EPA Chief: "Humans Not Primary Contributors" to Climate Change
CARSON CITY, Nev. - Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt shocked many in the scientific and environmental community on Thursday when he said human activity is not a primary contributor to global warming.
It's a flat rejection of established science, which relies on hundreds of studies that say carbon emissions - from vehicles, industry, energy production and farming practices - have caused the planet to warm dramatically in recent decades.
Andy Maggi, executive director of the Nevada Conservation League, said it's outrageous that the man at the helm of the agency charged with protecting the environment hasn't made that connection.
"If we don't reduce those CO2 emissions, the problem will not get better and it will only get worse," Maggi said. "Here in the West, we'll see increased wildfires, increased drought; across the globe, rising sea levels. It will only exacerbate the problems we know are already coming."
Pruitt is, however, calling for more scientific review. In the past, President Trump has called global warming a hoax, and Secretary of Energy Rick Perry also has questioned the scientific consensus on climate change.
Noah Diffenbaugh, professor of earth systems science and senior fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford University, said the evidence is clear: Global warming is real, humans are contributing to it and so, have a responsibility to address it.
"We have a lot of opportunities to manage our water and agriculture, and other resources, in ways that protect ourselves from climate change now and make us more prepared for the future," he said, "but it begins with an acknowledgement that climate change is real."
The EPA already has started to undo Obama-era climate policies. Last week, the agency announced it would stop collecting data from the oil and gas industry on the amount of methane it releases into the atmosphere.