Scott Pruitt tried to get the EPA to hold a climate change ‘debate’

It’s hard for climate change deniers to argue that there is serious scientific debate over human-directed global warming when such debate does not exist. So Scott Pruitt tried to make it exist. As the Daily Beast reports, the former head of the Environmental Protection Agency attempted to not just get the EPA to ignore climate change, but turn the EPA into the go-to source for climate change skepticism.

Specifically, Pruitt proposed that the EPA host a “public debate” over climate change. Because there’s no better way to claim there is a public debate than by having a public debate.

But the brilliant idea of Washington’s worst house guest didn’t meet with a lot of enthusiasm among the EPA staff. The scientists in the crew, those who Pruitt hadn’t already sent packing, worried that turning the EPA into an openly science-hostile agency was a bad idea. And even Pruitt’s personal team of professional science-deniers thought the whole thing sounded like a recipe for embarrassment. After all, the climate skeptics only want to pretend there’s a debate. They don’t want to actually debate.

Pruitt’s proposal generated a long stream of comments that mostly focused on what a massive waste of time this would be, how it would be a black eye for the EPA, and how badly the EPA needed to be addressing the effects of actual climate change rather than setting things up to get worse. Mostly, the idea was roundly greeted as thoroughly stupid.

“I liken it to a bar discussion of the best football team of all time – after 4-5 beers,” Dan Costa, who formerly was the national program director for air, climate and energy at the EPA, wrote on July 25, 2017.

Nothing that anyone said shamed Pruitt into restoring any of the real climate data that the EPA has gone out of its way to hide since Trump took office. And certainly none of it has shamed new EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler into doing anything that would offend his bosses in the fossil fuel industry.

But it’s good to know that there were some things that Pruitt proposed that were too idiotic even for his own staff.


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