|THE RED TEAM MODELING THE POLITICAL CLIMATE OF OKLAHOMA |
THE ECONOMIST TAKES A DIM VIEW OF PRUITT'S EPA:
"he has floated an idea for a sort of climate-focused
Scopes Monkey Trial"
"Scott Pruitt ... is the first to make a nonsense of his office ...with close ties to oil-and-gas... Mr Pruitt says he does not believe global warming is caused by human activity and proposes a " true environmentalism " which chiefly involves burning more fossil fuels. Or, as he puts it,
“ using natural resources that God has blessed us with.”
As a possible probing attack, he has floated an idea for a sort of climate-focused Scopes Monkey Trial, a televised debate between climate change believers and sceptics.
Yet he is also giving contrary signals, which suggest his opposition to climate regulation may be more selective than it seemed-- ...Mr Pruitt has recently sounded perfectly respectful towards the scientific consensus on global warming.
There are three main explanations for this change.
First, the scientific consensus on global warming has hardened, making blanket opposition to it harder to maintain...a hapless effort to scrap the endangerment finding, which would invite a backlash from the next Democratic administration.
While a hard-core of ideologues and some companies... the sort of regional operator Mr Pruitt was close to in Oklahoma—argued for repeal, bigger firms, such as Chevron and ExxonMobil, were against it...This growth of new economic interests from the environmental policy regime is the second reason for the shift. Mr Pruitt’s recent interest in methane regulation exemplifies that...
The third reason for the conservative elite’s more nuanced view of environmental policy relates to public opinion—and is depressing...a deluge of bogus science and conspiracy theories... has transformed the issue from one of America’s least partisan, to one of the most... That, in turn, makes life easier for opportunists such as Mr Pruitt. Where they once risked being found out by their voters, they can now make whatever reality based compromises they like, so long as they keep enraging the other side...
By one projection, the EPA will cut its 15,000 strong staff in half by 2020. An EPA official describes this approach as “salting the Earth, not burning the place down.” That is hardly reassuring, considering the environmental vandalism Mr Pruitt is doing, and the vandalism to America’s Enlightenment traditions he represents."