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Warming? Why would anyone think the planet is warming?


Not that it comes as a surprise to anyone who's been paying attention, but EPA administrator Scott Pruitt removed all doubt Thursday that he is a science-denying ninnyhammer. In an interview on CNBC this morning, Pruitt explained that the overwhelming scientific consensus on climate change is actually wrong, because he doesn't believe it. So there.

Carbon dioxide? Are people still going on about that? Get over yourselves. Science didn't win a massive landslide in the Electoral College, Donald Trump did, and now it's time to face the alternative facts: CO2 is probably just a lie made up by liberals:

"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," he told CNBC's "Squawk Box."

"But we don't know that yet. ... We need to continue the debate and continue the review and the analysis."

Well golly, he's the head of the EPA, so he must know his stuff, huh? We're frankly astonished that he even allowed the phrase "global warming" to escape his lips, which may get him in trouble with the Heartland Institute unless he issues an immediate clarification that he meant it's probably caused by volcanoes or sunspots or natural climate cycles, or whatever this week's anti-science bullshit might be. We just can't know? How can anyone know anything, after all? Isn't the best option to say you never know anything, so you won't hurt oil and gas profits?

For what it's worth, CNBC at least offers this sort-of correction, though for fuckssakes it's not an "opinion":

Pruitt's view is at odds with the opinion of NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

"The planet's average surface temperature has risen about 2.0 degrees Fahrenheit (1.1 degrees Celsius) since the late 19th century, a change driven largely by increased carbon dioxide and other human-made emissions into the atmosphere," NASA and NOAA said in January.

We hear most doctors also are of the opinion that germs play some role in the spread of disease, although that's still being studied, so let's not get too far ahead of ourselves and set policy based on that wild speculation.

The EPA's own website on climate change, for now at least, explains quite clearly -- in terms even a Trump cabinet member might be able to understand -- how the release of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels works to trap the sun's heat in the atmosphere. No doubt he'll get right on removing that heresy fairly soon.

Incidentally, if anyone finds a genie in a bottle somewhere, could you maybe use one of your wishes to plunk Scott Pruitt down in a locked room that he can only leave after Neil deGrasse Tyson explains climate science to him, very carefully, perhaps with a copy of the climate episode of Cosmos? It's a thought. They can have snacks and bathroom breaks, even.

Pruitt also insisted that it's perfectly consistent to be both pro-environment and pro-energy, which is true enough until you get into the details of what kinds of energy you're advocating. As for the EPA's 2009 determination that CO2 poses a threat to public health, and is therefore within the agency's regulatory purview -- upheld by the Supreme Court in 2014 -- Pruitt would like to see Congress reconsider that, because if anyone knows how science works, it's Republicans in Congress.

Pruitt explained he thinks last year's Paris Climate Agreement is "a bad deal" because it allows China and India to delay carbon reductions, although China has already committed to reaching its reduced emissions goals ahead of the 2030 goal in the Paris agreement. And again, he thinks it was awfully sneaky of President Obama to have set U.S. carbon reduction goals for the Paris accord without giving Congress a chance to gut the plan, because how is that even fair?

CNBC notes the Paris Agreement was negotiated by the State Department, which would be responsible for following up on the commitments made in Paris; Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said during his confirmation hearing that he thinks the U.S. should abide by the Paris Agreement, which is somewhat reassuring, at least if we decide to keep at least part of the State Department at all. In reality, Pruitt's EPA will play a large role in setting (read: gutting) emissions standards in compliance with/defiance of the Paris goals.

Following the interview, the Sierra Club issued a statement saying it demonstrated that Pruitt's denial of "the basic established facts of climate science" today contradicted his testimony in his Senate confirmation:

It now appears Pruitt misled Congress, as this anti-science position contradicts what he told the Senate in the questions for the record (Page 122) he submitted during his confirmation process.

The questions are quite detailed, and Pruitt's answer sure sounds like he's at least pretending to accept science is real and that the EPA should regulate CO2 emissions:

Oh, but look at the weasel words, too -- "up to date and objective scientific data" from whom? Perhaps between January 18 and now, his "ever-evolving understanding" of greenhouse gases has evolved to the point that carbon dioxide isn't one anymore. Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune said Pruitt should lose his job, for which he's clearly not fit:

The arsonist is now in charge of the fire department, and he seems happy to let the climate crisis burn out of control. As Pruitt testified before Congress, it is the legal duty of the EPA to tackle the carbon pollution that fuels the climate crisis, but now he is spewing corporate polluter talking points rather than fulfilling the EPA's mission of protecting our air, our water, and our communities.

Pruitt is endangering our families, and any sensible Senator should demand he is removed from his position immediately for misleading Congress and being unfit and unwilling to do the job he has been entrusted to do.

We're certain they'll get right on that, just as soon as the House Science Committee can reach an agreement on the shape of the Earth.

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[CNBC / NASA / The Week / Sierra Club / Scott Pruitt Nomination questions]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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