We already knew that the new director of the EPA, Scott Pruitt, was an anti-climate nut. We also already knew that’s probably why Trump appointed him and the Senate confirmed him. They want to dismantle the EPA. Pruitt may well be taking his first steps in that direction by establishing a panel to critique climate science outside of the normal, scientific peer-review process.
What does that even mean? Well, what Pruitt wants to do is “use ‘red team, blue team’ exercises to conduct ‘an at-length evaluation of U.S. climate science.’” Or, put another way, Pruitt claims to want to recruit “the best” (whoever he thinks that is) in the fields that study the climate and organize a back-and-forth debate and critique of newer reports on climate science.
Two words come to mind here: “Oh, please.” They don’t want to have an honest debate because they patently refuse to admit that there is no debate anymore. This might make sense if the science hadn’t already conclusively established that greenhouse gas emissions are responsible for climate change, but that’s not the case. So this makes no sense at all.
Critics of this plan—a group that includes experts in the form of climate scientists—are worried that this is going to politicize science more than it already is, and legitimize the views of the very few who disagree with climate scientists the world over. And they’re right to be worried, because that’s very likely what the administration, and the GOP as a whole, want.
It’s like creationism research. Places like the Institute for Creation Research were established specifically as an attempt to present the idea of creationism as valid science (it’s not, and the ICR is one of the biggest jokes there is in the long, sad history of really bad jokes). But evangelical Christians want their views to be mainstream enough to seem legit so they can indoctrinate our children in public schools and finish littering our government with their religious doctrine. The only way to do that is to remake their religious ideas into valid science (an impossible task, but they don’t know that).
This panel smacks of that same attitude. The EPA and its rules have long been a favorite target of the GOP, as has the whole idea of man-made climate change. Now they have a chance of pushing their science denialism into the mainstream, and with Pruitt at the helm of the EPA now, they don’t even really have to try.
Like Trump’s “election integrity” commission, this panel has a specific agenda. It’s not being formed out of a true desire to fairly evaluate anything. It’s to force anti-science into the mainstream so they can claim it’s legit and send us spiraling even further back in time.
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