E.P.A. Head Stacks Agency With Climate Change Skeptics

Mar 10, 2017

By Coral Davenport

WASHINGTON — Days after the Senate confirmed him as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt appeared at the Conservative Political Action Conference and was asked about addressing a group that probably wanted to eliminate his agency.

“I think it’s justified,” he responded, to cheers. “I think people across the country look at the E.P.A. the way they look at the I.R.S.”

In the days since, Mr. Pruitt, a former Oklahoma attorney general who built a career out of suing the agency he now leads, has moved to stock the top offices of the agency with like-minded conservatives — many of them skeptics of climate change and all of them intent on rolling back environmental regulations that they see as overly intrusive and harmful to business.

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10 comments on “E.P.A. Head Stacks Agency With Climate Change Skeptics

  • @OP – In the days since, Mr. Pruitt, a former Oklahoma attorney general who built a career out of suing the agency he now leads, has moved to stock the top offices of the agency with like-minded conservatives — many of them skeptics of climate change and all of them intent on rolling back environmental regulations that they see as overly intrusive and harmful to business.

    Ah! those business priorities generating booming “industrial growth” and “rescuing the coal industry”! – as clearly illustrated elsewhere!


    The winter air in Tehran is often foul but for six days last week it was hardly breathable. A dense and poisonous chemical smog made up of traffic and factory fumes, mixed with construction dust, burning vegetation and waste has shrouded buildings, choked pedestrians, forced schools and universities to close, and filled the hospitals.

    Anyone who could flee the Iranian mega-city of 15 million people has done so, but, say the authorities, in the past two weeks more than 400 people have died as a direct result of the pollution, known as the Asian “brown cloud”.

    Tehran is far from alone. A combination of atmospheric conditions, geography and the start of the winter heating season regularly traps urban air pollution from October to February across a great swath of Asia. But this year has seen some of the worst smog episodes in nearly 20 years despite cities trying to reduce traffic and factory emissions.

    As temperatures drop and people turn to burning waste to keep warm, pollution levels have been 15 to 20 times the World Health Organisation safe levels in three Indian cities – Delhi, Varanasi and Lucknow.
    Traffic has been banned and construction projects had to be stopped in Beijing as a dense layer of filthy air descended on northern China.

    In Kathmandu, in Nepal, and Kabul, Afghanistan, where pollution is regularly trapped in the cities’ valleys, the hospitals have been stretched with people suffering respiratory and cardiac illnesses.

    “It is a dreadful situation,” said one Tehrani resident, who asked not to be identified. “You see a lot of elderly people in trouble. People get confused. You get worried about the children. People do not know if schools are going to open. People want to leave but they cannot. The worst thing is you can’t escape or do anything about it.”

    The number of cars has trebled in Tehran and many other burgeoning Asian cities in the past 10 years.
    The authorities know that outrage is growing at the cloud of filth that settles over the region in winter, but they appear politically paralysed.

    “On paper the solutions are easy. We need better gasoline, higher standard cars.
    We need to revise the transport system, increase the capacity of the subway, prevent more people coming into the city centres. They can have alternate days for vehicles but people buy two cars,” said Kaveh Madani, an Iranian lecturer in environmental management at the Centre for Environmental Policy, Imperial College London.

    Beijing, a byword for pollution for 20 years, has gone the furthest of all Asian capitals to eliminate air pollution, pledging in 2014 to spend $76bn (£61bn) to clean up its persistently toxic air.

    After being shamed ahead of the 2008 Olympics, Beijing relocated some of its most polluting factories and closed its coal-fired power plants, largely replacing coal heating with natural gas.
    But despite throwing financial and political resources at the problem, it was forced to issue an “orange” pollution alert last week, the second highest.

    New research last week confirmed India to be more polluted than China for the first time. According to data (pdf) from the Global Burden of Disease project at the University of Washington, there were 3,283 premature deaths a day in India in 2015 as a result of particulate matter and ozone pollution, compared to 3,233 in China.
    This compares with a just over one thousand a day in Europe and the US combined.

    So Americans can look forward to the deregulation some of them voted for.
    The consequences of employing business-profit-first pseudo-scientists in environmental management, are predictable. –
    But of course expert empirical scientific predictions do not feature in Trumponomics!

