Perry says U.S. should stay in Paris deal but change goals

Source: Umair Irfan, E&E News reporter • Posted: Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Energy Secretary Rick Perry said the United States should stay in the Paris climate change agreement but alter its commitment under the deal.

“I’m not going to tell the president of the United States to walk away from the Paris accord,” Perry said at the Bloomberg New Energy Finance Future of Energy Summit in New York City earlier today. “I think we probably need to renegotiate it.”

Under the agreement, the United States is committed to cutting its greenhouse gas emissions 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025.

Perry said international action on climate change was a major discussion topic at the Group of Seven energy ministers’ meeting earlier this month in Italy.

“There was a lot of cheerleading for the Paris accord and keeping the United States involved in that,” he said.

The United States was the lone holdout in signing onto a communiqué from the meeting that emphasized the need to fulfill commitments under the Paris accord.

Perry said other countries weren’t being held to the same standards and weren’t making the same progress in cutting greenhouse gases, but were still pressuring the United States to uphold its end of the deal, a fact that frustrated him.

“Don’t get up on the front end about how good you’re doing when the fact of the matter is, you’re not,” Perry said.

He cited a presentation by International Energy Agency Executive Director Fatih Birol, who noted that the United States and China have played the biggest roles in cutting global greenhouse gas emissions.

Ethan Zindler, an analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, asked Perry on stage about how he plans to pursue energy research when the White House has proposed cutting the Department of Energy’s budget by 5.7 percent.

Perry acknowledged that it would require some balancing and sticking to a few priorities, like cybersecurity and supercomputing, but added that he’s had experience as governor of Texas with working within budget constraints.

“This is a very manageable budget,” Perry said. “This ain’t my first rodeo.”