The administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency said Thursday that there was “tremendous disagreement” on how much carbon dioxide contributes to global warming and that he personally did not consider carbon dioxide a primary factor.
“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,” said Scott Pruitt when he appeared on CNBC’s Squawk Box Thursday morning. “I would not agree that it's a primary contributor to the global warming that we see.”
Scientists overwhelmingly agree that carbon dioxide is a significant greenhouse gas that has contributed to the planet’s accelerated warming. According to the EPA’s own website, carbon dioxide accounts for about 65 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, largely from fossil fuel use. Other federal agencies, including NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, have maintained humans’ responsibility for climate change and its growing impact on the planet.
Pruitt said in his CNBC interview that the EPA had to “continue the debate and continue the review and the analysis.”
He also criticized the Paris accord, which sets standards for countries to minimize the effects of climate change, as a “bad deal” that undercuts the American economy and one that should have needed Senate approval. Under the international agreement, which the United States entered under former President Barack Obama without Senate ratification, the United States is aiming to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by up to 28 percent before 2025.
But Pruitt also maintained that his support for jobs and economic growth was not at odds with a commitment to the environment or energy.
“This idea that if you're pro-environment you're anti-energy is just something we've got to change,” he said.
Before Pruitt was tapped to lead the federal environmental agency, he served as Oklahoma attorney general, during which he sued or participated in actions against the EPA more than a dozen times, according to CNBC.