The study, published in the prestigious scientific journal Nature, was conducted by eminent climate scientist Benjamin Santer along with a team consisting of seven other scientists from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories, the Massachusetts Institute for Technology, Remote Sensing Systems (RSS, the source of satellite data quoted by Pruitt), and the University of Washington. The study explicitly examined the data to determine the veracity of Pruitt's claim that satellite data show there has been a "leveling off of warming."
The data clearly demonstrate that Scott Pruitt's claim is grossly false.
Satellite temperature measurements do not support the claim of a “leveling off of warming” over the past two decades.Furthermore:
When examined over the full period of record, long-term tropospheric warming far exceeds current estimates of natural internal climate variability. Our results support and strengthen previous findings of a large human-caused contribution to warming.
So why would Scott Pruitt give false statements to Congress (something that seems to have been a trend with this administration's appointees)?
As discussed before, Scott Pruitt in his previous job as Attorney General of the fossil fuel-dependent state of Oklahoma has shown himself to be, to put it gently, a shill for the fossil fuel industry. He routinely sued the EPA, the agency he now heads, to block health and safety protections and anti-pollution measures. Talking points written by fossil fuel lobbyists were copied onto Oklahoma government letterhead and sent out as official policy positions. Release of his emails proved routine and continued collusion with the industry.
As the study notes, the results "support and strengthen previous findings of a large human-caused contribution to warming." The science is very clear on this matter. The vast majority (97% or more) of climate scientists are convinced by multiple lines of unequivocal data that human-caused climate change is happening. The data overwhelmingly demonstrate this fact.
In contrast, no data support Scott Pruitt's assertion. Scientists told him he was making a false claim many times before he repeated the falsehood to Congress. EPA scientists duly documented the fact that his claim was false, which is perhaps why he had the EPA website scrubbed of climate science facts he found inconvenient once he took over the agency he was still in the process of suing.
So where did Pruitt get his claim? From fossil fuel lobbyists, of course. It's their talking point, repeated over and over by dishonest politicians despite no scientific support for it and unequivocal scientific refutation of it. When politicians are this dishonest it presents a grave danger to all Americans.