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Scientists at Odds with New EPA Chief's Climate-Change Comments

Most scientists disagree with new Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt's claims that climate change may not be caused by human activity and CO2 emissions. (Wikimedia Commons)
Most scientists disagree with new Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt's claims that climate change may not be caused by human activity and CO2 emissions. (Wikimedia Commons)
March 10, 2017

DENVER - Folks in the scientific community 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. Emma Spett, a campaign organizer for Environment Colorado, said there's a serious disconnect between Pruitt and scientific consensus.

"Ninety-seven percent of scientists agree that climate change is a human-caused issue," she said, "that the emissions that we are putting into the atmosphere are causing our climate to change more rapidly than it ever has before."

With Pruitt in charge of the agency tasked with protecting the public's air and water, Spett said he could set the nation back in the struggle to mitigate against the most catastrophic effects of climate change.

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 Dr. Noah Diffenbaugh, professor of earth systems science at the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford University, 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.

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - CO