From the June 19 edition of CNBC's Squawk Box:
JOE KERNEN (HOST): Scott Pruitt was on, I asked him whether he believed that CO2 was the primary control knob for climate and he said no. You've mentioned CO2 a couple of times and emissions. I was wondering: Do you believe CO2 is the primary control knob for the temperature of the Earth and for climate?
RICK PERRY (ENERGY SECRETARY): No, most likely the primary control knob is the ocean waters and this environment that we live in. I mean, the fact is this isn't a, shouldn’t be a debate about, you know, “Is the climate changing, is man having an effect on it?” Yeah, we are. The question should be just how much, and what are the policy changes that we need to make to effect that? I mean, there's this, this science, this idea that science is just absolutely settled, and if you don’t believe it’s settled then you're a somehow or another you’re a Neanderthal, that is so inappropriate from my perspective.
I think if you're going to be a wise, intellectually engaged person, being a skeptic about some of these issues is quite all right. So the point is, are we going to continue to have innovation that helps effect, in a positive way, our environment? Absolutely. And I'm excited about what we're going to see coming out of our national labs, coming out of the private sector, working in concert with private, or I should say public and private sector opportunities.
KERNEN: Alright Mr. Secretary, pretty good answer that you gave there. I think you're going to be fine with that. You gotta, you know you really gotta be careful -- you're right, you do. You know -- I don't know what the actual penalty is for not believing. I think you do get -- it's heretical, I know that, if you're a denier. But you did well there. Thank you, I appreciate it, Mr. Secretary.