Climatologist Dr. Judith Curry on EPA chief Pruitt’s CO2 comments: ‘I think these two statements made by Pruitt are absolutely correct’
What Scott Pruitt actually said
Listen to what Scott Pruitt actually said on CNBC and then compare it to the portrayal in the media. Here is the key text:
I think that measuring with precision human activity on the climate is something very challenging to do and there’s tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact, so no, I would not agree that it’s a primary contributor to the global warming that we see. But we don’t know that yet. We need to continue the debate and continue the review and the analysis.
Can you square what Pruitt actually said with the distorted quotes and headlines about this? I can’t.
I think that these two statements made by Pruitt are absolutely correct:
I think that measuring with precision human activity on the climate is something very challenging to do and there’s tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact
We need to continue the debate and continue the review and the analysis.
The other two statements give slightly conflicting messages:
I would not agree that it’s a primary contributor to the global warming that we see. But we don’t know that yet.
The main statement of controversy is:
I would not agree that it’s a primary contributor to the global warming that we see.
You can interpret this in two ways:
1.Pruitt is denying that CO2 is a primary contributor to recent global warming
2.Pruitt is saying that he does not accept as a ‘fact’ that CO2 is a primary contributor because we simply don’t know.
Since his subsequent statement is “But we don’t know that yet”, #2 is obviously the correct interpretation.
I think he is saying that he is not convinced that we know with certainty that humans have caused 100% of the recent warming (which is what some climate modelers are saying, see recent tweets from Gavin Schmidt), or that humans have caused ‘more than half’ of the recent warming (which was the conclusion from the IPCC AR5.
If I am interpreting Pruitt’s statements correctly, I do not find anything to disagree with in what he said: we don’t know how much of recent warming can be attributed to humans. In my opinion, this is correct and is a healthy position for both the science and policy debates.
Exactly what the Trump administration intends to do regarding funding climate science, energy policy and the Paris climate …
On Friday, correspondents on the network morning shows were beside themselves as they breathlessly reported on Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt voicing skepticism of the liberal dogma about man-made global warming. The hostile coverage even included a call on Pruitt to resign over the comments.
CBS This Morning co-host Gayle King introduced a report on the controversy by fretting: “President Trump’s EPA administrator, who sued the agency repeatedly in his former job, has touched off a fierce new argument over climate change. In an interview yesterday, Scott Pruitt questioned the role that humans play in global warming.”
Correspondent Chip Reid followed:
In 2013, an intergovernmental panel of 2,000 scientists said it was, quote, “extremely likely that humans are the dominant cause of global warming.” That same sentiment is expressed on the EPA’s own website. But the new leader of that agency doesn’t seem to agree….EPA administrator Scott Pruitt yesterday questioned the impact of carbon dioxide emissions on the environment.
The reporter warned: “This is not the first time the man tasked with protecting the environment has questioned global warming. In an op/ed last year, Pruitt said the debate over climate change ‘is far from settled,’ claiming scientists are still questioning ‘its connection to the actions of mankind.’”
Building on King and Reid’s hyperventilating, a soundbite ran of Sierra Club director Michael Brune ranting: “He should not be serving as head of the EPA and he should resign immediately.” Reid touted how Brune “says the new comments show Pruitt is not fit for the job.”
On Thursday, Scott Pruitt, the chief of the environmental Protection Agency, triggered massive outrage among environmentalists, bluntly stating human activity might not be a “primary contributor to global warming.”
EPA whistleblower: ‘We will resist’
Thursday, March 02, 2017
When Scott Pruitt stepped up to the lectern at the U.S. EPA headquarters in Washington, D.C., for his first speech to agency staff as administrator, he sought to establish himself as a human being. He told the employees of his love of baseball, his respect for the law and how he intends to lead by listening to, and learning from, his staff.
He also acknowledged the negative press that plagued him during and following his confirmation hearing and urged his new employees to keep an open mind about his leadership.
