'Immoral' to say developing countries should avoid fossil fuels, Rick Perry claims

'We don't have to choose between growing the economy and caring for the environment', Mr Perry says 

Alexandra Wilts
Washington DC
Thursday 08 March 2018 01:32 GMT
US Energy Secretary Rick Perry
US Energy Secretary Rick Perry (Getty Images )

US Energy Secretary Rick Perry has claimed it is “immoral” to shift away from fossil fuels, as doing so would threaten economic developments in poorer nations, he said.

“We are passionate about renewable energy”, Mr Perry said at an energy summit in Houston, Texas. “But the world, especially developing economies, will continue to need fossil fuels, as over a billion people on the planet live without access to electricity. Look those people in the eyes that are starving and tell them you can’t have electricity. Because as a society we decided fossil fuels were bad. I think that is immoral.”

Touting that the US is on the cusp of energy independence, Mr Perry said “we don’t have to choose between growing the economy and caring for the environment”.

Experts have continued to express concern that a dependence on fossil fuels will exacerbate the effects of climate change. But the Trump administration is filled with climate change sceptics who do not believe in the scientific evidence that supports such a phenomenon.

Since being inaugurated, President Donald Trump has implemented changes that reflect his own sceptiscm of global warming.

Last year, he withdrew America from the Paris climate agreement, saying that partaking in the deal would impose “draconian financial and economic burdens” on the US. The deal, which is aimed at limiting the effects of global warming, calls for a gradual shift to renewable energy by the end of the century.

The US is the only country that has backed out of the agreement that the Obama administration had helped negotiate.

Mr Trump also signed an executive order to roll back former President Barack Obama’s policies that were focused on curbing greenhouse gas emissions.

While Mr Perry blasted renewable fuels champions at the summit, the head of Royal Dutch Shell urged the energy sector to focus on global efforts to cut carbon emissions, Reuters reported.

Shell chief executive Ben van Beurden outlined an ambitious plan to reduce the Anglo-Dutch company’s carbon footprint and expand in renewables.

“The energy landscape is changing fast. So we must change, where change is what the world needs,” van Beurden said.

Shell and its European peers, including BP, France’s Total SA and Norway’s Statoil, have become vocal supports of the Paris agreement.

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