Just before the second round of questioning at Rick Perry’s Secretary of Energy confirmation hearing today, the moderator announced that Bernie Sanders had arrived with one more quick Q. Observe the amusing look of apprehension on Perry’s face in that moment.
The Hill reports that earlier in the hearing, Perry denied involvement with or support of the questionnaire sent out by Trump’s transition team that asked about scientists researching climate change. “I’m going to protect all of the science,” he said, “whether it’s related to the climate or other aspects of what we’re going to be doing.” But the meaning of “science” wavered throughout the hearing, as some want “economic science” to support their plans to dig for more coal while slashing the DOE’s budget. Perry at least went so far at to admit that climate change is happening, though he said, “I believe some of it is naturally occurring, but some of it is also caused by manmade activity.”
Bernie Sanders opened his questions with one of Rick Perry’s own quotes, citing a statement from 2011 in which Perry said he “does not believe in global warming science” and suggested that the concept of climate change is rooted in scientists seeking financial gain, calling it a “scientific theory that has not been proven.”
Senator Sanders demanded, “Do you still hold the views you expressed in 2011? Do you agree we should transform our energy away from fossil fuels?”
Perry began to state once again that he isn’t willing to say how much of the planet’s warming is man made, but Sanders cut him off, explaining that the majority of scientists agree global warming is caused by the use of fossil fuels and that we must immediately begin using renewable resources to survive. He asked again if Perry will commit to making these changes. Perry called the conversation an academic discussion and an “interesting exercise.”
Sanders’s final question was about nuclear weapons testing, and the terrifying encouragement Trump has given to other countries to accumulate their nuclear arms. He asked Perry is he believes testing nuclear weapons is a dangerous idea.
The short answer is no.