Energy Secretary Rick Perry on Tuesday called for an intellectual debate on humans' role in climate change, saying he still does not believe the science is settled. NBC reporter Peter Alexander brought up the remarks that Perry, then a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, made in July of 2015, shortly after Trump launched his bid for the White House.
Energy Secretary Rick Perry said Monday the Trump administration is confident officials can "pave the path toward USA energy dominance" by exporting oil, gas and coal to markets around the world, and promoting nuclear energy and even renewables such as wind and solar power.
At an Energy Information Administration (EIA) event this week, Perry said the study was created to address "politically driven policies, driven primarily by a hostility to coal" that he said "threaten the reliability and the stability of the greatest electricity grid in the world". So, I mean, why would we sign on to an agreement that is not holding other people to account, and asking us to give $3 billion?
Despite Trump's withdrawal from the global Paris climate accord, Perry said the US remains committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming.
"The science isn't settled yet".
Skeptics such as George Mitchell resisted "settled science"-including the notion that oil and gas reserves were all but depleted, he said".
"I don't think the administration is going to be wildly supportive of government subsidies for sectors of the energy industry", he said.
Renewable energy should have a place in the energy mix, Perry said, noting that he championed wind energy as governor. He pitched nuclear, and coal, as an important element of national security and grid stability, by exporting those resources and technologies.
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The DOE's study is about the reliability of the electricity grid and whether federal policies to support renewable power have done more harm than good. The study is expected to be released next month.
US presidents have for decades sought to make America energy independent.
In an attempt to defuse the tense moment, Perry described the protester as "one of the more interesting EIA employees", prompting laughter from the audience. Mitchell pioneered the use of hydraulic fracturing technology, leading to the rise of the US shale revolution, Perry said.
The American Petroleum Institute, which represents natural gas producers around the country, is urging the department not to move too quickly, arguing attempts to prop up so-called "baseload" plants like coal and nuclear would not do much to improve reliability.
"We're trying to absorb and digest" what dominance is, she said.
Perry was speaking at the U.S. Energy Information Administration's annual conference, coinciding with the Trump administration's "Energy Week", when he was interrupted by two protestors. Merchant power companies and industry experts have long said that economics favor natural gas.
Yesterday he said that renewables are "proving themselves to be a valuable part of a diverse portfolio".
When asked whether President Donald Trump shares Perry's view on climate change, Perry said, "I have not had that conversation with him".