Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Energy Secretary Rick Perry Supports Paris Climate Agreement, but Wants to Tweak It

Perry delivered a fiery speech in support of Trump’s rollback of the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan last month (Credit: Carlos Barria / Reuters) Click to Enlarge.
Energy Secretary Rick Perry supports remaining in the Paris climate agreement, but wants the United States to renegotiate its terms, he said Tuesday.

That puts him on one side of a schism forming within President Donald Trump’s White House over how to handle the historic 195-country deal to slash emissions of greenhouse gases that cause global warming.  Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, first daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband, senior adviser Jared Kushner, support remaining in the agreement; chief strategist Steve Bannon and Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt ― two of the more radical, far-right voices in the White House ― want Trump to fulfill his campaign promise to exit the agreement.

Perry, in a Tuesday morning speech at the Bloomberg New Energy Finance conference, tempered his view.  He touted decreasing emissions last year in the U.S. and China ― the world’s top polluters ― and criticized European countries, such as Germany, for not doing enough to shrink their own carbon footprint.

“There’s a lot of cheerleading the Paris accord and keeping the United States involved in that,” Perry said.  “But the two countries that are making the real impact on emissions are the U.S. and China.  So, I’m looking over at my friends in Germany and France going, ‘What are you all doing?’”

It’s true that German emissions rose by 0.7 percent last year, driven largely by an increase in vehicles on the road and the continued use of coal to generate about 40 percent of the country’s electricity.  The numbers stand in stark contrast to Germany’s hard-line policy supporting renewable energy, which now produces 30 percent of its electricity.  The country plans to shutter all its nuclear power plants by 2022 as part of its energiewende, or energy transition, policy.

“You have Germany, for instance, who has made the decision to go away from coal, to get out of the nuclear business, to double down, to hear them tell it, on renewables,” Perry said.  “But the fact is their emissions have gone up because they’re using more coal, and they’re using coal that is not clean technology.”

“My point is, don’t sign an agreement and then expect us to stay in an agreement if you’re not going to really participate and be part of it,” he added.  “The United States has taken actions to affect in a positive way. I’m not going to tell the president of the United States, ‘Let’s just walk away from the Paris accord,’ but we probably need to renegotiate it and they need to get serious about it.”

Read more at Energy Secretary Rick Perry Supports Paris Climate Agreement, but Wants to Tweak It

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