Fact Check: Perry’s energy-related claims at the debate

WASHINGTON — When Mitt Romney and Rick Perry thumped their chests over their job-creation records as governor during the Republican presidential debate Wednesday night, they left the bad parts out.

A look at two of the claims in the debate that deal with energy, and how they compare with the facts:


PERRY: On global warming, “The science is not settled on this. The idea that we would put Americans’ economy at jeopardy based on scientific theory that’s not settled yet, to me, is just, is nonsense. … Find out what the science truly is before you start putting the American economy in jeopardy.”

THE FACTS: The scientific consensus on climate change is about as settled as any major scientific issue can be. Perry’s opinion runs counter to the view of an overwhelming majority of scientists that pollution released from the burning of fossil fuels is heating up the planet. The National Academy of Sciences, in an investigation requested by Congress, concluded last year: “Climate change is occurring, is very likely caused primarily by human activities, and poses significant risks to humans and the environment.”


PERRY: “What I find compelling is what we’ve done in the state of Texas, using our ability to regulate our clean air. We cleaned up our air in the state of Texas, more than any other state in the nation during the decade.” He specifically mentioned successes in reducing nitrous oxide emissions by 58 percent and ozone levels by 27 percent.

THE FACTS: Texas has reduced emissions as Perry described, but most of those reductions were required under the federal Clean Air Act. However, the Environmental Protection Agency recently rescinded the state’s authority to grant some air pollution permits because the state did not comply with federal regulations. Texas, home to America’s oil and gas industry, still emits more carbon dioxide — the chief greenhouse gas — than any other state in the country, according to government data. Several metropolitan areas in Texas still violate health-based limits for smog, and the county that is home to Houston is one of the biggest emitters of hazardous air pollution in the country. The Texas Legislature also passed, and Perry signed, a law that will delay enforcing stiffer clean air regulations by two years.