Trump’s interior secretary: I haven’t ‘lost sleep’ over record CO2 levels

david bernhardt, a former oil and gas lobbyist, has been criticized for his decisions favoring the industry
David Bernhardt, a former oil and gas lobbyist, has been criticized for his decisions favoring the industry. Photograph: Aaron P Bernstein/Reuters

Last week the Mauna Loa Observatory observed the highest levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere ever documented

— Donald Trump’s interior secretary hasn’t “lost sleep over”, the record-breaking levels of pollution heating the planet, he told US lawmakers in an oversight hearing.

The Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii observed carbon dioxide levels of 415 parts per million in the atmosphere on Friday – the highest ever documented.

Asked to rank his concern on a scale of 1 to 10, by the Pennsylvania Democratic congressman Matt Cartwright, David Bernhardt pointed to US climate progress.

“I believe the United States is number 1 in terms of decreasing CO2,” Bernhardt said.

Pushed to give a number, Bernhardt said: “I haven’t lost any sleep over it.”

The US has put more carbon pollution into the atmosphere than any other nation in history. China is currently the biggest emitter, and the US ranks second. Carbon emissions in the US actually increased last year.

The Trump administration has rolled back many of the Obama-era efforts to limit heat-trapping pollution and many Trump officials have questioned the severity of climate change and whether it is caused by human actions. Scientists agree that humans are the dominant cause of rising temperatures, including the fossil fuels they burn to drive vehicles and run power plants. A recent international science report warned that climate change threatens humans and a million other species.

Bernhardt, a former oil and gas lobbyist, has been criticized for his decisions favoring industry.

At the hearing on Wednesday, an activist in a “Swamp Thing” mask was in full view several rows behind him.

Trump vowed to “drain the swamp” if he was elected president, but has appointed multiple former industry representatives to run his agencies.


by Emily Holden | The Guardian

 

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