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EPA Chief's Anti-Climate Change Stance Causes Uproar

Controversial statements about climate change have been made by the Environmental Protection Agency's new chief, Scott Pruitt. (epa.gov)
Controversial statements about climate change have been made by the Environmental Protection Agency's new chief, Scott Pruitt. (epa.gov)
March 10, 2017

INDIANAPOLIS - Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt's dismissal of science in understanding climate change has caused nothing short of an uproar.

Pruitt said on Thursday he doesn't believe carbon dioxide emissions are pushing global temperatures higher, which puts him at odds with his own agency. According to the EPA website, CO2 emissions are the primary greenhouse gas contributing to recent climate change.

Jesse Kharbanda, executive director of the Hoosier Environmental Council, said scientists around the globe have agreed that a changing climate is happening, and largely human-caused. He called it inappropriate for Pruitt to make contradictory statements.

"The U.S. and Indiana have the tools that are necessary to manage climate change," Kharbanda said, "but we have to come from a common basis of understanding - which is that it's happening, that it's impacting, that humans have an important role to play."

Pruitt's statements are being condemned by scientists, environmental activists and the former EPA chief, Gina McCarthy.

Noah Diffenbaugh, a professor of earth system science at Stanford University, said California's drought and downpours, the Midwestern heat wave in recent years and Superstorm Sandy all are evidence of a changing climate.

"We're living in a different climate than we used to," he said. "We have a lot of opportunities to protect ourselves, to make ourselves more resilient, and that begins with an acknowledgement that climate is changing."

Diffenbaugh said there are many ways to slow things down by creating new infrastructure and resource-management systems, and managing water and agriculture in ways that protect from climate change now and help prepare for the future.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - IN