Image: Pete Marovich / Getty Images

In an interview with KSNV News 3 Las Vegas, EPA administrator Scott Pruitt claimed that while no one disputes that the climate is changing, the bigger question is if warmer temperatures are necessarily a bad thing.

"Is it an existential threat? Is it something that is unsustainable, or what kind of effect or harm is this going to have? We know that humans have most flourished during times of, what, warming trends. I think there are assumptions made because the climate is warming, that that is necessarily a bad thing. Do we really know what the ideal surface temperature should be in the year 2100?"
— EPA administrator Scott Pruitt

Why it matters: Pruitt has previously said that he does not agree that CO2 is a primary contributor to climate change, but has largely avoided questions of what a warming world would mean for humans. Pruitt has called for a "red-team, blue-team" televised debate to let Americans decide for themselves what they believe.

Fact check: "A growing body of research has found that humans are warming the Earth at an unprecedented pace, chiefly through the burning of fossil fuels," states an E&E story about Pruitt's comments. "Possible impacts include a few feet of sea-level rise and an increase in deadly heat waves, potentially making some areas of the planet uninhabitable. The National Climate Assessment released by the Trump administration last year found that it's 'extremely likely' that humans are the primary drivers of climate change."

Go deeper

Parties trade election influence accusations at Big Tech hearing

Photo: Michael Reynolds/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

A Senate hearing Wednesday with Big Tech CEOs became the backdrop for Democrats and Republicans to swap accusations of inappropriate electioneering.

Why it matters: Once staid tech policy debates are quickly becoming a major focal point of American culture and political wars, as both parties fret about the impact of massive social networks being the new public square.

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Germany goes back into lockdown

Photo: Fabrizio Bensch/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will enact one of Europe's strictest coronavirus lockdowns since spring, closing bars and restaurants nationwide for most of November, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: Germany is the latest European country to reimpose some form of lockdown measures amid a surge in cases across the continent.

How overhyping became an election meddling tool

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

As online platforms and intelligence officials get more sophisticated about detecting and stamping out election meddling campaigns, bad actors are increasingly seeing the appeal of instead exaggerating their own interference capabilities to shake Americans' confidence in democracy.

Why it matters: It doesn't take a sophisticated operation to sow seeds of doubt in an already fractious and factionalized U.S. Russia proved that in 2016, and fresh schemes aimed at the 2020 election may already be proving it anew.

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