On Thursday, President Trump announced that the United States will no longer be party to the Paris Accord, an agreement entered into by the Obama administration. During his address in the Rose Garden, the president laid out a convincing case detailing how this rather one-sided agreement is not in the best long-term economic interest of the United States.
The president’s decision will prove to be the right course of action, and one I fully support as the U.S. secretary of energy.
The president and I agree on a fundamental tenet: Our work and deeds are more important than unenforceable words in a nonbinding agreement. Rather than preaching about clean energy, this administration will act on it.
We are confident we can unleash our domestic energy sector, drive economic and job growth, and protect the environment at the same time. We know this not because of theory, but because of cold, hard facts. The data is evident in what I witnessed while serving as the governor of Texas.
During my 14 years as governor, Texas grew by 6.8 million people … more than the population of all but 13 states. We also added 2 million new jobs during that time. In fact, from December 2007 to December 2014, Texas added 1.4 million jobs while the rest of the country lost 400,000.
Texas leads the United States’ energy revolution, producing more than 3 million barrels of oil and more than 20 billion cubic feet of natural gas daily.
But Texas is also the country’s largest (and currently No. 6 in the world) producer of wind energy. Texas has two of the largest wind farms in the Western Hemisphere, and during my time as governor we invested $7 billion in transmission facilities to distribute that new, clean energy.
At the same time, Texas power plants reduced their output of carbon by 17 percent, sulfur dioxide by 56 percent, and nitrous oxide by 66 percent.
That’s a lot of people, a lot of new jobs and wealth, and a lot of new energy. And we accomplished this at the same time we addressed challenges to our environment.
Pennsylvania is also determining its own future, taking a leadership role in America’s energy revolution. The development of Marcellus and Utica Shale has created thousands of jobs, billions of dollars in new investment, and is having a global impact.
This happened in Texas and Pennsylvania because of smart strategies and bipartisan leadership. It can happen across America if we roll up our sleeves and focus on American jobs and American families, as the president indicated Thursday.
Texas and Pennsylvania didn’t become leaders in domestic energy production because they waited for any other state, or any other country, to lead the way.
The same holds true for the United States of America. This country has been and must continue to be a leader in energy technology, development, and delivery. 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.
We don’t need to rely on other countries to show us the way to energy jobs or to a cleaner environment.
Under the president’s leadership, the United States will serve as an example to the rest of the world on how to achieve economic, energy, and environmental goals simultaneously.
And in the process, he will allow us to determine our own future, and that future will indeed be brighter.
Rick Perry is the U.S. secretary of energy. @SecretaryPerry