‘Sound science will lead US energy decisions’

President Donald Trump’s pick for Energy Secretary has said he will base energy decisions on “sound science”. Rick Perry, former Texas Governor and climate change sceptic, has said he will protect scientists and […]

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By Jonny Bairstow

President Donald Trump’s pick for Energy Secretary has said he will base energy decisions on “sound science”.

Rick Perry, former Texas Governor and climate change sceptic, has said he will protect scientists and their work at the Department of Energy (DoE) if he is confirmed as its new leader.

He recently blocked a questionnaire from the Trump transition team to find out which scientists were working on climate change issues.

Speaking to a Senate committee, he said: “I am going to protect all of the science, whether it’s related to the climate or other aspects of what we’re going to be doing.

“I am going to protect the men and women of the scientific community from anyone that would attack them, no matter what their reason may be, at the DoE.”

His words contrast his calls to abolish the agency in 2012 and says he has changed his mind since learning more about the work carried out by the department.

Some commentators have voiced fears regarding his lack of experience and knowledge of the sector as well as his controversial opinions about climate change.

Mr Perry added: “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.”

Perry cited his own record as Governor of Texas from 2000 to 2015, a period in which the state led American expansion of wind energy. He said that as energy secretary he would advocate for all forms of energy, including renewables.

President Trump has named Rex Tillerson, the CEO of ExxonMobil, as his Secretary of State and has also picked Scott Pruitt to lead the Environmental Protection Agency.

The Trump administration has confirmed its intentions to reverse Barack Obama’s climate change policies and support fracking.