EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt Credit: Gage Skidmore/FLICKR

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has aligned himself with the climate change deniers who agree that temperatures are warming, but it is not necessarily a result of carbon emissions generated by humans. However, in a recent  television interview with KSNV in Nevada, he went off the rails by suggesting that the warming of the planet might not be a bad thing.

“I think there’s assumptions made that because the climate is warming, that that necessarily is a bad thing,” Pruitt said…

“Is it an existential threat, is it something that is unsustainable, or what kind of effect or harm is this going to have?” he said. “We know that humans have most flourished during times of, what, warming trends?”

While this is neither the time nor the place to document all of the ways that is a completely absurd statement, I’ll simply note the initial response by most scientists.

Pruitt is right that temperatures have varied throughout geologic history. But scientists say the speed of change sets the modern age apart. It’s happening over a period of decades, not millenia.

Even non-scientists can recognize that the obvious increase in natural disasters like hurricanes, droughts and forest fires signify that the harmful effects of global warming are not some future we need to prevent, but a present that is already unfolding. That is just the beginning. If Pruitt hadn’t scrubbed the EPA website, he could have availed himself of pages like the one titled “Climate Impacts on Human Health,” where he would have learned things like this:

The impacts of climate change include warming temperatures, changes in precipitation, increases in the frequency or intensity of some extreme weather events, and rising sea levels. These impacts threaten our health by affecting the food we eat, the water we drink, the air we breathe, and the weather we experience…

People in developing countries may be the most vulnerable to health risks globally, but climate change poses significant threats to health even in wealthy nations such as the United States. Certain populations, such as children, pregnant women, older adults, and people with low incomes, face increased risks…

Since conservatives tend to accept the expertise of military leaders about national security threats over what scientists say about human costs, it is worth noting that in 2015 the Department of Defense released a report on the national security threats posed by climate change.

Global climate change will aggravate problems such as poverty, social tensions, environmental degradation, ineffectual leadership and weak political institutions that threaten stability in a number of countries, according to a report the Defense Department sent to Congress yesterday…

The report concludes the Defense Department already is observing the impacts of climate change in shocks and stressors to vulnerable nations and communities, including in the United States, the Arctic, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and South America, officials said.

Of course, Scott Pruitt has heard all of this and made a conscious choice to disregard the facts in favor of the spin put on it all by his friends in the fossil fuel industry. It’s bad enough when that means denying what’s going on. But don’t come at us with this nonsense about how climate change might be good for us.

Nancy LeTourneau

Follow Nancy on Twitter @Smartypants60.