    Still! – It should help to promote increased profitable sales of medical treatments, hospital services, and funeral plans! – Business is business!!

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  • Trump is just this huge wrecking ball smashing his way too and fro isn’t he? I have a suggestion for the guy who was promoting the benefits of increasing the amount of co2 in the atmosphere. How about a little scientific integrity. We’ll set him up a little experiment. Put a greenhouse full of plants in one of America’s many deserts and over a week gradually increase the amount of C02 and see at what point he decides to leave it. Clearly he isn’t going to want to stay until it’s 100% or he wouldn’t be leaving it and kind guy I am I’d never advocate that, but just how uncomfortable would he be prepared to be, let’s do it over a week say. I’m teaching my son about Greenhouse gases so I 3D printed a couple of caps for soda stream bottles to fit the temperature probes for a data logger I borrowed at school. I shoved some C02 in and from an initial 2 degree drop from the change of pressure of the gas in the c02 bottle compared their rise in temp in the sun for 15 minutes the c02 bottle quickly overtook the other bottle and then on bringing it back into the shade stayed higher for a significant period of time. I suspect you could do a nice little experiment in a greenhouse in a nice warm location televise it like a reality tv show. Just how far are these guys willing to go personally?

    Here in Australia the right side of the Government is also full of AGW deniers. South Australia which has ramped up wind production to I think about 40% of total power (on average) was blamed when they suffered power outages due to a storm knocking down power lines. Of course you cannot blame wind turbines for knocking over power lines exactly the same situation would have occurred if the power generated was from a gas or coal plant, no lines, you need to stop generating power or things start to go bang and zap.

    At the time the lines went down wind was actually producing 1000 megawatts. The Prime minister who is beholden to the right wing of his party then tried to blame the renewable energy targets of state governments. And ever since this deliberate lie has been doing the rounds trying to make political capital out of the event. What can be agreed upon is we need significant back up of our power system and the federal government has been pushing for new coal and gas power. What is truly brilliant is that Elon Musk has jumped in and offered to deliver a 100 megawatt battery (enough to solve the issues) storage facility within 100 days of signing contract or he’ll give us the system for free. This is brilliant, as it puts the government in a position that if they wish to argue that renewable cannot work they have but to take Elon up on his offer, if he cannot deliver it’s 100megawatts of free storage, if he can deliver then it shows the lie that renewable energy cannot be used because of lack of base-load power. The deniers are boned either way. How do explain you knocked back 100megawatts of free storage? This is what we need to do from here on out. Put up or shut up. Don’t believe CO2 generates extra heat sit in a greenhouse with co2 being ramped up, being offered a solution for free if it doesn’t work buy or shut up. The right won’t likely take Elon up on his offer, but when they don’t the argument can be shoved straight in their face until the next election thank you Elon.

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  • Reckless Monkey #2
    Mar 11, 2017 at 5:06 pm

    I suspect you could do a nice little experiment in a greenhouse in a nice warm location televise it like a reality tv show. Just how far are these guys willing to go personally?

    Actually in an Earth based glasshouse, the predominant effect on temperature, is from convection and conduction of heat from the exterior of the glass and ventilators! – Unlike the planet where the heat balance is from radiation to and from space!

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  • @Alan,

    True, but CO2 added to either system will force temperatures up, which is the point they are trying to deny hence my developing belief that they need to be confronted with their beliefs as much as possible. In reality of course chucking them in a greenhouse is a stunt on one level, that is the whole weather system is much more complex. However these guys are denying often the most fundamental of the science on this. I’ve heard politicians denying any link to climate change and global warming, well as I see it we need to challenge these guys at every step. Let’s make it a more controlled system have two indoor closed containers with lighting externally, have someone who supports global warming in the control the one without extra CO2 and another guy with extra CO2 (not enough to cause brain damage obviously but enough to force up temperatures. Have these guys in the system for a week monitoring CO2 and forcing temp up. A stunt like this would have the benefit of showing to the viewers the basic mechanisms and challenging the deniers to back their false statements. Much like the James Randi challenge. This is my thinking. As reality TV it might even rate.

