It’s hard not to feel sorry for the US Department of Energy (DoE) at the moment. Not only is it currently undergoing what appears to be a Trump-led witch hunt designed to root out climate change researchers, but reports are now suggesting that former Texas Governor Rick Perry may be put in charge of it.
It has not gone unnoticed that Perry once famously referred to the DoE as “oops” when he failed to remember that it actually existed on national television. Now, this man could be in charge of the very same department that he cannot even remember the name of.
During a primary debate back in 2012, he inexplicably stated that he wished to abolish the Departments of Commerce, Education and Energy – who needs trade, knowledge, and electricity anyway, though, right? Hilariously, though, he blanked when it came to naming the third.
Perry is an easy man to disparage. He loves repeatedly trying to get the Republican nomination for president, and he once opened a campaign ad by saying: “You don’t need to be in a pew every Sunday to know there’s something wrong in this country when gays are openly allowed to serve in the military.”
When it comes to the DoE, though, this potential appointment becomes less funny and something actually quite frightening. The DoE deals with energy and electrical infrastructure, domestic energy production, genomics, radioactive waste disposal and the nation’s nuclear weapons program, among other things.
Perry, somehow, could be in charge of all of this. To say that this is deeply concerning is a profound understatement. It’s like placing a pineapple in charge of flying a plane, in that it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.
Perry’s appointment would also add to the already vast number of climate change deniers in the running for cabinet positions in Trump’s future administration. Considering that the DoE also handles research into climate change mitigation and low-carbon energy sources, this is the opposite of good news.
In fact, this potential pick is seemingly driven by largely the same logic that has led to Scott Pruitt – a climate change denying attorney general that has spent much of his career suing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – being picked to lead the EPA.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with appointing critics to head agencies they have previously criticized, but when it comes to science, you cannot mess around with facts. Climate change is happening and we are causing it, end of story.
What is Perry going to do when DoE staff insist that America needs to switch to cleaner energy sources or face an environmental and economic catastrophe? Put his fingers in his ears and shout the national anthem as loudly as possible?
Rick Perry on Dancing with the Stars. Dancing with the Stars via YouTube