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denial and error

Scott Pruitt’s week has been a real March Against Science.

The EPA chief met with forest industry leaders in Georgia on Monday and announced that in the eyes of the EPA, burning biomass — like trees — is now carbon neutral. At least when “used for energy production at stationary sources.” Science suggests otherwise.

Trees are renewable in the sense that you can burn them and grow more. Some science suggests that as a burned forest regrows, it might even suck up the carbon dioxide that a blaze releases.

But “renewable” doesn’t always mean “clean” or “carbon neutral.” Burning wood can actually release more carbon dioxide than burning coal, as Climate Central’s John Upton writes. And think about it: Wood goes up in flames quickly, while regrowing a forest could maybe take a hundred years — leaving that carbon dioxide in the air an awfully long time.

Pruitt’s anti-science rhetoric continued on Tuesday with the announcement of a new rule that would prevent the EPA policymakers from using scientific studies unless the raw data behind them is made public. That same day, Pruitt attended a meeting where climate deniers — but no reporters — were invited. He posed for a photo with Marc Morano, climate misinformation extraordinaire.

The rest of the week may be rough for the EPA chief. He’s got two congressional hearing scheduled for Thursday, and he’s expected to get grilled on ethics.