, demanding little or no fertilizers and pesticides.

Keep reading... Show less
Adventure
Háifoss waterfall is situated near the volcano Hekla in the south of Iceland. FEBRUARY / Getty Images

The Essential Guide to Eco-Friendly Travel

By Meredith Rosenberg

Between gas-guzzling flights, high-pollution cruise ships and energy-consuming hotels, travel takes a huge toll on the environment. Whether for business or vacation, for many people it's not realistic to simply stop traveling. So what's the solution? There are actually numerous ways to become more eco-conscious while traveling, which can be implemented with these expert tips.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Animals
Freder / E+ / Getty Images

Surprising Study: Orangutans Are Only Non-Human Primates Who Can 'Talk' About the Past

We already know that orangutans are some of the smartest land animals on Earth. Now, researchers have found evidence that these amazing apes can communicate about past events—the first time this trait has been observed in a non-human primate.

A new study published in the journal Science Advances revealed that when wild Sumatran orangutan mothers spotted a predator, they suppressed their alarm calls to others until the threat was no longer there.

Keep reading... Show less
Health
Suicide rates are highest for males in construction and extraction; females in arts, design, entertainment, sports and media, the CDC found. Michelllaurence / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

CDC: Suicide Rate Among U.S. Workers Increasing

From 2000 to 2016, the suicide rate among American workers has increased 34 percent, up 12.9 per 100,000 working persons to 17.3, according to a worrisome new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Workers with the highest suicide rates have construction, mining and drilling jobs, the U.S. health officials reported Thursday.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Energy
PG&E received a maximum sentence for the 2010 San Bruno natural gas pipeline explosion. Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

Report: 90% of Pipeline Blasts Draw No Financial Penalties

A striking report has revealed that 90 percent of the 137 interstate pipeline fires or explosions since 2010 have drawn no financial penalties for the companies responsible.

The article from E&E News reporter Mike Soraghan underscores the federal Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration's (PHMSA) weak authority over the fossil fuel industry for these disasters.

Keep reading... Show less
Politics
Nevada Test and Training Range. U.S. Air Force / Airman 1st Class Kevin Tanenbaum

U.S. Navy Proposes Massive Land Grab to Test Bombs

Friday the U.S. Navy released details of a plan to seize more than 600,000 acres of public land in central Nevada to expand a bombing range. The land under threat includes rich habitat for mule deer, important desert springs and nesting sites for raptors like golden eagles.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

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