U.S. Politics

Even Fox News slams EPA chief’s climate denial: ‘All kinds of studies contradict you’

Screenshot of FoxNews Sunday morning graphic debunking EPA Chief Scott Pruitt’s claim CO2 is not a ‘primary contributor’ to global warming

THINK PROGRESS

Even Fox News can’t believe that the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, doesn’t accept the basic scientific finding that carbon dioxide is a primary contributor to recent global warming.

To promote President Trump’s disastrous plan to gut the EPA and U.S. climate action, Pruitt has been pushing his dangerous beliefs on all the major networks.

Pruitt may have thought the Murdoch-owned network that has led the way on attacking climate science for two decades would be a friendly audience. He was wrong.

Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace thoroughly debunked Pruitt for defending his absurd claim that CO2 is not “a primary contributor to the global warming that we see.”

Wallace will have none of it: “Mr. Pruitt, there are all kinds of studies that contradict you.” He quotes the conclusion of the world’s leading climate scientists in the U.N.’s 2013 assessment of the scientific literature that there’s a 95 to 100 percent chance “human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.”

Pruitt hems and haws and tries to gloss over his statement. Wallace then blasts him for “sugarcoating what you said,” and reduces the question to its simplest form. “What if you are wrong?” asks Wallace.

“What if, in fact, the earth is warming, what if it is causing dramatic climate change and we as humans through carbon emissions are contributing to it? Simple question, what if you are wrong?”

Pruitt can’t admit that possibility, so he hides behind the tiny mistake Wallace makes in an otherwise outstanding grilling of Pruitt. Wallace only asks what if humans are “contributing” to climate change, rather than hitting Pruitt on his denial that humans are the “primary” contributor.

This allows Pruitt to concede CO2 makes some contribution, assert “the issue is how much we contribute to it,” and sidestep the fact that the overwhelming majority of climate scientists — over 97 percent of them — understand that humans are the primary cause of climate change and thus are the primary solution.

As an important aside, the UN assessment of climate science that Fox News cited states clearly, “The best estimate of the human-induced contribution to warming is similar to the observed warming over this period.” That is, the best estimate by scientists is that humans are responsible for all of the warming we have suffered since 1950! Every major government in the world signed off on this finding.

Still, kudos to Chris Wallace for dismantling Pruitt’s lies. What a topsy-turvy world it is where Fox News takes on the role of defender of climate science. It seems even they draw the line at certain alternative facts.

Joe Romm

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