Energy chief: Carbon dioxide not prime driver of warming

June 19, 2017 by Matthew Daly

Energy Secretary Rick Perry said Monday he does not believe carbon dioxide is a primary contributor to global warming, a statement at odds with mainstream scientific consensus but in line with the head of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Asked on CNBC's "Squawk Box" whether carbon emissions are primarily responsible for climate change, Perry said no, adding that "most likely the primary control knob is the ocean waters and this environment that we live in."

Perry's view is contrary to mainstream climate science, including analyses by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The EPA under President Donald Trump recently removed a web page that declared "carbon dioxide is the primary greenhouse gas that is contributing to recent climate change."

Taking down the web page came after EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, appearing on "Squawk Box" in March, said "there's tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact" of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases on the planet.

"So, no, I would not agree that (carbon dioxide) is a primary contributor to the global warming that we see," Pruitt said.

The Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, organized by the United Nations, calls carbon dioxide the biggest heat trapping force, responsible for about 33 times more added warming than natural causes.

The panel's calculations mean carbon dioxide alone accounts for between 1 and 3 degrees warming, said MIT atmospheric scientist Kerry Emanuel.

Perry, like Pruitt, rejected the scientific consensus on climate change.

"This idea that science is just absolutely settled and if you don't believe it's settled then you're somehow another Neanderthal, that is so inappropriate from my perspective," he said.

Being a skeptic about climate change issues is "quite all right," Perry added, saying skepticism is a sign of being a "wise, intellectually engaged person."

Recently, The Associated Press sent Pruitt's comments to numerous scientists who study climate. All seven climate scientists who responded said Pruitt was wrong and that carbon dioxide is the primary driver of global warming.

Perry, in his TV appearance Monday, said there should not be a debate about whether the climate is changing or if humans have an effect on the climate. Instead, he said the debate should be on "what are the policy changes that we need to make to affect that?"

Shaye Wolf, climate science director at the Center for Biological Diversity, said Perry "has the science exactly backward."

Far from being a key cause of climate change, "the world's oceans are actually another victim of greenhouse pollution," Wolf said. "Our oceans absorb millions of tons of carbon dioxide a day, making them dangerously acidic."

Warming oceans also put "tremendous stress on marine life," Wolf said.

NASA and NOAA reported in January that earth's 2016 temperatures were the warmest ever. The planet's average surface temperature has risen about 2 degrees Fahrenheit since the late 19th century, "a change driven largely by increased carbon dioxide and other human-made emissions into the atmosphere," the agencies said in a joint statement.

Earlier this month, Trump announced he will withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord. The agreement signed by 195 nations in 2015 aims to decrease global carbon emissions in an effort to head off the worst predicted effects of global warming, including worsening storms, catastrophic droughts and city-drowning sea level rise.

The Trump administration has also moved to roll back or delay numerous rules approved by the Obama administration to cut pollution from mining operations, oil and gas wells and coal-fired power plants.

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6 comments

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rderkis
1 / 5 (4) Jun 19, 2017
They must be crazy! Scientists are NEVER wrong! Scientific theories are NEVER wrong!
And more importantly, we commenters are NEVER wrong!
rderkis
3 / 5 (5) Jun 19, 2017
Don't get me wrong! I believe that the co2 levels caused by humans is the primary reason for global warming. But unlike most the other commenters on here that have NEVER been wrong, I have been wrong before.
Caliban
not rated yet Jun 28, 2017
"This idea that science is just absolutely settled and if you don't believe it's settled then you're somehow another Neanderthal, that is so inappropriate from my perspective," he said.

One can certainly understand how Mr. Perry would feel this sentiment, since he self-admittedly identifies himself as as a Neanderthal that believes that the science supporting AGW is not settled.

This is the kind of doublespeak one can expect from a partisan neoliberal ideologue like Rick Perry. And Scott Pruitt. Neither of which has even a whiff of scientific literacy about them, much less a degree. Same goes for the rest of the current carpetbagger cabinet and the Administration.

Holding the office doesn't mean that the duties and responsibilities of the office are taken seriously, any more than holding the office makes one worthy of the office. Why would criminals, jackasses, and criminal jackasses --with zero respect for their own offices-- have any respect for Science?


Caliban
not rated yet Jun 28, 2017
Don't get me wrong! I believe that the co2 levels caused by humans is the primary reason for global warming. But unlike most the other commenters on here that have NEVER been wrong, I have been wrong before.


Right you are, @derkaderka!

But now you've really put your foot in it, since you've gone on record stating that human-caused CO2 emissions are the primary reason for AGW.

So from now on, further attempts to nitpick the findings will appear as obviously agenda-driven obfuscation and chicanery.

rderkis
1 / 5 (1) Jun 28, 2017
Wow, why are some people so dumb? I have told Caliban that I have muted/ignored him because he is a troll, over and over, but he just doesn't get it.

He is not even smart enough to see what happens when you ignore someone on here. You can see they posted something but theIr comment is not visible. Now since he posted right after me and the fact he is a troll makes me believe(in spite of the fact I have told him I am ignoring him) that he is directing a troll remark at me, which I don't read. :-)
Talk to my hand TROLL!
Caliban
not rated yet Jun 30, 2017
Wow, why are some people so dumb? I have told Caliban that I have muted/ignored him because he is a troll, over and over, but he just doesn't get it.

He is not even smart enough to see what happens when you ignore someone on here. You can see they posted something but theIr comment is not visible. Now since he posted right after me and the fact he is a troll makes me believe(in spite of the fact I have told him I am ignoring him) that he is directing a troll remark at me, which I don't read. :-)
Talk to my hand TROLL!


Blocking out reality is an excellent way to avoid criticism, derkaderka, but it doesn't make reality go away or prevent that same criticism from hitting the mark.

Since I don't have any intention of conversing with your hand, I recommend, instead, that you use it to address those livid carbuncles which have taken up residence upon your striped troll backside.

Ignore away!

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