SANTA CRUZ PROVINCE, ARGENTINA - NOVEMBER 27:  Ice calves at the Perito Moreno glacier in Los Glaciares National Park, part of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, the third largest ice field in the world, on November 27, 2015 in Santa Cruz Province, Argentina. The majority of the almost 50 large glaciers in Los Glacieres National Park have been retreating during the past fifty years due to warming temperatures, according to the European Space Agency (ESA). The United States Geological Survey (USGS) reports that over 68 percent of the world
PHOTO: Mario Tama/Getty Images South America/Getty Images
SANTA CRUZ PROVINCE, ARGENTINA - NOVEMBER 27: Ice calves at the Perito Moreno glacier in Los Glaciares National Park, part of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, the third largest ice field in the world, on November 27, 2015 in Santa Cruz Province, Argentina. The majority of the almost 50 large glaciers in Los Glacieres National Park have been retreating during the past fifty years due to warming temperatures, according to the European Space Agency (ESA). The United States Geological Survey (USGS) reports that over 68 percent of the world's freshwater supplies are locked in ice caps and glaciers. The United Nations climate change conference begins November 30 in Paris. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
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PHOTO: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt testifies about the fiscal year 2018 budget during a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, June 27, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
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EAST CHICAGO, IN - APRIL 19:  U.S. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt makes a statement to the media after meeting residents from and taking a brief tour of the West Calumet Housing Complex on April 19, 2017 in East Chicago, Indiana.  Nearly all the residents of the complex were ordered to move by the East Chicago Housing Authority after the soil and many homes in the complex were found to contain high levels of lead. The area has been declared an EPA superfund site. This was Pruitt
PHOTO: Scott Olson/Getty Images
EAST CHICAGO, IN - APRIL 19: U.S. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt makes a statement to the media after meeting residents from and taking a brief tour of the West Calumet Housing Complex on April 19, 2017 in East Chicago, Indiana. Nearly all the residents of the complex were ordered to move by the East Chicago Housing Authority after the soil and many homes in the complex were found to contain high levels of lead. The area has been declared an EPA superfund site. This was Pruitt's first visit to a superfund site since being named the agency's administrator. The complex is scheduled for demolition. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
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EAST CHICAGO, IN - APRIL 19:  U.S. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt makes a statement to the media after meeting residents from and taking a brief tour of the West Calumet Housing Complex on April 19, 2017 in East Chicago, Indiana.  Nearly all the residents of the complex were ordered to move by the East Chicago Housing Authority after the soil and many homes in the complex were found to contain high levels of lead. The area has been declared an EPA superfund site. This was Pruitt
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EAST CHICAGO, IN - APRIL 19: U.S. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt makes a statement to the media after meeting residents from and taking a brief tour of the West Calumet Housing Complex on April 19, 2017 in East Chicago, Indiana. Nearly all the residents of the complex were ordered to move by the East Chicago Housing Authority after the soil and many homes in the complex were found to contain high levels of lead. The area has been declared an EPA superfund site. This was Pruitt's first visit to a superfund site since being named the agency's administrator. The complex is scheduled for demolition. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
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In this May 16, 2018, photo, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt appears before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee on the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies on budget on Capitol Hill in Washington. Pruitt claimed credit for pollution cleanups done mostly by the Obama administration while flubbing facts about his 2017 condo deal and blaming underlings for his ethical woes. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
PHOTO: Andrew Harnik/AP
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WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 16:  EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, testifies during a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill, May 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. The Subcommittee is hearing testimony on the proposed budget estimates for FY2019 for the Environmental Protection Agency.  (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Mark Wilson/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 16: EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, testifies during a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill, May 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. The Subcommittee is hearing testimony on the proposed budget estimates for FY2019 for the Environmental Protection Agency. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
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PHOTO: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt testifies about the fiscal year 2018 budget during a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, June 27, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
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WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 7:  Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt testifies before the House Energy and Commerce Committee about the mission of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on December 7, 2017 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Pete Marovich/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Pete Marovich/Getty Images/FILE
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 7: Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt testifies before the House Energy and Commerce Committee about the mission of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on December 7, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Pete Marovich/Getty Images)
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EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt testifies before the House Appropriations Committee during a hearing on the 2019 Fiscal Year EPA budget at the Capitol on April 26, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Alex Edelman/Getty Images)
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 Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt testifies before the House Energy and Commerce Committee
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WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 17:  Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt leaves after he spoke at an event November 17, 2017 in Washington, DC. Pruitt addressed The Federalist Society
PHOTO: Alex Wong/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 17: Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt leaves after he spoke at an event November 17, 2017 in Washington, DC. Pruitt addressed The Federalist Society's 2017 National Lawyers Convention at the Mayflower Hotel. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
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Republicans wants answers from EPA chief
(CNN) —  

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt suggested Tuesday that climate change could benefit humans, despite scientific evidence to the contrary.

In an interview with KSNV in Las Vegas, Pruitt conceded that climate change is a reality and humans have contributed to it “to a certain degree.” However, the EPA administrator cast doubt on its negative long-term implications.

“Is it an existential threat? Is it something that is unsustainable, or what kind of effect or harm is this going to have? I mean, we know that humans have most flourished during times of what? Warming trends,” Pruitt said. “I think there’s assumptions made that because the climate is warming, that that necessarily is a bad thing. Do we really know what the ideal surface temperature should be in the year 2100? In the year 2018? I mean it’s fairly arrogant for us to think that we know exactly what it should be in 2100.”

The current scientific consensus, according to NASA, is that humans are the primary drivers of climate-warming trends, and that it is “proceeding at a rate unprecedented over decades to millennia.” Some of the long-term effects of climate change include a continuing increase in global temperatures, more droughts and heatwaves, stronger and more intense hurricanes, and rising sea levels.

According to the US Global Change Research Program’s National Climate Assessment, “climate change presents a global public health problem, with serious health impacts predicted to manifest in varying ways in different parts of the world.”

“Public health in the US can be affected by disruptions of physical, biological, and ecological systems,” the report explains. “Health effects of these disruptions include increased respiratory and cardiovascular disease, injuries and premature deaths related to extreme weather events, changes in the prevalence and geographical distribution of food- and waterborne illnesses and other infectious diseases, and threats to mental health.”

The US has seen a stark shift in its approach to climate change under the Trump administration and at the EPA under Pruitt’s leadership. Pruitt has shied away from robust action on climate change, and the phrase “climate change” was not included in the agency’s four-year plan.