Let’s check in with notable glasses-wearer and likely Burning Man attendee Rick Perry. The Energy Secretary is in Davos for the World Economic Forum this week along a host of other Trump administration officials to rub elbows with the richest people on the planet because populism.
On Wednesday, he shared his message to the global elite on Fox Business. It is a simple one. It is also ludicrous:
“Here’s what I try to share with all of our allies and the audience here at Davos. The United States is not just exporting energy, we’re exporting freedom. We’re exporting to our allies in Europe to truly have a choice of where you buy your energy from. That’s freedom and that kind of freedom is priceless.”
Go ahead see for yourself:
Perry also said fracking came about “by the grace of God and some technology and a guy named George Mitchell from Texas.”
The outlandish attempt to make fracked gas the new, holy version of Freedom Fries seems dumb until you remember Rick Perry is the guy who said fossil fuels could help prevent sexual assault in Africa and falsely (and I would add, incoherently) said that “the ocean waters and this environment that we live in” are the primary driver of climate change. In other words, this latest salvo is vintage Rick.
For the unafflicted billionaires at Davos on their private jets, I suppose there’s a level of truth. Those have that have engorged themselves on the oil and gas industry’s profits certainly are enjoying newfound financial freedom. The world’s 25 largest oil and gas companies turned $73 billion in profits in 2017 alone according to Forbes. So I guess maybe freedom does have a price?
For the rest of us, Perry’s comments completely ignore the fact that all the fracked gas and American oil flooding the market are conscripting future generations to a climate unseen in human existence by both polluting the atmosphere and slowing the transition to a carbon-free economy. It will also have terrible local impacts that the poor and people of color will disproportionately bear.
In the process, each ton of carbon dioxide could conscript millions to poverty, conflict, displacement, disease and possibly even death. And when the carbon bubble inevitably pops, it could eventually take down pension funds that haven’t divested (which seriously, divest that shit already). That’s the exact opposite of freedom.
Perry also defended Trump’s solar tariffs in the same interview, arguing they’ll level the playing field. Again, what Perry didn’t say is that they’ll disrupt solar installations. Greentech Media analysts forecast that the U.S. will miss out on 7.6 gigawatts of solar power through 2022, enough energy to power nearly 1.5 million homes based on industry estimates.
The argument for improving competition and letting the market do it’s thing when it comes to solar is particularly rich coming from Perry. He advocated for propping up coal, a dirty fossil fuel that has been displaced by natural gas as the top source of energy in the U.S. Not only that, he got the idea (or at least had it reinforced) courtesy of coal baron Bob Murray. It was so over the top that even the Republican-controlled regulatory body that considered the proposal gave it the thumbs down. Apparently they didn’t like the smell of freedom.
Perry won’t be the only Trump administration member sharing his freedom-loving message at Davos. Noted napper Wilbur Ross, cartoon villain Steve Mnuchin, and other administration members are also there (Ross defended the tariffs earlier on Wednesday as defense against a trade war). And on Friday afternoon, the (((globalists))) there will hear from the president himself. Let freedom ring.