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  • @OP – In the days since, Mr. Pruitt, a former Oklahoma attorney general who built a career out of suing the agency he now leads, has moved to stock the top offices of the agency with like-minded conservatives — many of them skeptics of climate change and all of them intent on rolling back environmental regulations that they see as overly intrusive and harmful to business.

    The underlying Trump plan behind the smokescreen of Twitterings, seems fairly clear.

    Replace the chief expert witnesses with contrarian stooges, and sack the scientific support staff providing evidence, sack the competent informed prosecutors disrupting any present legal enforcement of regulations, fines, or compensation claims, and then repeal the regulations to sabotage any longer term effective action against corporate anti-social or rogue activities.


    A New York federal prosecutor who refused to resign when he and 45 other prosecutors were asked to by the Trump administration says he has been sacked.

    This will halt any current prosecutions, and effectively give corrupt rogue businessmen a free ride on any abuses they wish to perpetrate on the population!

    It would be interesting to investigate if any of the removed prosecutors were at present or in the past, prosecuting Trump or associated Trump companies!

    These were Democrat appointees, so perhaps some of them may seek new careers as legally expert congressmen in the upcoming mid-term elections – standing on a platform of impeaching the president and “draining the swamp” of nepotism and corruption!

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  • @OP – E.P.A. Head Stacks Agency With Climate Change Skeptics

    Better known to the educated as “Climate change Deniers” or purveyors of “fake news” and “alternative facts”!


    The inventor of the world wide web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, has unveiled a plan to tackle data abuse and fake news.

    In an open letter to mark the web’s 28th anniversary, Sir Tim has set out a five-year strategy amid concerns he has about how the web is being used.

    Sir Tim said he wants to start to combat the misuse of personal data, which creates a “chilling effect on free speech”.

    He also called for tighter regulation of “unethical” political adverts.

    The British computer scientist said he wants the people who have helped develop the web with blogs, tweets, photos, videos and web pages to help come up with practical solutions to make a web “that gives equal power and opportunity to all”.

    Users are often unable to tell outlets what data they would not like shared, Sir Tim said. Terms and conditions were “all or nothing”.

    Sir Tim said he wants to work with companies to put “a fair level of data control back in the hands of people”.

    He also expressed concerns that government surveillance is going too far and stopping the web from being used to explore topics such as sensitive health issues, sexuality or religion.

    Social media sites and search engines must be encouraged to continue efforts to combat the problem of fake news, Sir Tim said.

    However, central bodies deciding what is true or not should be avoided, he added.

    Clearly the Trump administration cannot be trusted to present honest science, or honest “facts”!

    Certain algorithms can favour sensationalist information designed to surprise or shock users rather than reflect the truth and can “spread like wildfire”, Sir Tim said.

    The arrival of social media – and the fight for clicks – has meant real and fictional stories are presented in such a similar way that it can be hard to tell the two apart.

    So-called “fake news” could be false information deliberately circulated by those who have scant regard for the truth but hope to advance particular (often extreme) political causes and make money out of online traffic.

    Or it could be false information circulated by journalists who don’t realise it’s false.

    Fake news has become so prevalent that the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee is now investigating concerns about the public being swayed by propaganda and untruths.

    The committee was spurred by claims that voters in the US election were influenced by fake news, it said.

    Pope Francis was reported to have backed Donald Trump’s presidency campaign, for example, when he had not made an endorsement.

    Meanwhile, Mr Trump himself has used the term fake news to refer to critical stories about his administration, picking out organisations such as CNN and BBC.

    Illustrating his gratuitous lying and fundamental dishonestly!

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  • Alan4discussion #5
    Mar 12, 2017 at 5:36 am

    A New York federal prosecutor who refused to resign when he and 45 other prosecutors were asked to by the Trump administration says he has been sacked.

    This will halt any current prosecutions, and effectively give corrupt rogue businessmen a free ride on any abuses they wish to perpetrate on the population!

    There’s a palpable, and growing, sense of fear in Trumpland as more and more evidence about corruption, Russia and lying on oath comes to light. They’ve been desperately trying to move the narrative away from the actual facts emerging and on to who keeps leaking information and the supposed “Deep State” that is plotting against Trump. He’s frantically trying to get rid of any people who might be in that deep state and staunch the flow of leaks or potential court cases against him but there’s a big problem looming.

