Feb 7, 2018

Pruitt claims humans have flourished most during periods of warming

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

The downsides of remote work

Data: Reproduced from Prudential/Morning Consult "Pulse of the American Worker Survey"; Chart: Axios Visuals

The coronavirus pandemic has forced a large-scale experiment in working from home. It has gone well enough that many companies are expanding their remote work expectations for the foreseeable future, and remote employees want to continue to work that way.

Yes, but: The downsides of remote work — less casual interaction with colleagues, an over-reliance on Zoom, lack of in-person collaboration and longer hours — could over time diminish the short-term gains.

Hong Kong's economic future hangs in the balance

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

As Beijing forces a sweeping national security law on Hong Kong, the once semi-autonomous city's status as one of Asia's largest financial hubs is at risk.

Why it matters: Political freedoms and strong rule of law helped make Hong Kong a thriving center for international banking and finance. But China's leaders may be betting that top firms in Hong Kong will trade some political freedoms for the economic prosperity Beijing can offer.

Why space is good politics for Trump

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Trump's exuberance around today's scheduled SpaceX launch — including his decision to travel to Florida to watch — goes beyond a personal fascination with astronauts, rockets, and how to make money and wield power in the next frontier.

The bottom line: There's a presidential election in November, and the U.S. space program enjoys wide support across party lines. It's good politics for Trump, at least for now.