In today’s issue: Savage interviewed EPA administrator Scott Pruitt shortly after President Trump’s announcement Thursday that the U.S. is withdrawing from the Paris climate accord.
Michael Savage: Congratulations on the president’s announcement. It’s a big day for America, is it not?
Scott Pruitt: Michael, it’s a day that the president has put America first. He’s committed to doing that across the board in many areas, and today he did that with respect to international agreements on the environment. It’s a good, good day for our domestic energy production and for American citizens across the country.
Savage: I totally agree, and I’m referring to one piece of science, which is the Vostok ice core samples, which I’ve written about in a previous book of mine, which showed definitively that when the scientists from five nations dug down five miles into the ice in the Antarctic, they saw that there was climate change long before mankind had industrialized. And try to get this information across to people, you can’t do it; it’s almost impossible.
Pruitt: You know, it’s interesting Michael, what Paris really represented was a strategy where the rest of the world applauded while we constrained ourselves economically.
There’s a reason why the European leaders want us in the Paris Accord. It’s because it constrains our economy and puts us at a disadvantage. And, look, we are already leading the world with respect to our CO2 footprint reduction, largely because of American innovation and technology. As you know, hydraulic fracturing, horizontal drilling, allows us to convert natural gas and the generation of electricity, and we’re at pre-1994 levels right now with respect to our CO2 footprint.
In fact, from 2000 to 2014, an 18-plus percent reduction in our carbon emission. So, for the rest of the world to say we should be apologetic about how we balance the environment and growing jobs, it’s just a falsity.
They want us to [do this] because it hurts us, and the president has made a very important decision for this country to say we’re going to put America first.
Savage: Well, I totally agree with it, based on the science. Of course, we all want a cleaner earth, and what you just said indicates we’re still going to be working towards that goal. Isn’t that correct?
Pruitt: Yeah, what’s interesting, Michael, is that the 18 percent reduction, in CO2 emissions from 2000 to 2014, and pre-1994 levels in our CO2 footprint overall, that was accomplished through American innovation and technology, not through government mandate, largely. And, so, that’s what wrong-headed about Washington, D.C., at times. Washington, D.C., wants to pass regulations that put America at a disadvantage.
The Clean Power Plan was an extension, but President Obama’s Clean Power Plan, his Climate Action Agenda, was an extension of Paris. That rule alone was a $292 billion hit for compliance, on this country.
So, the president made a courageous decision today. He exercised fortitude. He said no to the pressures of international leaders. As he said, I got elected by the citizens of Pittsburgh, not the citizens of Paris. Tremendous message to the people of this country, that he’s going to put their interests first as opposed to some European capital.
Savage: But the president said something interesting that I predicted he would say. Although he’s withdrawn from the Paris Accord, he is open to seeking a better deal. I suspected he would try to do that, and that, of course, is the interesting part here. Yes, he’s withdrawing from the Paris climate pact, because it favors other nations at the expense of the American workers, but he said he’s going to renegotiate or negotiate and see if we can make a deal. That’s great, but that’s what I wanted to hear. In other words, why should we always be at a disadvantage, is what I’m saying. Correct?
Pruitt: Correct. That’s right. Look, this doesn’t mean disengagement. What this means is that we’re going to export to the rest of the world, which we’re already doing. We ought to be exporting our technology, hydraulic fracturing, horizontal drilling, clean coal technology, ultra-critical coal generation. We need to export that to the nations across the globe.
The president said something very important. We’ve talked about this. You know, fuel diversity, as it relates to our power grid, is something so essential. As you know, Michael, solid hydrocarbons, coal, can be stored on-site at a utility. So, if you have a disruption, because of an attack on the transportation network or you have peak demand, as he said, 3 or 4 percent growth, if we have that kind of growth, you need all forms of energy: coal, natural gas, hydro, nuclear, across the board, to make sure that our power grid is sufficient to meet our growing economy and our manufacturing base.
The rest of the world is going the other direction. And that’s going to give us an economic advantage.
