Trump, Pruitt dismiss warming reports

Source: Dianna Skibell, E&E News reporter • Posted: Monday, August 14, 2017

Two major reports surfaced last week warning of skyrocketing global temperatures, but President Trump and U.S. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt are insisting the threat is not dire.

Speaking at his New Jersey golf course yesterday, Trump said his top priority is to “de-nuke” the world, not address climate change.

“Nuclear to me, No. 1, I would like to de-nuke the world,” he said. “President Obama said that global warming is the greatest threat. I disagree.”

Earlier this week, The New York Times highlighted a draft report that informs the National Climate Assessment, a summary compiled by 13 federal agencies outlining the causes and impacts of climate change on the United States.

Pruitt said he will review the report and evaluate it, emphasizing that it is still a draft and should be subjected to “peer-reviewed, objective-reviewed methodology and evaluation,” he told conservative radio station WBAP in Texas.

“Science should not be politicized,” he said yesterday. “Science is not something that should be just thrown about to try to dictate policy in Washington, D.C.”

Pruitt affirmed the debate around emissions as “healthy for this country” but also dismissed the “preoccupation” with CO2 as serving “political ends.”

“The past administration used the CO2 issue as a wedge issue,” he said. “And that’s why we talk about it so much. Why aren’t we celebrating what we’ve achieved with respect to CO2?”

Pruitt said the United States is leading the world in reductions of greenhouse gases and should, instead of being “apologetic,” export its methods. This is also why withdrawing from the international Paris accord was a good decision, “without question,” he said.

“That was the Obama administration going to Paris and being apologetic and not recognizing the things we’ve done in this country,” he said. “The Paris accord was a bad business deal for this country.”

NOAA also released a major climate report this week, showing that global temperatures hit record highs in 2016, topping 137 years of record-keeping and driving low levels of sea ice cover, glacial melting and high sea levels (E&E News PM, Aug. 10).

Pruitt noted that historically, there have been cycles of both warming and cooling.

“I think what’s lost in this whole discussion about climate and climate change — warming happens, and so do cooling trends. The climate changes always,” he said. “Do we contribute to it? Yes. To what degree? Measuring that with precision is very challenging.”

For the last 800,000 years, CO2 concentrations have oscillated, with lows around 180 parts per million and highs around 300 parts per million. The NOAA study found that the current amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide surpassed 400 parts per million for the first time in recorded ice core records.

The report was produced with input by 500 scientists from 60 countries and incorporates measurements from tens of thousands of data collection points across the globe.