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"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", EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt told CNBC from Houston, where he is attending an energy conference. Other federal agencies, including NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, have maintained humans' responsibility for climate change and its growing impact on the planet. They were carrying the oil and gas industry's water to give the impression that it was not the industry, but the people of Texas and the other states who didn't want the agency to write methane standards for the oil and gas industry. There's consensus among scientists that human activities like fossil fuel consumption cause these problems; in fact, NASA stated that at least 97 percent of "actively publishing" climate scientists agree that "climate-warming trends" are due to human actions.

He also previously expressed doubt over the science proving climate change, co-penning a National Review column earlier this year in which he said such science is "far from settled".

The former attorney general of oil-rich Oklahoma, Pruitt has always been a climate change skeptic, repeatedly challenging in court efforts by Obama to rein in carbon emissions. "Now more than ever, the Senate needs to stand up to Scott Pruitt and his unsafe views", he said in a statement.

Host Joe Kernen asked Pruitt, "Do you believe that it's been proven that Carbon dioxide is the primary control knob for climate?"-a fact that has been established by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration".

The shifts were small, but meaningful; many said they signaled a new era for the EPA, one in which the agency would shy away from directly linking carbon emissions to global warming and strive to push Trump's "America First" message. "Human influence has been detected in warming of the atmosphere and the ocean, in changes in the global water cycle, in reductions in snow and ice, in global mean sea level rise, and in changes in some climate extremes", the summary says.

The Obama EPA issued the endangerment finding in December 2009 as a threshold determination to the agency commencing the regulation of greenhouse gases as "air pollutants".

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Environmental groups pounced following Pruitt's comments. When Bernie Sanders asked him what caused global warming, Pruitt said Carbon dioxide from human activity "impacted", rather than "caused" climate change.

Those comments come as President Donald Trump weighs whether to pull the United States from the Paris agreement on climate change, a landmark 2015 deal in which the leaders of close to 200 countries agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the decades to come. "The legislative branch has not addressed this issue at all", Mr Pruitt said.

"Senator, I believe that the administrator has a very important role to perform in regulating CO2", Pruitt responded to Sanders at his confirmation hearing.

In addition to the procedural rulemaking problems associated with the Obama EPA endangerment finding, there are climatic factual realities and new science that also beg to be reconsidered - including the overlooked benefits of atmospheric carbon dioxide.

When Trump nominated Pruitt to lead the EPA, he was, as Oklama's attorney general, suing the agency.