The administrator and head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, said this Thursday that carbon dioxide (CO2) is not a principal responsible for climate change and overall global warming. He gave an interview with CNBC where he also noted that it is hard to define how much humans are influencing climate, as he explained how there is a huge disagreement regarding the degree of this impact.

Back when President Trump announced that Pruitt would be the chosen one to be in charge of the federal office responsible for environmental protection, many worried about his vision regarding climate change. When he was attorney general of the state of Oklahoma, Pruitt used his position to sue the agency several times.

EPA, Scott Pruitt
Epa Administrator Scott Pruitt. Image credit: Gage Skidmore via Flickr.

“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,” Pruitt said in an interview at the CNBC’s program Squawk Box this Thursday. “But we don’t know that yet. … We need to continue the debate and continue the review and the analysis.”

In the lawsuits, Pruitt was advocating for the rights that several oil companies had regarding extracting processes in the state. Oklahoma is one of the most critical areas where oil extraction could be harming climate heavily, and EPA noticed that. The fact that now Pruitt is the administrator EPA is alarming people since the vision he had when being attorney general could (and is, according to yesterday’s declarations) affect how the federal government attacks climate change.

EPA official website contradicts its head administrator 

In the official federal agency website, there is an entry that reads “Humans are largely responsible for recent climate change.” In the text, there is information concerning how the human hand is reverberating climate change directly and is producing global warming, especially through the emission of greenhouse gasses like CO2 (carbon dioxide).

The burning of fossils to produce energy, deforestation, industrial processes and some agricultural mechanisms are known for producing greenhouse gasses that affect the development of climate change directly. The site says that the called “greenhouse effect” is a natural process that is necessary to sustain life on Earth. However, an excessive amount of these gasses can cause severe damage to the planet and its ecosystem.

In another entry on EPA’s website, carbon dioxide is listed as the first and primary greenhouse gas that is contributing to climate change. Image Credit: IOP

“Carbon dioxide is the primary greenhouse gas that is contributing to recent climate change. CO2 is absorbed and emitted naturally as part of the carbon cycle, through plant and animal respiration, volcanic eruptions, and ocean-atmosphere exchange. Human activities, such as the burning of fossil fuels and changes in land use, release large amounts of CO2, causing concentrations in the atmosphere to rise,” reads EPA’s website regarding the CO2 effect on climate change.

In the interview held last Thursday, a CNBC host asked Pruitt if he thought that EPA was prioritizing carbon dioxide way too much than it should be. The host also asked if Pruitt was consciously changing the direction of the federal agency to produce a new set of priorities.

Pruitt noted that EPA was emphasizing excessively on carbon dioxide emissions and less on other things like water programs. He put as an example the Flint, Michigan water crisis as he blamed the federal agency as the principal responsible for it.

As shown on EPA’s website, there are a lot of reasons to prioritize actions against CO2 emissions in the United States. In an analysis published by the office, there is scientific evidence (provided by organizations like the U.S. Global Change Research Program) that link CO2 to climate change and exposes this particular gas as the primary fact to blame for climate change. Hence the agency’s focus to fight the emissions of this greenhouse gas.

Shell CEO’s postures also contradict Pruitt

Shell CEO Ben van Beurden stated Thursday that his company is hoping to become a “company of the future.” He announced the selling of more than $7 billion in assets in Canadian ground, and they hope to start generating clean energy and reduce the company’s carbon footprint greatly.

Shell officials, including its CEO, have expressed their support to the Paris treaty, an agreement that was signed by nearly 200 countries and that hopes to fight global warming. Pruitt has called this agreement as a “bad treaty,” while van Beurden (and current Secretary of State Rex Tillerson) have defended its objectives. Shell CEO even asked for governments to move quickly and start pricing carbon to reduce the enormous emissions that are harming Earth.

Power Plant
Power Plant. Image credit: Standford.

Source: CNBC