Energy & Environment

EPA head launching initiative to ‘critique’ climate science


Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt is leading a formal Trump administration program to “critique” mainstream climate change science.

Pruitt is skeptical of the overwhelming scientific consensus that human activity, via greenhouse gases, is far and away the primary cause of climate change. But he’s stated he believes the climate is changing and humans have some role.

The initiative will be a “back-and-forth critique” of climate studies, using scientists recruited by the government to take different positions on the matters, Climatewire reported Friday, citing a senior administration official.

“Climate science like other fields of science is constantly changing,” EPA spokeswoman Liz Bowman said in a statement. “A new, fresh, and transparent evaluation is something everyone should support doing.”

The program will be modeled in part on the “red team, blue team” exercises common in the military to help leaders identify vulnerabilities.

“The administrator believes that we will be able to recruit the best in the fields which study climate and will organize a specific process in which these individuals … provide back-and-forth critique of specific new reports on climate science,” the official told Climatewire.

“We are in fact very excited about this initiative,” the official said. “Climate science, like other fields of science, is constantly changing. A new, fresh and transparent evaluation is something everyone should support doing.”

The EPA did not return a request for comment on the Climatewire report.

Pruitt and Energy Secretary Rick Perry have been talking up the “red team, blue team” idea in recent weeks for climate science.

Pruitt told Breitbart earlier this month that the debate would be good.

“What the American people deserve, I think, is a true, legitimate, peer-reviewed, objective, transparent discussion about CO2,” he said.

Climate scientists and experts have generally been dismissive of the idea, saying that climate science has already been tested by the rigorous peer-review process in scientific research.

Pruitt is still not explicitly planning to rescind the Obama administration’s 2009 formal finding that greenhouse gases are harmful and ought to be regulated, the linchpin of climate regulation.

But coal mining boss Bob Murray told Climatewire that he believes that could become part of the climate science critique process.

Pruitt has been a leading force in the Trump administration’s agenda of taking down environmental safeguards. He has started the process of undoing nearly every climate policy from the Obama administration and has shown little desire to replace those policies.

— This story was updated at 4:45 p.m.

Tags Climate change Environmental Protection Agency Scott Pruitt
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