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Climate Change

Published on December 11th, 2017 | by Joshua S Hill


Scott Pruitt Confirms “Red Team–Blue Team” Climate Exercise Could Launch As Early As January

December 11th, 2017 by  

Scott Pruitt, the deeply mistrusted head of the US Environmental Protection Agency, confirmed in a hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment that his plans to launch a “red team-blue team” exercise on the subject on climate change could reach fruition as early as next month.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt in front of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment

Earlier this year Scott Pruitt, who after many long years suing the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) now leads the EPA, raised the possibility of launching a red team-blue team exercise to debate the issue of climate change. Specifically, in June, Pruitt explained that he believes “the American people deserve, I think, is a true, legitimate, peer-reviewed, objective, transparent discussion about CO2.” Rather than relying on the age-old method of actual peer-reviewed science that has already confirmed global warming is being driven by human-based CO2 emissions, Scott Pruitt’s intention was to launch a “red team-blue team” exercise in which two “teams” — scientific consensus on one side, climate skeptics on the other — debate the current body of climate science, which would really just amount to the red team (the skeptics) trying to poke holes in overwhelming scientific consensus.

Unsurprisingly, Pruitt’s “red team-blue team” suggestion was met with significant controversy and mistrust.

“The process of opposing red and blue teams — the consensus on one side with an equal number of opponents on the other — that Pruitt endorsed again last week might work well to encourage new ideas and test the strength of existing ideas,” said Kelly Levin, a Senior Associate with the World Resources Institute. “Indeed, it has been used by major companies in internal strategic exercises, but it is entirely inappropriate for science. It has no place in determining the science of a changing climate.”

“If Administrator Pruitt, or any other federal official, has questions about climate science — or, for that matter, any other area of policy-relevant science — they already at their disposal have a body to whom they can and should turn for legitimate, peer-reviewed, objective scientific advice,” added Peter Fromhoff Director of Science & Policy at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). “In 1863, the US National Academy of Sciences (NAS) was established by President Abraham Lincoln. The Academy’s charter commits it to provide scientific advice to the federal government “whenever called upon” by any government agency.

There is no need for a red team at the EPA.

However, in his first oversight hearing in front of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment, Scott Pruitt explained that his “red team-blue team exercise” might start as soon as January. “Beginning part of next year at the latest,” Pruitt told the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment during the hearing. “That would be a process that would be focused on an objective, transparent, public review of questions and answers around the issues around carbon dioxide.”

Scott Pruitt’s belief that there hasn’t already been “an objective, transparent, public review of questions and answers around the issues around carbon dioxide” is deeply unsettling, as it pits an insignificant minority of critics and skeptics against scientific consensus, and elevates the debate to two sides on equal footings.

This is simply not the case.

“Scott Pruitt’s call for a ‘Red Team, Blue Team’ debate on climate change is a farce and a distraction,” said Peter Frumhoff from the UCS after Pruitt’s hearing. “If he has questions about climate science, he should turn to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, not hacks from the Heartland Institute.”

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About the Author

I'm a Christian, a nerd, a geek, and I believe that we're pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I also write for Fantasy Book Review (.co.uk), and can be found writing articles for a variety of other sites. Check me out at about.me for more.

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