“I look forward to sharing the rest of the story with you as we spend time together,” Pruitt said.
But that does not appear to be the message employees took away from the meeting, according to former EPA staffer Kyla Bennett, who now works with Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, an organization that supports EPA staffers with internal concerns. Instead, staff felt the speech was worse than they could have imagined, given that it comes from an administrator who has unapologetically sued the agency 14 times and has pledged to rapidly repeal several regulations that were the work of the very staff he now oversees.
“Morale has never been lower than it is now,” said Bennett, who leads the New England chapter of the organization and in recent weeks also took on responsibility for coordinating communications with EPA employees nationwide. “Administrator Pruitt’s speech did absolutely nothing to put their minds at rest…. If anything, it made them even more fearful.”
Moreover, rumors are running rampant at the agency, adding to the confusion and job security concerns, according to Bennett. She said one of those rumors was that employees would be forced to turn over any documents with Trump’s name on them to see if any negative comments about the new president were shared among staffers.
“Do I think that will really happen? Probably not. But the fact that they’re worried about stuff like that shows that they are really frightened,” Bennett said. “Things have been said and done to them that make them really, really fear for not only their livelihoods but the fate of the environment in this country.”
Newer employees opposed to Trump’s environmental agenda, especially those who have never lived through a presidential transition, also face an internal struggle about their future …
Newly minted Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt on Saturday spoke of an “aggressive” agenda of regulatory rollbacks, criticizing the previous Obama administration for being “so focused on climate change.” In a question-and-answer session at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Maryland, Pruitt blamed the Obama administration for failing to tackle more state-based environmental issues, such as a decades-old water quality issues in Oregon tied to a nuclear facility in Washington. “What has happened over the past several years, is the previous administration was so focused on climate change and so focused on CO2 that some of those other priorities were left behind,” he said. “We as Republicans don’t have anything to be apologetic about with respect to the environment – nothing,” he added. “We have always believed that you can grow jobs, grow an economy, while also doing what?
NYT Quietly Deletes Section Of Pruitt E-Mail Story That Contradicted Sierra Club, NRDC Talking Points
BY SIMON LOMAX FEBRUARY 24, 2017
A New York Times story that contradicted claims of wrongdoing against U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt was quietly edited after publication to remove lines that challenged the talking points of environmental activist groups.
The Feb. 22 story was about thousands of newly released e-mails from Pruitt’s time as Oklahoma attorney general, showing communications between his office and the state’s energy industry. Environmental activists claim those discussions about how to challenge environmental regulations issued by the Obama administration should disqualify Pruitt from leading the EPA.
The Sierra Club, for example, claims Pruitt is “unfit to serve” and the e-mails released this week “are as bad as we thought,” according to the group’s executive director Michael Brune. The Natural Resources Defense Council, another group that strongly opposed Pruitt’s nomination, said the e-mails “confirm his critics’ worst fears.”
But when it was first published, the Times story reached a very different conclusion. “Despite the large volume of correspondence between Mr. Pruitt’s office and the industry players, the emails are unlikely to cause Mr. Pruitt significant new problems,” the newspaper reported. “They do expand on email exchanges or topics that previously had been disclosed.”
Conservative and libertarian news outlets RedState and Reason picked up on the Times’ reporting almost immediately. The Indiana Law Blog also quoted the same two sentences from the newspaper’s report.
The e-mails “turned up nothing that is particularly surprising or corrupt,” wrote Ronald Bailey, the science correspondent for Reason. “It turns out that an elected Republican politician was in frequent contact with constituent companies who wanted to make known their concerns about the impact of federal regulations on their businesses,” Bailey said.
Using the e-mails to attack Pruitt is “another tiresome example of selective political outrage” by activist groups that had very close ties to senior EPA officials during the Obama administration, Bailey concluded.…
The new administrator plans to follow his statutory mandate—clean air and water—and to respect states’ rights.
