The “slow burn” crises are more likely to get you killed than the “sudden impact” disasters. Remember the January 2017 revelation that the Titanic was doomed by an undetected fire that critically weakened the hull, long before the iceberg?
EPA Director Scott Pruitt might want to read over that evidence in his spare hours, since he’s obviously not spending his days immersed in climate science and cause-effect logic.
So while his statement isn’t technically wrong when he says “there is disagreement about whether carbon dioxide is the main cause of global warming,” his implication damn well is.
That implication being that this justifies the @RealDonaldTrump Administration’s move to rescind/suspend climate-targeted regulations with budget cuts, pushing “climate change skepticism” messages to the public through the EPA, and new directives.
I can think of a places where this newly launched effort could run aground on reality.
- Economic Momentum: A majority of customers in the USA (millennials and baby boomers alike) prefer products/services that are environmentally responsible. Major economic players in the private sector know that climate change can hurt their bottom line more than government regulations. Investment in “clean tech” is rising because sponsors are seeing both financial and ethical returns.
- Political Momentum: Not just another dimension to the Economic Momentum (consumers, businesses, and investors also vote). Climate change companions like drought, rising ocean levels, desertification, deforestation make warfare and conflict more likely. They certainly added to the intensity and speed of violence in the Syrian civil war and the rise of ISIS/Daesh. Any U.S. government interested in preventing/mitigating future conflicts will pay attention to that.
- Science: The math and models do show that CO2 is a very significant lever, even if they don’t show it being “the most important.” That isn’t seriously debatable. What you can — and should — debate are the best ways to use that lever, along with other “planet levers”.