Enlarge / US Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry addresses employees for the first time at Energy Department headquarters in Washington, DC, March 3, 2017.
Image courtesy Ken Shipp/US Department of Energy. (Photo via Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)
In an interview with CNBC on Monday, Energy Secretary Rick Perry said that carbon dioxide emissions from human activities aren’t the primary driver of climate change.
Instead, the former Texas governor responded that “most likely the primary control knob is the ocean waters and this environment that we live in.”
It’s unclear how Perry envisions this “control knob” and how it works; a generous analysis of his answer would be that he misunderstood the question. Ocean waters absorb carbon dioxide and are changing, much like climate, because of it.

And the oceans have short-term cycles that influence equally short-term temperature trends.

But those cycles can’t drive the ever-upward trend in temperature.
Oddly, Perry continued by affirming that climate change is happening and that we have to do something about it.

The secretary told CNBC, “The fact is, this shouldn’t be a debate about ‘Is the climate changing? Is man having an effect on it?’ Yeah, we are.

The question should be just how much, and what are the policy changes that we need to make to effect that?”
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