U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry reassured Japan on Monday that America is committed to tackling environmental issues and promoting clean energy even though it is leaving the Paris climate accord. Perry told Japanese counterpart Hiroshige Seko in Tokyo that the U.S. commitment to environmental issues remains unchanged, said Kazushige Tanaka, a trade ministry official who attended the talks. Perry's comments came days after President Donald Trump announced the United States would withdraw from the Paris accord, a decision that has triggered international disappointment and criticism. Before visiting Japan, Perry had said in a statement released Thursday that he "fully" supported Trump's decision, and intended to discuss with Japan "the benefits of all forms of energy, including nuclear, fossil, liquefied natural gas and renewables." In Monday's talks, Perry said America will continue to be a leader in developing clean energy and associated technology, as it has led efforts tackling carbon reduction and clean coal technology.
Many of his letters to the EPA, Interior Department and White House, however, were originally drafted by energy industry lobbyists, a 2014 New York Times investigation showed. As attorney general and also president of the Republican Attorneys General Association, Pruitt emerged as a key player in what the Times described as a "secretive alliance" of attorneys general and energy firms, and drew close to oil baron Harold Hamm, chief executive of one of the biggest oil and gas drilling companies in Oklahoma and a confidante of Trump.
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said the agency wants to hear from those in "the heart of coal country" because they were most affected by the plan, which sought to ratchet back emissions from coal-fired power plants. Pruitt questions the consensus of climate scientists that the burning of fossil fuels is the primary cause of global warming.
Trump's choice to run the Environmental Protection Agency is Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, who denies climate change science. And Trump's nominee to run the Energy Department, former Gov. Rick Perry, also has questioned climate science while working to promote coal-fired power in Texas, though he also oversaw the growth of renewable power in Texas, which became a leading wind-energy producer while he was governor.