The Trump Administration has taken its shots at science, and researchers are firing right back. Trump’s chosen Environmental Protection Agency head, Scott Pruitt, made the outrageous claim that “over the past two decades satellite data indicates there has been a leveling off of warming.” In direct response, researchers published a scientific paper presenting evidence that disproves Pruitt’s allegation.
“In my opinion, when incorrect science is elevated to the level of formal congressional testimony and makes its way into the official congressional record, climate scientists have some responsibility to test specific claims that were made, determine whether those claims are correct or not, and publish their results,” said lead author, Benjamin Santer in an interview.
Santer, from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, co-authored the paper with scientists from MIT, the University of Washington and Remote Sensing Systems. The article, entitled “Tropospheric Warming Over The Past Two Decades” was published earlier this week in the journal Nature Scientific Reports.
Using three different satellite data sets for the period January 1979 until December 2016, the authors concluded “Satellite temperature measurements do not support the claim of a “leveling off of warming” over the past two decades.”
Republican Scott Pruitt, a known denier of climate change, is subject to heavy criticism for his role as EPA administrator. Formerly the Attorney General of Oklahoma, Pruitt has been found to have very strong ties with the oil industry, among other sad and dangerous paradoxes that indicate his election was a very unethical move.
Watch Scott Pruitt defend his claims on Fox News:
Pruitt was nominated for the EPA position by Donald Trump, even though his office had sued the EPA at least 13 times prior to 2017, attempting to evade their Waters of the United States rule and Clean Power Plan. Pruitt has referred to himself as “a leading advocate against the EPA’s activist agenda”.
“Pruitt is not correct in saying that warming has leveled off,” stated Santer. “It hasn’t in any of the satellite data sets, and indeed, in older and newer versions of the three satellite data sets, we judge the most recent warming to be statistically significant — to be larger than the warming that our current model-based estimates tells us that we should see due to internal variability alone.”
The dispute underlines the danger of politicians being at odds with scientific research. Many people believe that all decisions made by the government, especially regarding the environment, should be soundly backed by research. The contention has grown since Trump released his budget plans, which severely cut funding for research. Additionally, he has proposed a 31% budget cut to the EPA, which is suspiciously supported by Pruitt.
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