Speed Reads


Scott Pruitt used Bret Stephens' New York Times climate op-ed to justify withdrawing from the Paris Agreement

Back in April, The New York Times hired conservative columnist Bret Stephens from The Wall Street Journal as a contributor to its op-ed page. Stephens promptly started a kerfuffle at the Gray Lady when he centered his debut column around climate change; in it, he wrote, "Perhaps if there were less certitude about our climate future, more Americans would be interested in having a reasoned conversation about it."

In his column, titled "Climate of Complete Certainty," Stephens argued that much of the conclusions about climate change that pass "as accepted fact" are in fact "a matter of probabilities." In explaining President Trump's decision to pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate accord, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt on Friday cited Stephens' column:

The New York Times was harshly criticized for surfacing Stephens' climate skepticism — or what The Week's Ryan Cooper referred to as Stephens' "breezy science denial-lite." Public editor Liz Spayd responded by defending the Times for providing readers with a "range of views." But observers were not impressed with Pruitt's use of Stephens' reasoning as a defense for withdrawing from the Paris Agreement; scan through some incredulous responses below. Kimberly Alters