Listing to a climate denier explain his stance will generally result in you listening to something utterly daft being said. Normally the appropriate response is to perhaps roll your eyes and move one, but in this specific case a spotlight needs to be thrown upon it all because it actually does matter. Scott Pruitt is not simply your classical climate denier, unfortunately he also happens to be in a position of considerable influence and so has been empowered to act upon beliefs that are simply not true.
So what has he said now?
Various outlets, including the UK’s Guardian write about what he said during a recent TV interview …
Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, has suggested that global warming may be beneficial to humans, in his latest departure from mainstream climate science.
Pruitt, who has previously erred by denying that carbon dioxide is a key driver of climate change, has again caused consternation among scientists by suggesting that warming temperatures could benefit civilization.
The EPA administrator said that humans are contributing to climate “to a certain degree”, but added: “We know humans have most flourished during times of warming trends. There are assumptions made that because the climate is warming that necessarily is a bad thing.
“Do we know what the ideal surface temperature should be in the year 2100 or year 2018?” he told a TV station in Nevada. “It’s fairly arrogant for us to think we know exactly what it should be in 2100.”
Pruitt said he wanted 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 agency that he himself leads, has made it abundantly clear that this stance he takes is complete nonsense… except of course, all of that is being slowly and quietly removed from the EPA website, hence that is a link to the EPA stance prior to his appointment.
Expressing skepticism is generally wholly appropriate. An observation that a popular stance might not be correct because the available evidence for it does not withstand scrutiny is wholly valid. Mr Pruitt’s stance is not that. To even suggest that climate denial is akin to scientific skepticism is also not appropriate. Scientific skepticism is essentially the seeking out of empirical evidence, and if there is none, then suspending belief until some is available. To use the classical metaphor written by Carl Sagan – if somebody claimed that they had a dragon in the garage, then that would be fascinating, so you ask to see it. What you find instead are excuses as to why you can’t detect it, so why should you believe it, even if everybody else does.
Climate denialism today is not scientific skepticism, but is instead a rejection of the available empirical evidence and the assertion of things that have no empirical evidence.
Is A bit of Warming OK?
The claim is that global warming is jolly good stuff and nothing to worry about … er no, seriously just no.
If you read on within the Guardian article I previous quoted then you will find that they do a fine job explaining why his assertion is nonsense.
The Guardian is not alone.
Vice also covers the story, and also articulates with links exactly why his claim is nonsense …
Climate change skeptics have been harping on that theory for years—Republican Senator Ron Johnson made the point in 2016, saying that “mankind has actually flourished in warmer temperatures.” But as New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait points out, it doesn’t hold up when you account for how quickly the planet is warming up these days compared to the rates we’ve seen in the past. According to NASA’s Gavin Schmidt, that pace is “unprecedented in 1,000 years,” which is a problem.
Scott Pruitt has no excuse. Within the agency he runs he has on staff quite literally thousands of subject matter experts who can, and will, and no doubt have, explained why he is wrong. While his position does grant him this extraordinary degree of privileged access to expertise, the lack of that in an age where we can all google and find the facts within minutes means that there is quite literally no factual justification for maintaining a climate denialist stance.
Why would he take such a stance?
I really can’t imagine … oh wait, perhaps I can …
He has received more than $300,000 from oil and gas companies during his campaigns over the years. He also led the Republican Attorneys General Association, which received substantial sums of money from Koch Industries, ExxonMobil, Murray Energy and other firms. In 2014, the New York Times reported that a letter ostensibly written by Pruitt alleging the EPA had overestimated air pollution from natural gas drilling was actually written by lawyers for Devon Energy, one of Oklahoma’s largest oil and gas companies.
“That’s actually called representative government in my view of the world,” Pruitt later said of the letter.
Bottom Line – Trump did not “Drain the swamp”, but instead appointed the chief swamp denizen to run the EPA when he put the guy who had sued it multiple times to overturn regulations that hampered Oil and Gas industries.
The willful ignorance, the obstinate denial, the sheer absurdity of arguments like this show just how deeply dangerous the Trump administration is. Pruitt is the worst of them, yet runs one of the most important agencies. https://t.co/ARClli1HDO
— Phil Plait (@BadAstronomer) February 7, 2018
Scientists say climate change will increase heat-related deaths and air pollution-related deaths around the world but Scott Pruitt says it's good for you, who to believe hmm https://t.co/Elv4hOSJ1g
— Emily Atkin (@emorwee) February 7, 2018
REMINDER: Scott Pruitt literally let fossil fuel executives write talking points for him when he was Oklahoma's attorney general. And as head of the EPA, he's still pushing their dirty agenda—which includes a lot of climate denial. https://t.co/3V9NGvOEb2
— 350 dot org (@350) February 7, 2018