Scott Pruitt (AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

EPA's Pruitt suggests climate change may not be a "bad thing"

EPA head Scott Pruitt: Climate change isn't "necessarily a bad thing" for humans


Charlie May
February 8, 2018 4:08PM (UTC)

The leader of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, has made it well known that he's a major skeptic of the science behind climate change, and the agency's drastic transformation in the past year has reflected that. But now Pruitt is seemingly conceding that global temperatures may be rising — only to suggest that a warming climate would actually be beneficial to humans.

"Is it an existential threat? Is it something that is unsustainable, or what kind of effect or harm is this going to have?" Pruitt asked in an interview with KSNV on Tuesday. "We know that humans have most flourished during times of, what, warming trends. I think there are assumptions made because the climate is warming, that that is necessarily a bad thing. Do we really know what the ideal surface temperature should be in the year 2100?"

Advertisement:

He continued: "Do we know what the ideal surface temperature should be in the year 2100 or year 2018? It’s fairly arrogant for us to think we know exactly what it should be in 2100."

It could also be considered quite arrogant for someone with everlasting ties to the fossil fuels industry and zero scientific background to assert that 97 percent of climate scientists are, in fact, wrong about the climate.

Pruitt went on to say that he would like to see 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." One could say the American people have made a choice, as 70 percent of Americans believe climate change is happening, 13 percent don't and even 55 percent have said it's being driven by human activity.

It's also worth pointing out that Pruitt's Senate confirmation was widely protested, including by current and former EPA employees. It was also financed by the Koch brothers, who are notorious for their funding of climate denialism.

But Pruitt's remarks are just business as usual under President Donald Trump's anti-regulatory administration, that has accelerated its radical anti-environment agenda.

Of course, climate scientists have staunchly opposed Pruitt's previous remarks, including a study last year that rebuked Pruitt's assertion that "over the past two decades satellite data indicates there has been a leveling off of warming."

Advertisement:

"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'" Michael Mann, a climate scientist at Penn University told the Guardian. "There is no consistency at all to their various arguments other than that we should continue to burn fossil fuels."

But the Trump administration still believes it's smarter than climate scientists, the United Nations and even the Pentagon, all who have warned of the severe threats posed by climate change. In a recent summary of notable scientific literature around the globe, the U.N. addressed the exact point Pruitt attempted to make.

"Overall, the report identifies many more negative impacts than positive impacts projected for the future, especially for high magnitudes and rates of climate change," the report said. "Climate change will, however, have different impacts on people around the world and those effects will vary not only by region but over time, depending on the rate and magnitude of climate change."

Watch the full interview below:

Advertisement:

 


Charlie May

Charlie May is a news writer at Salon. You can find him on Twitter at @charliejmay

MORE FROM Charlie May

BROWSE SALON.COM
COMPLETELY AD FREE,
FOR THE NEXT HOUR

Read Now, Pay Later - no upfront
registration for 1-Hour Access

Click Here
7-Day Access and Monthly
Subscriptions also available
No tracking or personal data collection
beyond name and email address

•••


Fearless journalism
in your inbox every day

Sign up for our free newsletter

• • •