“I think that measuring with precision human activity on the climate is something very challenging to do and there’s tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact, so no, I would not agree that it’s a primary contributor to the global warming that we see”
Scott Pruitt, Head US Environmental Protection Agency
This is an awesome quote on so many levels.
Like all good quotes, there are truths. Measuring with precision is indeed challenging and the impact of human activity on climate is, without doubt, a source of disagreement.
Then there is an opinion. And you would expect the Head of the EPA to have one, just maybe not one that is opposite to the official view of the agency he leads.
There is also a subtle admission; “the global warming that we see”. Lucky he put that in before some of the biggest storms on record. It’s also an admission somewhat at odds with the rest of the quote. Presumably, you are supposed to look past that inconsistency.
So here is a question to think about.
At what point should a public servant talk up his personal view or that of his immediate political masters over the official policy setting?
If public servants simply disregarded the current policy it makes a mockery of the democratic process. Those elected to create policy rely on the system to implement whatever they decide in good faith. And those who elect their representatives expect the system to work too.
This means public servants tasked with designing and delivering workable policy should get on with it even as the politics dances around them. They should stand firm and deliver the flavour of the day.
So to be fair to Mr Pruitt his frame is a new policy and not that of the previous administration.
And then there is the reality.
Here are some Alloporus thoughts on climate change