Given the lack of understanding of basic climate science Scott Pruitt displayed on a recent appearance on CNBC, 33 House Democrats have sent the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) head educational materials to help him get a grip on established facts.
"Administrator Pruitt's comments are perfectly in keeping with the scientific integrity policy", EPA spokesman John Konkus said in an email. You have delivered the great news that carbon dioxide is not the primary contributor to global warming.
From the Climate Literacy Guide (which is "for learners of all ages"), Pruitt could read that "burning fossil fuels, releasing chemicals into the atmosphere, reducing the amount of forest cover, and rapid expansion of farming, development, and industrial activities are releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and changing the balance of the climate system". On Wednesday, an EPA spokesperson defended his boss' claim by telling Reuters that "there is ongoing scientific debate on climate change, its causes and its effect".
The group's lawyers said Pruitt's comments contradicted a "comprehensive review" of research on climate change.
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Former Vice President Al Gore called his comments an "obviously false assertion" and the American Meteorological Society (AMS) said it was "indisputable" that humans are causing global warming.
Saxonhouse also believes the agency should go further to enforce its policies requiring staff and officials parrot studies showing a link between human design and climate change. Do we really want to revisit a period in which important health-protecting regulations are set aside, followed by multiple lawsuits tying up federal and state agency programs for years?
The request ramps up tension between the USA environmental movement and the administration of President Donald Trump, who has called global warming a hoax meant to weaken the US economy and has packed his Cabinet with people who question the science of climate change.