Susan Walsh / AP

EPA has a message about Scott Pruitt's instantly controversial new comments about climate change: nothing to see here.

He made a statement this morning that is consistent with his prior statements — John Konkus, an EPA spokesman, to reporters in Houston.

However, Pruitt also went a bit further than his past public remarks Thursday when he told CNBC that he does not agree that carbon dioxide is a "primary contributor to the global warming that we see." That diverges a lot from the dominant view among scientists about the role of human-induced carbon emissions in the global warming that's underway.

Why it matters: The voluminous press coverage of Pruitt's CNBC comments and immediate attacks from Democrats and environmentalists signal how EPA is facing intense scrutiny as the Trump administration seeks to unwind Obama-era climate initiatives.

What's next: Pruitt's climate views are certain to remain in the news. The White House is slated to issue an executive order soon to begin the lengthy process of rescinding carbon emissions rules for power plants. And Pruitt is also reportedly planning to revisit strict mileage standards for cars and light trucks that are another pillar of Obama's climate push.

EPA, in a prepared statement Thursday, reiterated Pruitt's previously stated uncertainty about the extent of humans' role in rising temperatures but did not repeat any outright disagreement about the role of carbon emissions. The agency said:

"Administrator Pruitt has said repeatedly and consistently that he believes the climate is warming and that it is in part due to human activity. Many questions remain however that should be debated: how much is the climate changing, to what extent is human activity involved, and what to do about it?"

Go deeper

Former Afghanistan commander Stanley McChrystal endorses Joe Biden

Ret. Gen. Stanley McChrystal endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden for president on MSNBC Thursday.

Why it matters: McChrystal came under fire in 2010 during the Obama administration after a Rolling Stone article quoted him as mocking some top civilian officials — including Biden. The general apologized to Biden but was ultimately pushed to resign.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
55 mins ago - Economy & Business

The holiday shopping season will now begin in October

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Amazon's decision to move its Prime Day to Oct. 13–14 this year will pull the whole holiday shopping season forward by more than a month and help make online retail bigger than ever, as more families shop electronically and jostle to get presents purchased ahead of December holidays.

Why it matters: The reality of the coronavirus pandemic pushing people toward e-commerce combined with the pull of Amazon Prime Day and the Christmas shopping season this year are setting up a bonanza for retailers — but only those with the ability to offer steep discounts, delivery and an attractive online platform.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7:45 a.m. ET: 34,010,539 — Total deaths: 1,014,958 — Total recoveries: 23,662,200Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7:45 a.m. ET: 7,234,257 — Total deaths: 206,963 — Total recoveries: 2,840,688 — Total tests: 103,939,667Map.
  3. Education: School-aged children now make up 10% of all U.S COVID-19 cases.
  4. Health: Alarming vaccine skepticism. Moderna says its coronavirus vaccine won't be ready until 2021
  5. Travel: CDC: 3,689 COVID-19 or coronavirus-like cases found on cruise ships in U.S. waters — Airlines begin mass layoffs while clinging to hope for federal aid
  6. Business: Real-time data show economy's rebound slowing but still going.
  7. Sports: Steelers-Titans NFL game delayed after coronavirus outbreak.