Trump's EPA Chief Wants Scientists to Debate Climate Change on TV

Scott Pruitt said there are "lots of questions that have not been asked and answered" about an issue the larger scientific community has already settled.
July 12, 2017, 6:18pm
Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images

On Tuesday, Scott Pruitt—Trump's fossil-fuel loving EPA administrator who's expressed doubt about humans' role in global warming—told Reuters that he'd like to broadcast the issue by having mainstream and skeptical scientists duke out the merits of climate change in a televised debate.

"There are lots of questions [about climate change] that have not been asked and answered," he told the wire service. "Who better to do that than a group of scientists... getting together and having a robust discussion for all the world to see?"

Pruitt's pushing for a "red team-blue team" face-off, stacking a few of the fringe characters skeptical of our role in global warming against those aligned with the scientific consensus that climate change is real, dangerous, and caused by humans. As the Washington Post reported, the red team would get a chance to attack mainstream findings on the issue, and the blue team would play defense.

When Reuters asked if that showdown should unfold on national television, Pruitt said he thought that was a fine idea.

"I think so," he said. "I don't know yet, but you want this to be open to the world. You want this to be on full display. I think the American people would be very interested in consuming that."

Pruitt has long fought the idea that humans cause climate change, and voiced doubts that it's as bad as most of the world thinks it is. He challenged a host of Obama-era climate regulations as Oklahoma's attorney general, and sued the organization he's now running 14 times. Now that he's taken over, Trump's administration has already rolled back numerous environmental protection rules Obama put in place, and put the brakes on new EPA regulations. Pruitt also threw his support behind Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord, calling it a "decision of courage and fortitude."

The EPA chief hasn't said how he'd choose the contestants for his weird, potentially world-altering game show, but a few folks make sense for the job. Bill Nye, for one, already got a warm-up round.

Follow Drew Schwartz on Twitter.