Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt said Thursday that he does not believe that carbon dioxide is a “primary contributor” to global warming. Pruitt made the comments during a morning interview on CNBC from an oil and gas industry conference in Houston where he was scheduled to speak on environmental policy that afternoon. Pruitt’s position directly contradicts the regulatory agency he has been tasked to run — the EPA’s Climate Change Science web page states that “carbon dioxide is the primary greenhouse gas that is contributing to recent climate change.”

During the interview, CNBC host Joe Kernan asked Pruitt if carbon dioxide is the “primary control knob” for global warming. Pruitt responded by claiming that there is “tremendous disagreement” about how much of a role that human activities are playing in changing the climate system, adding that “we need to continue the debate and continue the review and the analysis.”

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It is unclear who he was referring to, but if Pruitt was talking about climate scientists, it’s simply false that there is “tremendous disagreement.” According to NASA’s web page on global climate change, 97 percent or more of climate scientists agree that greenhouse gases emitted by human activities are the primary driver of climate change. The NASA site also references nearly 200 worldwide scientific organizations that hold the position that climate change is caused by human action.

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There is increasing bipartisan activity around solutions to climate change, including a revenue neutral carbon fee and dividend that was recently endorsed by a group of Republican elder statesmen. Earlier this month, Republican Representative Darrell Issa of California added to a growing list of GOP lawmakers joining the bipartisan House Climate Solutions Caucus. There are now 13 Republicans and 13 Democrats meeting regularly to explore policy options that address climate change.

Following Pruitt’s comments, Florida Republican Representative Carlos Curbelo, co-founder and chair of the Climate Solutions Caucus, released a statement slamming the EPA chief for questioning established science.

“Rising carbon emissions have been a contributing factor to climate change for decades. That is a scientific fact and the reality facing communities like my district,” Curbelo said. “The EPA is tasked with the very responsibility of helping to lower the impact of carbon emissions, and for Mr. Pruitt to assert otherwise without scientific evidence is reckless and unacceptable.”

Via The Hill

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