Energy Secretary Rick Perry entrenched himself as an opponent of the Paris climate agreement yesterday, reversing his earlier position.

At a White House Cabinet meeting, Perry told President Trump that he defended the United States' withdrawal from the global accord while meeting with energy ministers last week in China and Japan.

“They needed to hear why America was stepping away from the Paris accord, and they did,” Perry said. “And how America is not stepping back, but we're stepping into place and sending some messages.”

Before Trump's decision to quit the accord earlier this month, Perry said it would be better to stay in.

“I'm not going to tell the president of the United States to walk away from the Paris accord,” Perry said at Bloomberg New Energy Finance's Future of Energy Summit in New York City in April. “I think we probably need to renegotiate it.”

Perry's acquiescence to Trump is part of a trend. Since his confirmation hearing in January, Perry pledged support for many initiatives at DOE, but has also lauded White House budget proposals that slash these programs (Climatewire, May 31).

In a 580-word editorial last week published in the Philadelphia Inquirer, he praised the decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on economic grounds but did not mention climate change or greenhouse gases.

“This country has been and must continue to be a leader in energy technology, development, and delivery,” he wrote. “This leadership will not occur if we disqualify sources of energy as we did through the Paris agreement, but only if we unleash America's know how and ingenuity to unlock our natural resources.”

The Paris Agreement does not dictate energy sources nor place restrictions on what fuels a nation can consume under its terms.

Yesterday at the White House, Perry also promised to continue efforts against rising temperatures. The statement was unprompted.

“We are still going to be leaders in the world when it comes to the climate. But we are not going to be held hostage to some executive order that was ill-thought-out,” Perry said. “My hat's off to you [Trump] for taking that stand and sending a clear message around the world.”

Reprinted from Climatewire with permission from E&E News. E&E provides daily coverage of essential energy and environmental news at