Perry at town hall: I’m ‘not afraid’ to call myself a climate change skeptic

Texas Gov. Rick Perry stood firm Friday when pressed by a New Hampshire man about his position on climate change, saying he is “not afraid” to call himself a climate skeptic.

“For us to take a snapshot in time and to say that what is going on in the country today, the climate change that is going on is man’s fault and we need to jeopardize America’s economy, I’m a skeptic about that…and I’m not afraid to say I’m a skeptic about that,” Perry told a crowd Friday night at a town hall meeting.

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A man, who identified himself as Mike, pressed Perry on his position on climate change, saying he “ducked a question” at a recent debate about which source of information he relies on to form his views on the subject.

“I’m ready for you this time,” Perry said in response to the question.

“Just within the last couple of weeks a renowned Nobel laureate also joined that chorus that is time after time, after information becomes available and they look at all the data and they basically say, ‘Those that want to take the position that global warming is man’s fault and it is incontrovertible. That is not correct.’”

Perry did not give the Nobel Laureate’s name, but the Los Angeles Times notes that he was referring to Ivar Giaever, a Norwegian physicist who won the Nobel Prize in 1973. Giaever left the American Physical Society after it made a statement that climate change is occurring, the Times reported.

The vast majority of the world’s scientists say climate change is occurring and it is caused in large part due to human activity.

During the town hall, Perry spoke for several minutes about climate change. At one point, the man who asked about climate change interrupted Perry.

“Hold on I’ve got the mic here,” Perry said, cutting the man off. “You got your question and I’m going to answer and I’ll let you have a rebuttal.”

Perry has long raised questions about climate science and has bashed the Environmental Protection Agency, arguing its regulations kill jobs.

The EPA, he said at the New Hampshire town hall, will “just kill a bunch of jobs and not clean up the air at all.”

Perry said states should be responsible for writing and implementing their own pollution regulations.

“Allow the states to be flexible in how we do this and I assure you, those of us that actually breathe that air, and our children breath that air, we’ll make the right decisions,” Perry said. “We don’t need a centralized, all-knowing, size-fits-all, federal government telling us how to run our states, even when it comes to issue as important as air quality because we’re doing a good job in Texas.”

At one point, the man questioning Perry about climate science countered that science everybody accepts is not always 100 percent proven, arguing for example that the link between cancer and cigarettes is not “settled science.”

“I would suggest to you that’s pretty settled,” Perry said, moving on to the next question.