EPA head questions agency's right to target carbon emissions

EPA head questions agency's right to target carbon emissions

EPA head questions agency's right to target carbon emissions

Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt told CNBC that the cause for ongoing warming is still undetermined, when asked if the carbon emissions made up the "primary contributor" to ongoing planetary changes.

While Pruitt claims to accept that climate change is real, he said during his confirmation hearings and again on CNBC that there is still plenty of "debate" about the extent to which human beings are contributing to it and how rapidly and intensely climate change is happening.

A 2013 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a body that draws on the work of thousands of scientists from around the globe, said there was at least a 95 percent chance that "human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century".

Speaking on CNBC's "Squawk Box", Pruitt said there is "tremendous disagreement" on the degree to which Carbon dioxide impacts the climate.

U.S. President Donald Trump's new environmental chief said Thursday that carbon dioxide emissions are not a chief contributor to global warming. "But we don't know that yet, we need to continue the debate and the analysis".

Those of us whose families in coal country have paid the ultimate price for such denials, in the form of black lung disease that still rages, cancer-linked strip-mining operations that still rage, and contaminated toxic water, understand the difference between denial-and a full blown cover-up.

They also contradict the very website of the agency that Pruitt heads.

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"We can't afford to reject this clear and compelling scientific evidence when we make public policy".

The Supreme Court unleashed a fury of regulation and litigation when it ruled in 2007 that greenhouse gases were an air pollutant that could be regulated under the Clean Air Act. "The legislative branch has not addressed this issue at all", Mr Pruitt said.

"Right now the focal point I think as we get into the agency, one is dealing with these regulations I think are an example of regulatory overreach", Pruitt said, citing Obama's Clean Power Plan as one example.

Pruitt said he would like to assess the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFÉ) standards, set by President Obama, that would force automakers to significantly increase the efficiency of new cars and trucks. During separate questioning in committee Pruitt also explicitly acknowledged "That the endangerment finding is there and needs to be enforced and respected".

Pruitt, who sued the EPA 14 times when he was Oklahoma attorney general, said the record is still unsettled.

"The mask is off".

Environmentalists are calling for Pruitt to resign over the comments, arguing he "misled Congress" about his beliefs in global warming. Almost 200 countries from around the world have agreed to try to limit temperatures from rising more than 2°C (3.6°F) under the Paris Agreement, but research has shown that the world remains far from hitting such a target. Trump promised during his campaign for the White House to pull the United States out of the accord, but has since been mostly quiet on the issue.

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