Stuff that matters

Caveat Empty

Scott Pruitt kinda sorta maybe gets that carbon dioxide contributes to warming.

During a wide-ranging Fox News Sunday interview, the EPA administrator fielded questions about President Trump’s recent executive order, the Clean Power Plan, the Paris Agreement, and public health.

When asked about his statement last month that CO2 is not the primary driver of climate change, Pruitt offered a classic conservative response. “CO2 contributes to greenhouse gas, it has a greenhouse-gas effect,” he said. “The issue is, how much we contribute to it from the human-activity perspective, and what can be done about it.”

Sound familiar? During his confirmation hearing, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke also recognized the existence of human-made climate change. Then he added a caveat, “Where there is the debate is what that influence is.”

It’s possible Trump administration members finally realize, unlike their boss, that most of America — 70 percent, according to recent data — agree climate change is happening. And The Hill recently reported that Pruitt has concerns about being labeled anti-science.

But until they trim their hedge on whether human activity is to blame, he and others in Trump’s orbit will stand directly opposed to scientific consensus — which harbors no doubts about why the climate is changing.