Rick Perry, who wanted to axe the Department of Energy he now leads, just publicly rejected the overwhelming scientific consensus that carbon dioxide emissions are “the primary knob” for the temperature of the earth.
In an interview on CNBC’s Squawk Box, Perry rejected the notion that carbon dioxide is the primary contributor to global climate change. Instead, he suggested, “most likely the primary control knob is the ocean waters and this environment that we live in.”
Is this really the guy we have leading the Energy Department?
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 affect that? … This idea that science is just absolutely settled and if you don’t believe it’s settled then somehow you’re another neanderthal, that is so inappropriate from my perspective.
Conservative apologetics aside, Perry went even further, excusing climate change denial and falsely calling it “skepticism.” While questioning ideas is important, that doesn’t mean all questions are good ones. Perry added, however, that that mentality was representative of a “wise, intellectually engaged person.”
Perry’s ill-informed comments on the causes of climate change mirror those made by Scott Pruitt, the Environmental Protection Agency administrator in March on the same show. Both men express a view that is at odds with NASA, the EPA’s previous studies, and the scientific community in general.
Pruitt’s and Perry’s denial that humanity is a main contributor to climate change doesn’t fit the current scientific evidence, but it perfectly coincides with other statements made by fundamentalist Christians who find themselves in political power. Most recently, Republican Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI) endorsed the (incredibly flawed) idea that we shouldn’t address climate change concerns and should instead leave the problem in God’s hands.
As a Christian, I believe that there is a creator in God who is much bigger than us… And I’m confident that, if there’s a real problem, he can take care of it.
According to polls on the subject, climate change denialism is actually a pretty common occurrence among conservative evangelicals. So, it’s not all that surprising that Perry would say this, considering his overt Christianity and aversion to science.
Nearly all evangelicals — 88 percent, according to the Pew Research Center on Religion & Public Life — believe in miracles, suggesting a faith in a proactive God. And only 28 percent of evangelicals believe human activity is causing climate change. Confidence that God will intervene to prevent people from destroying the world is one of the strongest barriers to gaining conservative evangelical support for environmental pacts like the Paris agreement.
What we are seeing here is a complete rejection of scientific facts by the Trump Administration and Republican lawmakers in general, and if these ridiculous ideas ever become policy, they could destroy a lot of the work we’ve done to limit our effects on the climate. The fact is that we must do what we can to protect our only environment, because the gods won’t do it for us, and this type of rhetoric gets in the way of that important work.
Give it time and Perry will ask us all to pray to fix climate issues.
(Screenshot via YouTube)