Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, wondered aloud Tuesday whether climate change might actually be good for humans in the long run — a proposition unsupported by the conclusions of climate science.
“We know that humans have most flourished during times of what? Warming trends,” Pruitt told KSNV’s Gerard Ramalho in an interview flagged by the Guardian. “So I think there’s assumptions made that because the climate is warming that that necessarily is a bad thing.”
“Do we really know what the ideal surface temperature should be in the year 2100, in the year 2018?” Pruitt went on. “That’s fairly arrogant for us to think that we know exactly what it should be in 2100.”
Pruitt is not the only member of the Trump administration to question whether climate change might actually be a good thing. On a particularly cold day last year, Trump tweeted, “Perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming.”
Pruitt himself told Reuters in January, “The debate is how do we know what the ideal surface temperature is in 2100?”
Climate scientists agree, however, that the negative effects of climate change are potentially catastrophic in the long run, even if it also results in changes like a longer frost-free growing season. Those effects include a massive rise in the global sea level, which would affect tens of millions of Americans living on the coasts, and an increased number in extreme weather events, including stronger and more intense storms.
The impacts of climate change on human health are likely to be similarly dramatic, as a previous iteration of the EPA’s website acknowledged — not to mention the potential social and military conflicts that could occur as a result of climate-related displacement and other factors.
Pruitt called on Tuesday, as he’s done in the past while ignoring climate science, for an “honest, open, transparent debate” about climate science “so the American people can be informed” and “make decisions on their own with respect to these issues.”
Although Pruitt has called for open debate, an open records request this month revealed that in April 2017 he personally oversaw a laundry list of changes to the EPA’s website aimed at removing information about climate change.
Watch the interview below, with remarks about climate change starting at 3:40: