Donald Trump’s head of the agency that protects the environment has said he doesn’t think carbon dioxide is one of the main causes of climate change.
Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, said he “would not agree” CO2 drives rising temperatures - effectively saying he does not believe global warming is man-made.
“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,” he told CNBC.
“But we don’t know that yet ... We need to continue the debate and continue the review and the analysis.”
Trump has previously said that global warming is a hoax invented by China to weaken American manufacturing.
As CNBC noted, Pruitt’s comment puts him at odds with America’s experts on the issue.
“The planet’s average surface temperature has risen about 2.0 degrees Fahrenheit (1.1 degrees Celsius) since the late 19th century, a change driven largely by increased carbon dioxide and other human-made emissions into the atmosphere,” NASA and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration said in January, as it noted that 2016 had been the warmest year since records began in 1880.
NASA says that carbon dioxide emissions are “the most important long-lived ‘forcing’ of climate change”.
Ed Miliband, who was Climate Change Secretary under Gordon Brown, tweeted simply:
During his senate confirmation hearing, Pruitt said he did not believe global warming was “a hoax”.
But in May last year he wrote that the science behind it was “far from settled”.
“Scientists continue to disagree about the degree and extent of global warming and its connection to the actions of mankind,” he wrote.
When Trump nominated Pruitt to lead the EPA, he was, as Oklama’s attorney general, suing the agency.
According to his website, he "led the charge with repeated notices and subsequent lawsuits against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for their leadership’s activist agenda and refusal to follow the law".