    When I was growing up in the 60s and 70s one of my favourite programs was Out of Town with Jack Hargreaves. He took us through all aspects of country life – fishing, farming, horsemanship, puffing away on his ever present pipe. In one of the programs I still remember he showed us the life of the mole, the bane of every farmer and toasted by the Jacobites as “The Little Gentleman in Velvet”, one of whose holes in the ground caused the horse carrying Willam III to stumble and throw him, breaking his collarbone and leading to his eventual death.

    Jack showed us how the traps worked and how to place them but he said there was one unspoken agreement between the mole catchers and the farmers who employed them. The mole catcher will never try to catch every mole in a field. If he does that there are none left to breed and give him employment next year so he takes most of them but always leaves a couple.

    If Trump roots out every “mole” who might have even the tiniest Democrat leanings against him and who he is trying to blame for this “Deep State” of opposition but the leaks continue to flow unabated then he has no one left to blame except his own people. At that point he’s hoist by his own petard and his paranoia will no doubt grow even more rampant.

    Even in his own delusional mind he might finally be starting to realise that if you attack and villify every segment of the population as he has done over the last year then you’re not going to end up with many friends. He’s mocked or disparaged the disabled, war veterans, the press, his own security services, women in general, people of every colour except white and actually plenty of those too if they ever ran against him or said anything uncomplimentary about him, Mexicans, Chinese, Muslims, Jews, Latinos, judges and federal courts. As they are fond of saying in the Ankh Morpork Needleworkers Guild – “as ye sew so shall ye reap”.

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  • It appears that the climate (like the courts), is unimpressed by Trump’s denialists – and effects ARE global!


    The air pollution that lingered over eastern China for nearly a month in 2013 has been linked to the loss of Arctic sea ice the previous autumn.

    A study says the haze lasted much longer because the melting ice and increased snowfall altered wind circulation patterns.

    Those much denied climate computer models DO predict increased rainfall and snowfall in temperate areas while droughts and desertification increase in the tropics!

    If Arctic ice continues to shrink due to climate change, the scientists say similar events will likely recur.

    They argue that this could threaten the Beijing Winter Olympics set for 2022.

    OOooooh! dear! – Sporting events being affected! Terrible!
    Those drought afflicted starving Africans must really feel for those poor sports promoters in industrialised countries! 🙂

    Emissions puzzle

    Air quality issues have plagued China in recent years but the pollution experienced in January 2013 was significant because it lasted so long.

    The large-scale haze stayed in place for almost a month and around 70% of China’s 74 major cities exceeded the daily air quality standard for very fine particulate matter, which poses serious risks to health.

    Scientists were puzzled by the event as the Chinese government had taken steps to curb emissions from coal fired power plants, one of the most significant contributors to air pollution.

    Now researchers say that record Arctic sea ice decline in late 2012, plus extensive snowfall over Siberia disturbed wind patterns and produced stagnant air conditions over the east China plain.

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  • Meanwhile – in the real world:-


    ‘Extreme and unusual’ climate trends continue after record 2016

    In the atmosphere, the seas and around the poles, climate change is reaching disturbing new levels across the Earth.**

    That’s according to** a detailed global analysis from the World Meteorological Organization** (WMO).

    It says that 2016 was not only the warmest year on record, but it saw atmospheric CO2 rise to a new high, while Arctic sea ice recorded a new winter low.

    The “extreme and unusual” conditions have continued in 2017, it says.

    Reports earlier this year from major scientific bodies – including the UK’s Met Office, Nasa and NOAA – indicated that 2016 was the warmest year on record.

    The WMO’s State of the Global Climate 2016 report builds on this research with information from 80 national weather services to provide a deeper and more complete picture of the year’s climate data.

    Compared with the 1961-1990 reference period, 2016 was 0.83 degrees C warmer than the average. It was around 1.1C above the pre-industrial period, and at 0.06C just a fraction warmer than the previous warmest year record in 2015.

    “This increase in global temperature is consistent with other changes occurring in the climate system,” said WMO Secretary-General, Petteri Taalas.

    “Globally averaged sea-surface temperatures were also the warmest on record, global sea-levels continued to rise, and Arctic sea-ice extent was well below average for most of the year,” he said.

