By Brad Plumer, Vox.
Over the past eight years, the Environmental Protection Agency has become the main US agency in charge of tackling climate change, issuing a slew of regulations to curtail emissions of carbon dioxide — a key greenhouse gas heating up the planet.
So it’s a big deal that Scott Pruitt, President Trump’s new EPA head, now openly dismisses basic climate science. On CNBC last week, Pruitt said: "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, so no, I would not agree that [carbon dioxide is] a primary contributor to the global warming that we see.” (This is wrong: there’s ampleevidence that human CO2 emissions are a primary contributor.)
Pruitt’s comments, while stunning, weren’t totally unexpected. He’s been hinting for a while now that he doesn’t think global warming is a problem and plans to roll back as many Obama-era EPA climate policies as possible. But in light of this CNBC interview, it’s worth rehashing what he can — and can’t — do to put these views into practice: