It’s hard to overstate the significance of the recent comment by EPA administrator Scott Pruitt that there is disagreement about whether carbon dioxide is the main cause of global warming. In an interview on CNBC on March 9, Pruitt said:
Measuring with precision human activity on the climate is something very challenging to do, and there is tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact. So, no, I would not agree that it [CO2] is a primary contributor to the global warming that we see. But we need to continue the review and the analysis.
This statement is truly extraordinary: A leading U.S. official is taking direct aim at the heart of the international climate-change crusade.. It represents a total reversal of the past eight years, when everyone from the president down to low-level bureaucrats warned that climate change was a bigger threat to mankind than terrorism — to the point where they forced us to endure costly, job-killing federal regulations to stop it. Now the head of our top environmental agency is questioning the whole thing. Of all the conservative pit bulls in Trump’s Cabinet, Pruitt might be the biggest badass of them all.
Right on cue, the climate tribe went ballistic, trotting out the usual platitudes about a 97 percent consensus, settled science, climate deniers, blah blah blah. Obama’s EPA chief Gina McCarthy slammed Pruitt without (of course) refuting his claim head-on: “When it comes to climate change, the evidence is robust and overwhelmingly clear that the cost of inaction is unacceptably high.” Senator Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) — who weirdly asked Mike Pompeo about his position on climate change during his Senate confirmation hearing for the post of CIA director — subtweeted Pruitt’s comments and said: “This is absurd. Denying causes of global warming will hurt our nation and our planet in the long-run.”
Pruitt is setting the stage for a long-overdue and critical debate about how much of an impact CO2 has on global warming.