ILLUSTRATION: KEN FALLIN
Scott Pruitt, whom the Senate confirmed Friday, 52-46, doesn’t fit either mold. His focus is neither expanding nor reducing regulation. “There is no reason why EPA’s role should ebb or flow based on a particular administration, or a particular administrator,” he says. “Agencies exist to administer the law. Congress passes statutes, and those statutes are very clear on the job EPA has to do. We’re going to do that job.” You might call him an EPA originalist.
Not that environmentalists and Democrats saw it that way. His was one of President Trump’s most contentious cabinet nominations. Opponents objected that as Oklahoma’s attorney general Mr. Pruitt had sued the EPA at least 14 times. Detractors labeled him a “climate denier” and an oil-and-gas shill, intent on gutting the agency and destroying the planet. For his confirmation hearing, Mr. Pruitt sat through six theatrical hours of questions and submitted more than 1,000 written responses.
When Mr. Pruitt sat down Thursday for his first interview since his November nomination, he spent most of the time waxing enthusiastic about all the good his agency can accomplish once he refocuses it on its statutorily defined mission: working cooperatively with the states to improve water and air quality.
“We’ve made extraordinary progress on the environment over the decades, and that’s something we should celebrate,” he says. “But there is real work to be done.” What kind of work? Hitting air-quality targets, for one: “Under current measurements, some 40% of the country is still in nonattainment.” There’s also toxic waste to clean up: “We’ve got 1,300 Superfund sites and some of them have been on the list for more than three decades.”
Such work is where Washington can make a real difference. “These are issues that go directly to the health of our citizens that should be the absolute focus of this agency,” Mr. Pruitt says. “This president is a fixer, he’s an action-oriented leader, and a
US Environmental Protection Agency
February 21, 2017
Cheers! EPA administrator Scott Pruitt did not mention climate change once in his first speech to the EPA
EPA administrator Scott Pruitt did not mention climate change once in his first speech to the EPA
Pruitt has consistently questioned the established science on climate change.Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt holds up a hat that was presented to him before speaking to employees of the EPA in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017. CREDIT: AP Photo/Susan WalshOn Monday, former Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt addressed EPA employees for the first time since being confirmed as EPA administrator. His remarks were brief, lasting just under fifteen minutes. In that time, the former Oklahoma Attorney General expounded on his views of regulation, called for greater cooperation between the federal government and states, and chatted about his love of baseball.But nowhere in the speech did Pruitt mention climate change, which is quite possibly the greatest environmental threat facing both the United States and the planet.Trump’s EPA pick recently called climate change a ‘religious belief’For people familiar with Pruitt’s background, that’s not really a huge surprise. Pruitt has consistently questioned the mainstream consensus on climate change, arguing that there is still a great deal of debate about whether it is happening and what is causing it (in reality, there is a 97 percent consensus among actively publishing climate scientists that climate change is both occurring and primarily driven by human activity). As early as last year, Pruitt likened climate change to “a religious belief” and called calls for climate action the equivalent of a “political bumper sticker.” Pruitt also has publicly established ties to industry, including the fossil fuel industry. In 2014, an investigation by the New York Times showed Pruitt sending a letter of complaint to the EPA in his role as Oklahoma Attorney General, drafted by Devon Energy, the largest energy company in Oklahoma.In recent years, the EPA has attempted to curb the primary contributor to climate change — the burning of fossil fuels — by enacting emission limits on power plants and vehicles. Pruitt has pledged to revoke at least one of those regulations — the Clean Power Plan — which he challenged as part of a lawsuit brought by 26 attorneys general against the EPA. All told, Pruitt sued the EPA 14 times as Oklahoma Attorney General — a fact that did not make it into the biography portion of Monday’s EPA address.“Scott Pruitt’s inaugural speech did nothing to address our grave concerns about him,” Tiernan Sittenfeld, senior vice president …