Al Gore says EPA head Pruitt’s carbon dioxide claims are ‘obviously false’

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Former Vice President Al Gore speaks with Judy Woodruff in the PBS NewsHour studio Monday, March 13, 2017. Photo by Abbey Oldham.

Former Vice President Al Gore slammed new EPA chief Scott Pruitt on Monday for his claim last week that carbon emissions aren’t the primary cause of global warming.

“It’s an obviously false assertion,” Gore told PBS NewsHour’s Judy Woodruff, adding that Pruitt’s claim was a “perfect example” of the debate over fake news and facts that erupted after Donald Trump’s election last November.

Pruitt said in a CNBC interview last Thursday that it was “very challenging” to determine the impact carbon dioxide emissions have on climate change. “I would not agree that it’s a primary contributor to the global warming that we see,” Pruitt said.

Pruitt, a Republican who sued the Environmental Protection Agency when he served as Oklahoma’s attorney general, has dismissed the link between human activity and global warming. He took over at EPA last month despite facing intense opposition from many Democrats and environmental groups on the left.

Gore also singled out President Trump for “putting someone in the EPA who denies even the most basic scientific truth about this.”

The former vice president — who won a Nobel Peace Prize for his work calling attention to global warming — is back in the spotlight to promote a new edition of his 2007 book, The Assault on Reason. The updated version includes a new preface and conclusion on partisanship, fake news and Trump’s victory last November.

In his broad-ranging interview with the NewsHour, Gore also took aim at the House Republican health care bill and the media’s coverage of Trump during the 2016 election:

  • Gore argued the House GOP’s plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act would “deny people health care.” The Congressional Budget Office on Monday estimated that the bill would cause millions of Americans to lose their health coverage over the next decade. Republicans backing the plan argue it would produce hundreds of billions in savings, increase access and reduce health care costs over time.
  • The country has become “so vulnerable to the assertion of blatant falsehoods that drive policy” on issues like health care and foreign affairs, Gore said.
  • Gore still isn’t sure what to make of Trump’s rise. “I think like a lot of people, I’m still trying to figure out exactly what he represents in American politics,” Gore said. He added that Trump’s election represents “a challenge for our democracy.”
  • The former vice president took issue with the news coverage of Trump during the 2016 campaign. “The line between news and entertainment has almost dissolved,” Gore said.
  • “When you talk about President Trump the cable networks turned over so many hours of prime time” during the campaign, Gore said. “Why? Because he was entertaining. But also because he drove ratings.”

Watch the full interview with Gore tonight on the PBS NewsHour.

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