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PNS Daily Newscast - August 18, 2017 


In our rundown spotlight today: at least 13 are dead in Barcelona after a driver ran his van into pedestrians; a researcher examines ways to resolve racial inequality; and a new study finds Latinos will fuel a quarter of America's economic growth in 2020.

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EPA Head at Odds with Scientists on Climate Change

Scientists say powerful storms such as Hurricane Sandy are among the climate threats facing coastal states such as Maine. (Pixabay)
Scientists say powerful storms such as Hurricane Sandy are among the climate threats facing coastal states such as Maine. (Pixabay)
March 10, 2017

AUGUSTA, Maine - Folks in the scientific community in Maine and elsewhere are scratching their heads over comments made by the new head of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Scott Pruitt, sworn in as EPA administrator just weeks ago, told reporters on Thursday that carbon dioxide is not a major source of global warming and questioned human activity as a culprit. Dr. Noah Diffenbaugh, professor of earth system science at the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford University, said these claims run counter to vast scientific evidence showing that climate change is real and that humans are the primary cause.

"We also know that we are already being impacted here in the United States," Diffenbaugh said. "The 1 degree Celsius of global warming that's already happened we know with very, very high confidence that global warming is already causing climate changes that are impacting Americans, here and now."

Besides rising temperatures, Diffenbaugh said states such as Maine are seeing those climate effects in the form of heat waves, rising sea levels and powerful storms such as Hurricane Sandy.

Pruitt's remarks are being countered for the most part, by scientists, environmentalists and the former head of the EPA. Pruitt did note that continued analysis on climate change is needed, and Diffenbaugh said in order to build resilience to protect Americans from climate stresses, there also must be acknowledgement "from the top" that the climate is changing.

"The good news," he said, "is that we have a lot of opportunities to create win-wins - to create infrastructure and resource management systems, how we 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."

Pruitt's comments are in line with President Trump's take on the issue. Trump has described climate change as a hoax and promised on the campaign trail to roll back policies he sees as "over-regulation," even as they curb pollution that spurs climate change.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - ME