Democrats to send climate change educational materials to EPA chief Scott Pruitt

EPA chief Scott Pruitt says carbon dioxide is not a primary contributor to global warming

Some congressional Democrats think Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt needs a primer on climate change.

Congressman Earl Blumenauer, whose district includes part of Portland, Oregon, is sending Pruitt a packet of educational materials on climate change after the EPA chief said on CNBC's "Squawk Box" last week that he doesn't believe carbon dioxide is a "primary contributor" to global warming.

Pruitt said more debate, analysis and review is needed on the subject.

That view is at odds with the findings of the agency Pruitt leads, which calls carbon "the primary greenhouse gas that is contributing to recent climate change."

It also contradicts the conclusion of NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which say the rise in the planet's average surface temperature has been "driven largely by increased carbon dioxide and other human-made emissions into the atmosphere."

In response to Pruitt's comment, Rep. Blumenauer and 32 of his colleagues plan to send Pruitt a letter accompanied by "educational materials outlining the basic established science behind climate change," the Oregon congressman's office said in a press release.

The materials include the U.S. Global Change Research Program's Climate Literacy Guide, an educational tool for all ages. The lawmakers will also send information on climate change from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the U.S. Global Change Research Program.

The letter to Pruitt reads, "We saw your comments last week on CNBC's Squawk Box. It's clear that you need to read the enclosed reports. We look forward to hearing from you."

Pruitt's remark drew immediate backlash from Democrats, scientists and environmentalists. The EPA head is a highly divisive figure expected to carry out President Donald Trump's campaign to reduce environmental regulations.

Democrats and environmentalists criticize Pruitt for his history of climate change denial and for waging a legal campaign against President Barack Obama's environmental agenda while serving as Oklahoma attorney general. Conservatives and the energy industry cheer his efforts to roll back what they see as regulatory overreach and place more rule-making power in the hands of states.