Pruitt Is Reportedly Starting An EPA Initiative To Challenge Climate Science

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator-designate, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017, at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
J. Scott Applewhite/AP

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, a climate denier, is launching an initiative at the agency to challenge scientists’ near-universal consensus on climate science by having experts debate scientific studies, E&E News reported Friday.

The initiative will include “red team, blue team” exercises to perform “at-length evaluation of U.S. climate science,” an anonymous administration official told E&E News. The term “red team, blue team” is used by the military to describe exercises aimed at finding vulnerabilities, and it was popularized as a way to debate climate science by Wall Street Journal columnist Steven Koonin.

“The administrator believes that we will be able to recruit the best in the fields which study climate and will organize a specific process in which these individuals … provide back-and-forth critique of specific new reports on climate science,” the official told E&E News.

Pruitt has previously said that he would support such a debate over climate science at the EPA, but this report is the first indication that he’s moving toward starting one. The agency did not immediately respond Friday to TPM’s request for comment.

He told Breitbart News earlier in June that he would like to facilitate this type of debate at the EPA.

“What the American people deserve, I think, is a true, legitimate, peer-reviewed, objective, transparent discussion about CO2,” he said.

Though Pruitt reportedly has started this initiative, it’s not clear that he’ll try to challenge the endangerment finding, the EPA determination that greenhouse gas emissions damage the climate, which the agency has used to justify regulation of greenhouse gases, per E&E News’ report. Pruitt vowed that he would not touch the endangerment finding during his confirmation hearing earlier this year.



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