Updated Feb 8, 2018

Fact-checking Pruitt’s warming comments

Scott Pruitt testifying on Capitol Hill. Photo: Pete Marovich / Getty Images

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt indicated in an interview this week that some global warming could be good for humans. He's technically not wrong, but he's overstating and muddling a scientific consensus that's unequivocally saying the opposite.

The bottom line: There will be some benefits to a warmer planet, notably in colder regions like Canada and Russia. But, overall the negative effects far outweigh the benefits in colder regions.

Quoted: "Global warming is plausibly beneficial in some places, like where it is presently cold. So Administer Pruitt isn’t way off here," said Joseph Makjut, director of climate policy at the Niskanen Center, a libertarian think tank. "The rub is that global warming is really bad in places where it is already hot. More people live in hot places, so we can expect net losses."

One level deeper: The United Nations’ summary of the world’s foremost scientific literature has answered this question: "Are the future impacts of climate change only negative? Might there be positive impacts as well?" Here it is:

“Overall, the report identifies many more negative impacts than positive impacts projected for the future, especially for high magnitudes and rates of climate change. Climate change will, however, have different impacts on people around the world and those effects will vary not only by region but over time, depending on the rate and magnitude of climate change.”

Between the lines: It's hard to know for sure whether Pruitt is being disingenuous or is ill-informed on the science. It's a common position taken by people who question the mainstream scientific consensus that human activity is driving Earth’s temperature up over the past century.

For the record: A request for additional comment to EPA regarding the UN's address of the issue was not immediately returned.

Go deeper: Climate scientists roundly refuted with very detailed responses an article in May 2016 that said in "many ways global warming will be a good thing."

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Gilead expands access to experimental coronavirus drug in emergency cases

Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Gilead Sciences CEO Daniel O’Day said in an open letter Saturday the company is expanding access to its experimental anti-coronavirus drug remdesivir to include severely ill COVID-19 patients.

The big pig picture: President Trump has called the antiviral drug "promising," but the results of six clinical trials on this investigational medicine are still being conducted, so its effectiveness in COVID-19 the treatment has yet to be proved. The World Health Organization is involved in the tests.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 1 a.m. ET: 664,695 — Total deaths: 30,847 — Total recoveries: 140,156.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 1 a.m. ET: 124,464 — Total deaths: 2,191 — Total recoveries: 1,095.
  3. Federal government latest: President Trump announces new travel advisories for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, but rules out quarantine enforcement. Per the CDC, residents of those states must now "refrain from non-essential domestic travel for 14 days," with the exception of critical infrastructure industry workers.
  4. State updates: Alaska is latest state to issue a stay-at-home order — New York is trying to nearly triple its hospital capacity in less than a month and has moved its presidential primary to June 23. Some Midwestern swing voters who backed Trump's handling of the virus less than two weeks ago are balking at his call for the U.S. to be "opened up" by Easter.
  5. World updates: In Spain, over 1,400 people were confirmed dead between Thursday to Saturday.
  6. 🚀 Space updates: OneWeb filed for bankruptcy amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
  7. Hollywood: Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson have returned to U.S. after being treated for coronavirus.
  8. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Coronavirus updates: Global death toll tops 30,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

The novel coronavirus has now killed more than 30,000 people around the world — with Italy reporting over 10,000 deaths, per Johns Hopkins data.

The big picture: The number of deaths from COVID-19 in the U.S. surpassed 2,000 on Saturday. The United States leads the world in confirmed coronavirus infections — more than 124,000 by late Saturday. The number of those recovered from the virus in the U.S. passed the 1,000-mark on Saturday evening.

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