Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), thought he was in for a friendly chat about the EPA when he went on "Fox News Sunday" over the weekend. But the host, Chris Wallace, had other plans.
The ten minute interview shows Wallace questioning Trump's executive order that rolls back Obama's Clean Power Plan and attacking the Trump administration's proposed 31% cut to the EPA. Wallace also took the time to rebut Pruitt's recent comments where he denied carbon dioxide was a major contributor to climate change.
Wallace began the interview by questioning the Trump administration's decision to remove the Clean Power Plan. Pruitt completely evaded the question by arguing that improving air quality should have been a greater focus for the US over the last few years.
Um, where have you been for the last few years, Scott?
Clean air was one of Obama's greatest legacies. Working in collaboration with the EPA, Obama took several revolutionary steps towards combatting air pollution.
1. Obama Reduced Power Plant Toxins
In 2011 the EPA created MATS, Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, which require power plants to reduce their toxic pollutant emissions within four years.
2. Obama Decreased Car Emissions
In 2014, the EPA created a three-tiered plan of attack to reduce harmful emissions from vehicles, which can cause premature death and respiratory illnesses.
3. Obama Reduced Ozone Pollution
Ozone gases can harm asthma sufferers and children. They are a deadly source of air pollution and under the Clean Air Act, the EPA sets guidelines for ozone levels.
4. Obama Introduced the Clean Power Plan
In 2015, the EPA and Obama announced the Clean Power Plan. The Clean Power Plan seeks to reduce carbon pollution from power plants and reduces pollutants that cause the soot and smog that harm health. All this while advancing clean energy innovation.
Not satisfied with Scott Pruitt's evasive answer, Wallace followed up by asking, "And you think that doing away with Clean Power Plan will improve air quality?"
Pruitt responded by arguing that litigations against the Clean Power Plan made the plan inefficient and, therefore, unnecessary. But Wallace was having none of that. Wallace pointed out that there are also litigations being brought against the executive order to remove the Clean Power Plan.
Whoops! Guess you won't be using that argument again, Pruitt.
Wallace then asked Pruitt how he feels about the USA taking a back seat on climate change while China leads the way. Pruitt replied that China and India are not as committed as the U.S. because they don't "have to take steps until 2030" under the Paris Accord.
That is bullshit. In order to reach their goals from the Paris Agreement both India and China must take steps before 2030. Some reports even suggest that China is ahead of schedule.
Despite his evisceration of all of Pruitt's points, Wallace was not even close to finishing. He brought up Pruitt's recent comments about carbon dioxide not being a major contributor to climate change, and he used two major stats to debunk Pruitt's ignorance:
The United Nations panel on climate change says it is 95% likely that more than half the increase since the mid-20th century is from human activity.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said there is more carbon dioxide now than in the last 400,000 years.
Wallace barely let Pruitt take a breath before he started going after Trump's astronomical cuts to the EPA. He lamented that the cuts would affect 56 programs, including the Great Lakes Restoration, Water Runoff Control and Pesticide Safety.
"What does that say about the commitment of this administration and you to cleaning up the environment?" asked Wallace.
With one, last fumbled response, Pruitt ended the interview.
Perhaps the best part of the Fox News interview was the fact that Breitbart News condemned Pruitt's performance as "an entirely needless concession to the enemy".
Here's to hoping Fox News and Chris Wallace continue to be the enemy of climate deniers.