DOE Nominee Rick Perry: I Believe Some Climate Change 'Caused by Manmade Activity’

By Melanie Arter | January 19, 2017 | 3:46 PM EST

Energy Secretary nominee Rick Perry (AP Photo)

( – Energy Secretary nominee Rick Perry said Thursday that he believes the climate is changing and “some of it is caused by manmade activity,” but he said the question remains “how we address it” in a way that doesn’t compromise economic growth or affect U.S. jobs.

“I believe the climate is changing. I believe some of it is naturally occurring, but some of it is caused by manmade activity. The question is how we address it in a thoughtful way that doesn’t compromise economic growth, it affects the affordability of energy or American jobs,” Perry said.


In his opening statement before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Perry also walked back comments he made while running for president that he wanted to abolish the Energy Department, adding that he regrets that recommendation.

“My past statements made over five years ago about abolishing the Department of Energy do not reflect my current thinking. In fact, after being briefed on so many of the vital functions of the Department of Energy, I regret recommending its elimination,” he said.

“If confirmed, I will enter this role excited and passionate about educating and advancing the core missions of DOE, drawing greater attention to the vital role played by the agency and the hard-working men and women who dedicate themselves in pursuit of these missions,” Perry added.

Perry pointed to his home state of Texas and its efforts to address climate change and other environmental issues.

“In Texas, we’ve got a record of taking action to address environmental challenges including climate change, and despite this fast-growing population – and I might add one of the largest petrochemical refining industries - we saw our climate and our air improve during that period of time,” he said.

“We reduced carbon output by 17 percent, sulfur dioxide by 56 percent, nitrogen oxide by 66 percent. We decommissioned 137 of these older dirty burning plants, senator, I mean, we did it by using incentives to move to new technology and clean technology, such as clean coal and carbon capture and underground storage,” Perry said.

“In Houston, there’s a billion dollar Petra Nova plant that’s gonna be opening soon using carbon capture sequestration. We’re also using that carbon that’s then injected into wells for secondary and tertiary recovery operations,” he said.

Perry also explained that he signed into law efforts “to retrofit some 15,000 engines under the Texas Emissions Reduction Plan, and we provided incentives for energy efficiencies.”

“Our willingness to develop natural gas and tap shale formations have helped not only Texas to reduce its carbon footprint, but other states and Mexico as well, but we truly advocated an all-of-the-above strategy reducing carbon emissions, not just through development of cleaner fossil fuels, but through the development of renewable resources as well,” Perry said.

Perry also noted that while governor, his state “took the national lead in wind energy development” and now produces more wind than five countries.

“When it comes to climate change, I’m committed to making decisions based on sound science but also take into account the economic impact. We need an energy policy for the 21st century that is focused on promoting American energy in all forms. I am committed to working with this committee and the incoming administration to do just that. Senators, this is an historic time for America and for the energy sector, and I would be honored to be a part of that,” Perry concluded.