Last week, Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry announced that he does not believe greenhouse gas emissions are the primary cause of global warming, contradicting the views of the vast majority of climatologists. On Tuesday, during an hourlong press briefing at the White House, Perry became visibly annoyed with the fact that people keep telling him he’s wrong about that. “The climate is changing. Man is having an impact on it,” he said. “I’ve said that time after time—the idea that we can’t have an intellectual conversation about just what are the actual impacts?”
Make no mistake: When Perry says he just wants an “intellectual conversation” about how much carbon dioxide impacts the climate, that is a lie. Or, in the most generous interpretation, it’s a misunderstanding of what an “intellectual conversation” really is. Any intellectual person accepts that the scientific method is among society’s most reliable tools for determining facts. And climatologists have overwhelmingly determined, by use of the scientific method, that carbon dioxide emissions are the primary cause of current climate change. Perry is unwilling to accept the scientific method. Therefore, an intellectual conversation is not what he wants.
What Perry does seem to want is further delay any actual intellectual conversation about climate change: a conversation that focuses on how best to solve it. That’s the conversation reasonable intellects have been seeking to engage in for literal decades, and the one Perry, the Trump administration, and the majority of Republicans in Congress consistently refuse to participate in.