Energy Secretary Rick Perry says he does not think carbon dioxide is the main cause of climate change

Rick Perry.
(Image credit: Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)

Energy Secretary Rick Perry disagrees with NASA, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on the fact that carbon dioxide plays a central role in determining Earth's temperature. In an interview Monday on CNBC's Squawk Box, Perry denied that carbon dioxide is "the primary control knob for the temperature of the Earth and for climate."

"No," Perry said, "most likely the primary control knob is the ocean waters and this environment that we live in."

NASA's website deems carbon dioxide "the most important long-lived 'forcing' of climate change." Until recently, the EPA's website called carbon dioxide the "primary greenhouse gas that is contributing to recent climate change."

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Perry argued that the climate change debate should not be centered on whether the climate is changing or whether man is "having an effect on it." "Yeah, we are," Perry said. "The question should be, you know, just how much, and what are the policy changes that we need to make to affect that?"

He said that it's "quite all right" to be dubious of climate change, calling skepticism a sign of a "wise, intellectually engaged person."

Watch the interview below. Becca Stanek

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