Energy Secretary Rick Perry denies climate science, says he’s not a ‘neanderthal’

Smiling puppy Rick Perry’s appointment as energy secretary was bound to be a cynical joke, even if the former presidential candidate didn’t once forgot the department’s name after pledging to abolish it. As governor of Texas, Perry spent 14 years denying global warming and hiring climate skeptics to regulate the state’s energy sector. Fresh off the Trump administration’s rejection of the Paris Agreement, Perry affirmed his resistance to confronting scientific consensus Monday on CNBC.

“Do you believe C02 is the primary control knob for the temperature of the earth and for climate?” Joe Kernen asked.

Perry responded with a quick science lesson he learned from a cashier at the Baptist Pastor Uniform Supply Depot where he purchased his smart guy glasses:

No, most likely the primary control knob is the ocean waters and this environment that we live in. The fact is this shouldn’t be a debate about, ‘Is the climate changing, is man having an effect on it?’ Yeah, we are. The question should be just how much, and what are the policy changes that we need to make to effect that?

Right, climate is controlled by “ocean waters and this environment we live in,” a formulation that literally includes every environmental variable that could possibly influence rapid climate change. This is like answering the question, “Do you like mustard on your sandwich?” with “No, I only like condiments that people put on sandwiches.” Technically, Perry is inadvertenly endorsing the belief that CO2 is the leading greenhouse gas accelerating global warming, if only because greenhouse gases are part of “this environment we live in.” So good job, I guess.

Perry continued by calling out haters and defending the legitimacy of rejecting conclusions by NASA, the EPA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and you know, basically every other fucking scientist, that greenhouse gas emissions are driving the rise of global temperatures.

This idea that science is just absolutely settled and if you don’t believe it’s settled then you’re somehow or another a neanderthal, that is so inappropriate from my perspective. I think if you’re gonna be a wise intellectually engaged person, being a skeptic about some of these issues is quite alright.

You heard it here from wise intellectually engaged person Rick Perry: No, he’s not a neanderthal. Did neanderthals wear bifocals? I didn’t think so.

“Are we gonna continue to have innovation that helps effect in a possible way our environment? Absolutely,” the energy secretary added. “I’m excited what we’re gonna see coming out of our national labs, coming out of the private sector.”

The New York Times reported Friday that the Energy Department is closing the Office of International Climate and Technology, an 11-person office that works with other countries to develop clean energy technology.

You can watch Perry’s full interview below.

<script>

[Screenshot: CNBC]