2018-06-06 09:30:03 UTC
Judge Orders EPA to Produce Science behind Pruitt's Warming Claims
The EPA head has suggested humans are not the main cause of climate change
Scott Waldman, E&E News
05 June 2018
[image] Judge Orders EPA to Produce Science behind Pruitt's Warming
Claims Credit: Andrew Harrer Getty Images
EPA must produce the opposing body of science Administrator Scott
Pruitt has relied upon to claim that humans are not the primary
drivers of global warming, a federal judge has ruled.
The EPA boss has so far resisted attempts to show the science backing
up his claims. His critics say such evidence doesn't exist, even as
Pruitt has called for greater science transparency at the agency.
Now, a court case may compel him to produce research that attempts to
contradict the mountain of peer-reviewed studies collected by the
world's top science agencies over decades that show humans are warming
the planet at an unprecedented pace through the burning of fossil fuels.
Not long after he took over as EPA administrator, Pruitt appeared on
CNBC's "Squawk Box," where he was asked about carbon dioxide and
climate change. He said, "I would not agree that it's a primary
contributor to the global warming that we see."
The next day, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, or
PEER, filed a Freedom of Information Act request seeking the studies
Pruitt used to make his claims. Specifically, the group requested "EPA
documents that support the conclusion that human activity is not the
largest factor driving global climate change."
On Fri, the chief judge of the US District Court for the District
of Columbia, Beryl Howell, ordered the agency to comply.
"Particularly troubling is the apparent premise of this agency
challenge to the FOIA request, namely: that the evidentiary basis for
a policy or factual statement by an agency head, including about the
scientific factors contributing to climate change, is inherently
If the case proceeds, it could mean that Pruitt would have to produce
such research in the coming months or next year.
That's good news for those fighting the administration's regulatory
rollbacks, because it would demonstrate that the scientific backing of
President Obama's climate policies is solid, said Michael Gerrard,
director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia U.
"I expect the documents will show the scientific case for Pruitt's
claim is not only thin, but positively anorexic," he said. "They may
reveal even greater contacts with the climate denial community than
has already been shown."
Gerrard added, "This could also strengthen the challenges to some of
the deregulatory actions by the administration, showing they have no
Climate scientists have established that the planet is warming at an
unprecedented pace because of humanity's consumption of fossil fuels.
Pruitt and other Trump administration officials have questioned those
findings but have never produced any research backing up their assertions.
Putin pushes for end to 'harmful' sanctions during Austria visit
The Guardian, 05 Jun 2018 17:48Z
[At same time Putin says sanctions are not affecting Russia].
Russia Extends Austria Gas Deal to 2040 After Putin's Visit
The Moscow Times, 06 Jun 2018 08:03Z
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Victor Venema @VariabilityBlog 06 Jun 2018 04:38Z
Magazine of the Swiss Science Foundation: "in crisis situations, people
suddenly feel a need for real expertise again. "In the emergency room", says
Nichols, "you don't see many people arguing with the doctor"."
Spain, Italy leadership changes raise hopes for EU climate ambition
Government shake-ups in Spain and Italy "may bring some good news for
the climate", reports Climate Home News. In Spain, incoming
centre-left prime minister Pedro Sánchez has named "climate hawk"
Teresa Ribera to lead a new "super-ministry spanning energy and
environment", Climate Home News explains. In Italy, incoming leader
Giuseppe Conte promised in his inaugural speech to speed up the
decarbonisation of the economy. -- Megan Darby, Climate Home News
Job of ending coal in Germany handed to 31-member committee
Germany's coal phaseout strategy will be designed by a 31-member
commission with 4 co-chairs and due to be launched this week,
reports Climate Home News. The final makeup of the body is close to
100% agreed it says, quoting a govt spokesperson. Two of the
four co-chairs are former premiers of mining states. The other 2 are
climate economist Barbara Praetorius and a former top finance
official. The commission is to be tasked with agreeing a roadmap and
end date for Germany's coal phaseout, explains a factsheet from Clean
Energy Wire. It will also have to identify measures towards Germany's
2020 and 2030 climate targets and plan for economic transition in
mining regions. -- Megan Darby, Climate Home News
Comment: Carbon tariffs are EU's secret weapon in trade battle
The EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) has an unused provision
allowing for carbon border adjustments on imported goods notes Paul
Sammon, a senior economist at Vivid Economics, in the Telegraph. This
could be a "secret weapon" in the new trade war opened up by President
Trump, Sammon argues. He concludes: "Europe has so far used the muted
tones of climate diplomacy to entice countries to reduce
emissions. However, it is now arming itself with a big stick too:
tying market access to climate action. And the first hit looks set to
be on Trump." -- Paul Sammon, The Telegraph
Comment: Don't laugh, we're closer to a bipartisan solution on climate change than you realise
Mark Reynolds, The Hill
A Meltdown Didn't Kill Three Mile Island, But Shale Probably Will
Tim Loh, Bloomberg
Brazil targets 10% cut on carbon emissions from fuels sector
EVs and hybrids grab record share of UK car market
Madeleine Cuff, BusinessGreen
Trump administration biofuels deal delayed indefinitely: sources
The trouble with Wylfa's reactor
Simon Roach, Unearthed
Finnish study proposes circulation economy as way to combat climate change