NPR: EPA Chief Scott Pruitt Questions Basic Facts About Climate Change

President Trump's head of the Environmental Protection Agency says he does not believe that carbon dioxide is a major cause of global warming.

"I would not agree that [CO2] is a primary contributor to the global warming that we see," Scott Pruitt said Thursday in an interview with CNBC's Joe Kernen.

"I believe 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," Pruitt said.

Those statements are at odds with an overwhelming body of scientific evidence showing that humans are causing the climate to warm by releasing CO2 into the atmosphere. The view that CO2 is a major heat-trapping gas is supported by reams of data, included data collected by government agencies such as NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

E&E News: The Clean Power Plan Is Gone -- and There's no 'Replace'

The White House intends to unravel the Clean Power Plan without providing a replacement, according to a source briefed on the issue.

An executive order expected to be released next week also instructs the Justice Department to effectively withdraw its legal defense of the climate rule in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The move aligns the White House with about two dozen Republican state attorneys general who are challenging the way the rule restricts greenhouse gas emissions at power plants.

The result, if successful, would mean the case is "frozen in place," the source said, preventing the D.C. Circuit, which has six judges appointed by Democrats and four by Republicans, from issuing an opinion this spring. Other legal experts say the case could continue if states or other groups go on defending the rule.

InsideClimate News: What Slashing the EPA's Budget by One-Quarter Would Really Mean

The Trump administration's proposed slashing of the Environmental Protection Agency's budget threatens to reduce the agency's resources to levels not seen since its formative days, long before demands from Congress and the public expanded the scope of the agency's missions.

Spending reductions of nearly 25 percent and layoffs of thousands of employees have been floated. Climate-change-related programs have been targeted for outright elimination. But that's also enough to cripple some of the agency's core activities, according to experienced agency veterans and outside experts.

Already, the EPA's budget has been cut 7 percent and the agency has lost about 2,000 full-time employees in about five years. The White House budget plan would slash the agency to 12,000 people -- setting the agency back to staffing levels of the late Reagan administration. EPA's funding would fall $2 billion to $6.1 billion. When inflation is taken into account, that would be its lowest point since the Ford administration.

PBS: What Fax Machines Can Teach Us About Electric Cars

Imagine if you could gas up your GM car only at GM gas stations. Or if you had to find a gas station servicing cars made from 2005 to 2012 to fill up your 2011 vehicle. It would be inconvenient and frustrating, right? This is the problem electric vehicle owners face every day when trying to recharge their cars. The industry’s failure, so far, to create a universal charging system demonstrates why setting standards is so important -- and so difficult.

When done right, standards can both be invisible and make our lives immeasurably easier and simpler. Any brand of toaster can plug into any electric outlet. Pulling up to a gas station, you can be confident that the pump’s filler gun will fit into your car’s fuel-tank opening. When there are competing standards, users become afraid of choosing an obsolete or “losing” technology.

Bloomberg: BMW's Profitability Hits Lowest Since 2010 Amid Tech Rivalry

BMW AG reported its weakest profitability since 2010, capping a negative year for Chief Executive Officer Harald Krueger after the luxury-car marque lost its crown to arch-rival Mercedes-Benz.

Amid higher spending on battery-powered and autonomous-driving technologies, BMW’s automotive profit margin narrowed to 8.9 percent in 2016 from 9.2 percent a year earlier, according to a statement on Thursday. The shares fell as much as 4.2 percent, the most in four months.

“We are fully focused on implementing our strategy,” which involves pivoting to self-driving, electric vehicles, Krueger said in the statement. “From 2019 onward, we will be firmly embedding all-electric, battery-powered mobility in our core brands.”