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EPA Chief Discounts CO2 As Top Cause Of Global Warming

The head of the Environmental Protection Agency stated during a March 9 interview that he does not believe that carbon dioxide emissions are the driving cause of climate change.

"I think that measuring with precision human activity on the climate is something very challenging to do and there's tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact, so no, I would not agree that it's a primary contributor to the global warming that we see," said EPA chief Scott Pruitt on CNBC's "Squawk Box."

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"But we don't know that yet," Pruitt continued. "… We need to continue the debate and continue the review and the analysis."

Pruitt has prioritized directing attention to industrial wants and needs before putting out new legislation on climate change, according to Bloomberg.

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The EPA chief also attributed proclaimed record-low carbon dioxide emissions to innovations in the oil and gas industries rather than to the Clean Power Plan, a measure which Pruitt has said the Trump administration refuses to defend in court.

"I believe it's because of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing," said Pruitt of the emissions numbers.

The EPA chief maintains that government intervention had nothing to do with a decline in carbon dioxide emissions, and has expressed an intention to repeal the Clean Power Plan.

Pruitt's statements, however, are at odds with data released by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

"The planet's average surface temperature has risen about 2.0 degrees Fahrenheit (1.1 degrees Celsius) since the late 19th century, a change driven largely by increased carbon dioxide and other human-made emissions into the atmosphere," stated NASA in a January statement that referenced NOAA studies.

In spite of the NASA statement, Pruitt maintains that the subject of climate change is in need of more discussion. Critics believe this is a stall to postpone immediate -- and likely costly -- action.

"Anyone who denies over a century's worth of established science and basic facts is unqualified to be the administrator of the EPA," stated Hawaiian Sen. Brian Schatz. "Now more than ever, the Senate needs to stand up to Scott Pruitt and his dangerous views."

Pruitt's statements have, however, been met with positive reception by Americans for Prosperity, an organization dedicated to reducing both taxes and executive overreach.

"We're encouraged to hear the new head of the EPA start the important conversation about the true costs of carbon taxes and regulations on the economy," said Chrissy Harbin, vice president of external affairs for Americans for Prosperity. "Small businesses and working families deserve an open and candid discussion about the real-life impacts of the energy policies promoted by the Obama administration."

Sources: CNBC, NASA, Bloomberg, Americans for Prosperity / Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr