U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt dismissed concerns that the Trump administration will suppress an upcoming report on climate change. Instead, he said, the nation should be focusing on gains already made in reducing pollutants that contribute to air quality concerns.
In an Aug. 10 interview with Texas radio station WBAP, Pruitt acknowledged once again that the climate is changing but said the degree to which humans are involved in those changes is still in question. The remark came on the heels of a New York Times story that raised concerns about the Trump administration's possible reaction to the forthcoming National Climate Assessment. The New York Times story focused on one portion of the report detailing the underlying science that will be used to form the broader assessment, which appears to contradict the administrator's statement and instead add to the weight of scientific evidence that says human activity is contributing to warming the climate.
Pruitt in the interview also touted U.S.-developed hydraulic fracturing technology that has kicked off an era of abundant natural gas, which he said has helped ease emissions in the electric generation industry.
"If we really care about reducing [carbon dioxide] globally, we need to be exporting what we're doing in this country," Pruitt said. "And I think what's lost in this whole discussion about climate and climate change: warming happens. So do cooling trends. The climate changes always. Do we contribute to it? Yes. To what degree? Measuring that with precision is very challenging."
Continuing, Pruitt said carbon has become a "preoccupation" that "serves political ends." He said the focus instead should be on the U.S.'s role as a global leader in reducing greenhouse gases, as well as nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide.
Addressing the National Climate Assessment, Pruitt said his agency will review it to "evaluate the merits and demerits, and the methodologies and efficacy of the report."
"Science should not be politicized. Science is not something that should just be thrown about to dictate policy in Washington, D.C.," Pruitt said. "It ought to be objectively measured. We ought to be able to inform our citizens about what we know and what we don't know."