This week’s must read: An Opportunity for Environmentalists

It’s been a crazy week in climate change news with Scott Pruitt, the new administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, dismissing human activity as a main cause of climate change.

“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,” Pruitt said in an interview with CNN. “So no, I would not agree that it’s a primary contributor to the global warming that we see.” By contract, in his confirmation hearing before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee he acknowledged climate change, saying, “science tells us that the climate is changing, and that human activity in some manner impacts that change.”

“The ability to measure with precision the degree and extent of that impact, and what to do about it, are subject to continuing debate and dialogue, and well it should be,” Pruitt said.

Republicans lawmakers, including House Climate Solutions Caucus co-founder Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL-26) and member Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-08) took to twitter to criticize Pruitt.

Pruitt also called the Paris Climate Agreement a “bad deal” though noted that the decision whether to keep the U.S. in the international agreement is a State Department matter.

In related news, former Republican Indiana senator Richard Lugar, who served as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told E&E News he thinks President Donald Trump should keep the U.S. in the Paris Climate Agreement. “This is going to be extremely important for the United States to participate in and to try to persuade others to do so, or we’re going to have great losses in our country as waters come up over our coast or in the interior of our country, rivers overflow residential areas,” Lugar said. He called the Paris Agreement necessary to prevent “genuine global warming,” while acknowledging the continued “debate among the naysayers who say the science community is all wrong on this.”

“Other countries will probably still maintain a strong interest in the Paris Agreement, or more importantly in control of CO2 around the world,” he said. “The Chinese in particular, with their cities engulfed by horrible pollution day in and day out, are already suffering.”

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