Climate science deniers are beginning to question whether U.S. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt will move ahead with his proposal to submit peer-reviewed climate science to critique by so-called “red teams” of skeptics, even as they work to identify candidates for those attack panels.
The climate denialist think tank Heartland Institute “has hosted climate scientists, economists, and lawyers to formulate their vision of the red team,” reports E&E News [sub req’d], citing an email it obtained. An attachment to the email contains notes from a meeting where more than 40 people discussed how to hold Pruitt to his commitment, and stack any red teams with members sympathetic to their views.
“EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s proposal for a Red Team-Blue Team exercise is vague, probably would not be effective, and is unlikely to come about” without additional pressure, Heartland CEO Joseph Bast wrote in the email.
Pruitt, a paranoid figure closely linked to his financial backers in the fossil industry, “is widely rumoured to be seeking elected office in his home state of Oklahoma,” E&E notes, and his agency has been slow to put his proposal into action—leading some conservatives and climate skeptics to speculate he may depart the EPA before the red teams get established.
With Pruitt’s possible departure clearly in mind, the meeting discussed other means of prodding him to more aggressive measures to dismantle America’s climate policy.
In particular, attendees were eager to “push Pruitt to start a proceeding for reconsideration of the Endangerment Finding”—the keystone EPA rule which determined that CO2 build-up in the atmosphere “endangers” Americans by disrupting the climate. Speakers bruited using the White House petition process to force the administration to either re-open the Finding or explain why it wouldn’t, and encouraged their audience to “play up the benefits of carbon dioxide.”