Trump last week cast his decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord
In this photo taken Wednesday, June 7, 2017, U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry gestures as he is silhouetted with other energy ministers before a group photo at an international clean energy conference held in Beijing, China. photo: AP/Ng Han Guan, photo: AP/Ng Han Guan
09 of June 2017 13:03:35
BEIJING – Energy ministers from around the world gathered in Beijing this week to report increased spending to help counter climate change. Yet one prominent voice, that of U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry, delivered a starkly countervailing message as the Trump administration seeks to roll back spending on clean energy and promote fossil fuels.India, France, Norway, Canada, Australia, Japan and others said during a private meeting of ministers earlier this week that they were on track to double government research budgets.https://youtu.be/zoIpTMjd4HEWhen Perry's turn came, he said deep cuts to research in Trump's proposed budget reflected an increased understanding that developing new technologies into commercial projects should be left to private companies. The proposal must first pass through Congress."If you're going to have to prioritize where your dollars are going, early stage is where we're going to spend it," Perry said Friday when asked about his earlier comments. "Once [a new technology] has been proven up, we need to get out of the business."The approach he outlined marks a sharp departure from the past practice of ushering new technologies through to commercial deployment. It also illustrates a new reality emerging across the global energy landscape, where U.S. innovations long dominated.That's opened the way for other large developing nations, especially China, to seize the mantle of leadership in tackling climate change."For us it's not a political issue but a moral and spiritual issue," Harsh Vardhan, India's minister of science and technology, told a news agency. "We are working for the future of our children."Trump last week cast his decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord in terms of economic self-interest. He warned U.S. jobs would be transferred overseas if the U.S. remained in the agreement.Renewable energy is widely seen as a major driver of future global growth and Trump was accused of fudging the figures on the agreement's economic impact and on its projected effects on reining in rising global temperatures.The Republican's announcement drew a quick international rebuke and firm assertions from other nations that they would proceed with the agreement regardless of the U.S. position, a dynamic very much on display at this week's gathering in Beijing.Energy ministers from Canada and the European Commission told a news agency reporter they were disappointed in the U.S. decision on the Paris accord. Perry said he heard no such direct criticism.