The Secretary of Energy or the Secretary of Ignorance?

The Secretary of Energy or the Secretary of Ignorance?

It has been widely reported that when accepting the job of Secretary of Energy, former Texas Governor Rick Perry didn’t even realize that the Department of Energy is responsible for the nation’s nuclear arsenal. He thought he was going to be a global ambassador for the oil and gas industry.

And now more ignorance is on display from Secretary Perry, this time related to climate change. He stated on CNBC that carbon dioxide is not the primary driver for climate change, but rather that the changes are caused by “the ocean waters and this environment we live in.” The American Meteorological Society (AMS) responded immediately to say that Mr. Perry lacks a “fundamental understanding of the science” behind climate change, noting that his statement makes it “impossible to discuss potential policy changes in meaningful ways.”

Perry was questioned more about his position in a Senate hearing, and he called himself a “skeptic” saying “I don’t believe it” and “I don’t buy it.” He doesn’t provide an alternate explanation as a true skeptic would do (to say nothing of a testable hypothesis to support that explanation), so I just call him a denier (update: I have expanded on this in a post on the website of the Union of Concerned Scientists). AMS was much more polite in their response, noting in their letter that “skepticism that fails to account for evidence is no virtue.”

Actually, in this instance, it is dangerous.