    Not all the world warmed at equal speed in 2016.

    In the Arctic, temperatures were about 3 degrees C above the 1961-1990 average. In Svalbard, the Norwegian island high in the Arctic circle, the yearly average was 6.5 degrees above the long-term mark.

    The report says that temperatures in 2016 were “substantially influenced” by the El Niño weather phenomenon, contributing 0.1 to 0.2 degrees on top of the longer-term warming driven by emissions of CO2.

    However, El Niño also had an influence on the levels of the gas in the atmosphere.

    “The CO2 rise in 2016 was the fastest on record – 3.4ppm (parts per million) per year – because the El Niño weakened the tropical carbon sink and gave the ongoing CO2 rise an extra kick on top of the effect of human emissions,” said Prof Richard Betts from the Met Office Hadley Centre.

    “As a result, 2016 became the first year in which CO2 measurements at Mauna Loa remained above 400ppm all year round.”

    The report states that extreme weather events in 2016 included severe droughts in southern and eastern Africa, and in Central America. Hurricane Matthew in the North Atlantic was one of the most damaging weather-related disasters, leaving hundreds of dead and swathes of destruction across Haiti.

    The WMO says that the “extreme and unusual” climate and weather trends have continued into 2017. At least three times this winter, the Arctic experienced the equivalent of a heatwave, as powerful Atlantic storms drove warm, moist air into the region.

    Changes in the Arctic and the melting of sea-ice are also leading to a shift in atmospheric circulation patterns impacting other parts of the world. This is causing unusual heat in some areas – In the US, over 11,000 warm temperature records were broken in early 2017.

    “Even without a strong El Niño in 2017, we are seeing other remarkable changes across the planet that are challenging the limits of our understanding of the climate system. We are now in truly uncharted territory,” said David Carlson, World Climate Research Programme Director at the WMO.

    In the face of all this information, climate researchers around the world are irked by the attitude of the Trump government in Washington.

    The new administration has rolled back some of the global warming measures taken by President Obama, while the newly appointed head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, denied that CO2 was a primary contributor to warming.

    “The WMO’s statement on the 2016 climate leaves no room for doubt. The much-hyped warming hiatus is over – and the ‘missing’ heat energy didn’t go missing at all. Instead, that heat went into the ocean, and we got much of it back again last year,” said Dr Phil Williamson, from the University of East Anglia.

    “Human-driven climate change is now an empirically verifiable fact, combining year-to-year variability with the consequences of our release of extra greenhouse gases. Those who dispute that link are not sceptics, but anti-science deniers.

    Meanwhile the internet pseudo-science denialists whose education levels lead them to think global climate is measured with a thermometer, produce fake news and of course claim all the actually measured data from a long list of expert scientific bodies and organisations is “fake news”!

    realclimatescience.com/2017/…/extreme-and-unusual-climate-fraud-continues-…Posted on March 21, 2017 by tonyheller. The BBC … Extreme and unusual’ climate trends continue after record 2016 – BBC News. This is completely fake data. NOAA thermometers show the exact of opposite of the BBC/NOAA claims. … Government climate science and MSM climate reporting is all fake news, all the time.


    The fraudulent blog claims from Tony Heller otherwise known under the nom de plume of the nutty Steven Goddard – certainly has continued over the years – without a hint of irony or accuracy!

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  • Meanwhile – back in the real world of technological investment!


    Plans for coal-fired power plants drop by almost half in 2016

    “It’s not normal to see construction frozen at scores of locations, but central authorities in China and bankers in India have come to recognize overbuilding of coal plants as a major waste of resources.

    “However abrupt, the shift from fossil fuels to clean sources in the power sector is a positive one for health, climate security, and jobs. And by all indications, the shift is unstoppable.”

    The study comes as other groups analyse the potential for investments in coal to become stranded assets if governments continue to restrict CO2 emissions. The International Energy Agency (IEA) says that hundreds of billions of dollars could be at risk.

    “The decline in new coal plants in Asian countries is truly dramatic, and shows how a perfect storm of factors is simply making coal a bad investment,” said Paul Massara, now of North Star Solar but a former CEO of RWE npower.

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