Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue cited weather patterns and said “it rained yesterday, it’s a nice pretty day today” when asked about the cause of the global climate crisis in an interview with CNN.
Perdue joins President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence as the latest senior administration official to question the near universal consensus in the scientific community that the global climate crisis is man-made.
Perdue told CNN’s Vanessa Yurkevich in the interview released Tuesday that “we don’t know” the cause of climate change, adding, “and obviously scientists — many scientists believe that it’s human caused, other scientists believe it’s not.”
“So if it’s not human caused, then what is it?” Yurkevich asked.
“You know, I think it’s weather patterns, frankly. And you know, and they change, as I said. It rained yesterday, it’s a nice pretty day today. So the climate does change in short increments and in long increments,” Perdue responded.
In an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union” Sunday, Pence repeatedly refused to say if he views the global climate crisis as a threat to the United States.
Last week, the Trump administration rolled back an Obama-era rule that limited coal-fired power plant emissions and would have reduced greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute to the climate crisis, by up to 32% compared to 2005.
The EPA itself says the move could result in 1,400 more premature deaths by 2030 than the Obama-era plan.
Politico recently reported the Agriculture Department has refused to publicize government-funded studies that show the dangers of the climate emergency.
“I read that story and I can find no evidence at all from, from anything I said or anything having to do with climate change,” Perdue said, adding he meets “with our climate scientists on an ongoing basis.”
Perdue said “absolutely, yes” when asked if he wants such studies to be made public.
USDA did not immediately respond to a request for more information on Perdue’s meetings with scientists.
Trump has repeatedly made false statements about climate change. A recent example is when the President told British TV host Piers Morgan, “I believe that there is a change in weather and I think it changes both ways.”
Asked if Trump believes in climate change, Perdue told CNN he hasn’t talked about that issue with the President — but speculated he’s concerned about rain.
“I think the President feels that I do, he’s a golfer, so sometimes he knows he gets rained out and sometimes it doesn’t, but the long term consequences, I don’t know,” Perdue said.