Scott Pruitt Questions Study That Links Climate Change To Health Risk

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EPA's Scott Pruitt might be looking to reverse the "endangerment finding" compelling the EPA to act on climate change.

Under the guise that the Obama administration hastened an analysis showing that climate change presents a risk to human health and welfare, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has questioned its results, indicating the EPA might toss it and start from scratch.

The key concern, Pruitt told a congressional panel, was that the EPA in 2009 relied on scientific reports written by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the world’s authoritative network of climate scientists. Pruitt called it a “unique situation” in which a regulatory procedure relied on outsiders’ scientific work.

U.S. and international government and university scientists comprise the IPCC, which has released five reports on the effects of climate change, condensing thousands of peer-review research papers on the subject.

The most recent synthesis, published in 2014, concluded that “human influence on the climate system is clear,” causing “widespread impacts on human and natural systems.”

Pruitt has indicated the EPA will attempt its own analysis of the effects of climate change on human health and welfare, using the "red team-blue team" debate method, but should it decide the risk is negligent, removing the "endangerment finding" could be tricky.

A 2007 Supreme Court ruling essentially required the EPA to regulate carbon dioxide emissions if it found them to be a risk to health and welfare, and the scientific findings, including one issued by the U.S. government last month, have become more clear of the link between greenhouse gases and a changing climate.