Some of the scientists include the Nobel laureate in chemistry Mario Molina, Harvard University Professor Steven Wofsy and six members of the National Academy of Sciences.
They write, in response to Pruitt’s March 9 statement to CNBC that much disagreement remains on how carbon dioxide factors into global warming:
This statement is incorrect. In fact, we know with an exceptionally high degree of confidence that most of the climate warming over at least the last six decades has been caused by rising levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere due to the burning of fossil fuels and other human activities. Further, we know that if we continue to increase the atmospheric levels of greenhouse gases, the earth will continue to heat up, with serious consequences for economies and ecosystems across the globe.
The letter goes on to describe specific cases of how climate change is changing the world: shrinking glaciers, moving animal and plant ranges, rising sea levels and acidifying oceans. All these result from carbon emissions entering the atmosphere, the scientists write.
They were not the only ones who responded to Pruitt’s recent CNBC interview. The administrator’s office received an influx of calls following his statement, so many that The Washington Post reported officials had to create an “impromptu call center,” which eventually sent callers to a voicemail box that became full.
The current administration has been critical of the science behind climate change with some, including Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, disputing the dangers of carbon emissions.