EPA chief unconvinced on CO2 link to global warming

By Doina Chiacu and Valerie Volcovici, Reuters.

The new head of the Environmental Protection Agency said on Thursday he is not convinced that carbon dioxide from human activity is the main driver of climate change and said he wants Congress to weigh in on whether CO2 is a harmful pollutant that should be regulated.

In an interview with CNBC, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said the Trump administration will make an announcement on fuel efficiency standards for cars "very soon," stressing that he and President Donald Trump believe current standards were rushed through.

Pruitt, 48, is a climate change denier who sued the agency he now leads more than a dozen times as Oklahoma's attorney general. He said he was not convinced that carbon dioxide pollution from burning fossil fuels like oil, gas and coal is the main cause of climate change, a conclusion widely embraced by scientists.

"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," he told CNBC. 

"So no, I would not agree that it’s a primary contributor to the global warming that we see," Pruitt said. "But we don’t know that yet, we need to continue to debate, continue the review and analysis.”

Trump campaigned on a promise to roll back environmental regulations ushered in by former President Barack Obama, including those aimed at combating climate change. He framed his stand as aimed at boosting U.S. businesses, including the oil and gas drilling and coal mining industries.