Savage: Mr. Pruitt, here’s the question that’s plaguing me. The earliest that the U.S. can formally remove itself from the Paris Accord is Nov. 4, 2020. When does the accord actually kick in?
Pruitt: We are able, and the president said today, that the targets that were an extension of Paris, that the commitment, the contributions to the Green Climate Fund, cease now. We’re not going to take steps to comply with those percentages. And that was very important.
Legally, China and India and those countries, they don’t face what we do domestically. They don’t have groups that will potentially sue the U.S. government, the EPA, to say, you have to go regulate to meet your 26 to 28 percent reduction. To say we’re not going to abide by those percentages sends a very clear message that we have latitude to do what’s right for the American people and not be constrained with litigation or through these commitments to the Paris Accord.
Savage: Mr. Pruitt, the statement that the president made that really brought it home for me was when he said China (and India) will be allowed to build hundreds of additional coal plants while we cannot build any new coal plants. … What kind of warped agreement is that?
Pruitt: Yes, and do you know what, Michael, it also said in the same agreement that India would take no steps of reducing their CO2 emissions and they receive $2.5 trillion in aid. Think about that. So, China doesn’t take any steps until 2030. India doesn’t take any steps until they get $2.5 trillion. And what did they say to America? America, you go take steps now. You reduce your carbon footprint now. And that’s what the clean power plant rule represented. That’s what the methane rule represented. All that climate action agenda of the past administration, it impacted our economy. Up to $2.5 trillion is gross domestic product, while the rest of the world did little to nothing. I mean that is just a bad business deal.
And so why would the previous administration go to Paris, be apologetic for what this country has done to reduce its CO2 footprint and then cut a deal that impacts our economy and contracts jobs?
It’s because the past administration had a war on coal. The past administration had a war on fossil fuels. This president recognized it’s not the government’s responsibility.
In fact, it’s an abuse of authority to pick winners and losers in the energy context. We need individuals generating electricity through coal, natural gas, hydro, nuclear, wind power, across the board, and as they do it, do it with a sensitivity to the environment. We can do both growth and protect the environment.
Savage: Much of the science is based upon fake science. You’ve heard about fake news. I have studied the science, or I wouldn’t be talking like this. The Democrats don’t even know what they’re talking about. If you ask Sheldon Whitehouse, who just attacked Trump for saying he’s betraying the county in the service of the Koch brothers, I would say to Sheldon Whitehouse, can you sit down with a pen and show me what carbon looks like as a molecule? Please show it to me, and please explain how come ancient core samples from the Antarctic show there was climate change going on hundreds of thousands of years before man industrialized. He would not have an answer for us, Mr. Pruitt. The science is fake science that they’ve been foisting upon a gullible public.
Pruitt: You know what’s interesting, Michael, there was a great article in the Wall Street Journal, to your point, by Steven Coonan, a scientist at NYU, called “Red team, blue team.” I don’t know if you saw it or not. But he proposed that we should have a red team-blue team approach to CO2. We should have red team scientists and blue team scientists in an open setting, debate, discuss and have an open discussion about what do we know, what don’t we know, and the American people deserve truth,
Savage: Amen to that, because we’ve had no debate whatsoever. All Obama told us was 98 percent of agree. So what? There was a time when 100 percent of scientists said that the earth is flat. Did that make them right?
Pruitt: No, look, the reason there is not consensus through policy in Washington, D.C., is because, truly, the American people don’t trust what has happened in the last several years with respect to regulatory policy and this issue. And the president is taking a very significant step today. To say that we’re not going to continue the process of being hindered by international agreements. We’re going to put America’s interest first. We’re going to have an open discussion about this. We’re going to open to engagement. We’re going to show people what we’ve done in this country to reduce our CO2 footprint. We’re going to export innovation in technology to the rest of the world, just so they can learn from us. That we have nothing to be apologetic about in striking the balance between protecting our environment and growing our jobs. We do it better than anybody in the world, and we must stand strong, and, I think, proud in that regard. The president did a great job today.