DALLAS – Energy Secretary Rick Perry said at an Earth Day Texas event on Friday that the Paris agreement was “not just a document that a bunch of folks got together and signed,” signalling the Trump administration’s continued division on the landmark climate deal.
President Donald Trump — who has called climate change a “hoax” — said on the campaign trail that he would cancel the deal.
But his administration has discovered that the diplomatic and political ramifications of stepping away from the 196-country accord could be too costly.
Speaking on Friday, Perry touted the environmental progress Texas achieved under his 14 years as governor, arguing that it was possible to do without “over taxation, over litigation, or over regulation.”
The anger growing in his voice, he said his counterparts at the G7 summit he attended in Italy last week “lectured” him on continuing the US’s leadership on renewables, but they could learn a lesson from his tenure as governor.
“My point with the rest of the world is that America will continue to lead. America will continue to find the innovative ways to make sure that our air, and our water, and the globe that we live on is taken care of, that it’s in good shape for the next generation,” Perry said. “That it’s not just a bunch of talk. It’s not just a document that a bunch of folks got together and signed. It’s reality.”
Every other nation released a statement doubling down on their support for the Paris agreement at the G7 meeting, but Perry neglected to add the US’s support.
On Friday, he joked to the Texas crowd that he was tempted to tell “the lady from France” — French Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy Segolene Royal — at the meeting that Texas was bigger than her country, but decided not to.
Earth Day Texas, which Republican Trammell S. Crow founded in 2011, is expected to draw 150,000 attendees this year. Perry offered an optimistic tone to its audience on the Trump administration’s possible environmental legacy.
“I’m proud to work with a president who believes he needs people like me around him to help develop the policies to protect our people, to protect our resources, to protect our planet,” he said.
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story misquoted Rick Perry in the first paragraph. The quote has been corrected.
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