Energy Secretary Rick Perry believes that the science is still out on climate change — and that fossil fuels can prevent sexual assault.
The former Texas governor was addressing the future of the energy sector on Thursday during a policy discussion run by Axios and NBC when he claimed that expanding fossil fuel exports would play a “positive role.”
As he spoke about bringing electricity to remote African villages, Perry linked his desire to use fossil fuels to the prevention of sexual assault.
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U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry
U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry
Former Texas Governor Rick Perry is sworn in before testifying at a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on his nomination to be Energy secretary on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 19, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
President-elect Donald Trump's Energy Secretary nominee, former Texas Governor Rick Perry, arrives for the inauguration ceremonies swearing in Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States on the West front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., January 20, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
New Secretary of Energy Rick Perry embraces his wife Anita during during his swearing in ceremony at the Executive Office in Washington, U.S., March 2, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
New Secretary of Energy Rick Perry is sworn in by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence (R) as his wife Anita holds a bible during a ceremony at the Executive Office in Washington, U.S., March 2, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
U.S. President Donald Trump is surrounded by his cabinet, including Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney (L-R), Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Linda McMahon, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Ben Carson, Vice President Mike Pence, Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, as he signs an executive order entitled "Comprehensive Plan for Reorganizing the Executive Branch" in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S. March 13, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump's Energy Secretary nominee Rick Perry (2nd R) and his wife Anita speak with Defense Secretary nominee James Mattis (R) before the Inaugural Parade in Washington January 20, 2017. Donald Trump was sworn in as 45th President of the United States. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Rick Perry listens to US Vice President Mike Pence speak as he waits to be sworn in as US Secretary of Energy during a swearing in ceremony in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building March 2, 2017 in Washington, DC. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
US Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) (L) and incoming US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry wait for a swearing in ceremony in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on March 2, 2017 in Washington, DC. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Rick Perry, former governor of Texas and U.S. secretary of energy nominee for President Donald Trump, left, speaks with Jared Kushner, senior White House adviser, center right, as Ivanka, daughter of U.S. President Donald Trump, center left, stands before the start of a joint session of Congress in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017. Trump will press Congress to carry out his priorities for replacing Obamacare, jump-starting the economy and bolstering the nations defenses in an address eagerly awaited by lawmakers, investors and the public who want greater clarity on his policy agenda. Photographer: Aaron P. Bernstein/Bloomberg via Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 28: Energy Department Secretary nominee Rick Perry (L) and Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary nominee Ben Carson arrive to a joint session of the U.S. Congress with U.S. President Donald Trump on February 28, 2017 in the House chamber of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. Trump's first address to Congress is expected to focus on national security, tax and regulatory reform, the economy, and healthcare. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
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“But also from the standpoint of sexual assault,” Perry said. “When the lights are on, when you have light that shines, the righteousness, if you will on those types of acts.
“So from the standpoint of how you really affect people’s lives, fossil fuels is going to play a role in that,” he added.
Perry told Axios CEO and cofounder Jim VandeHei and NBC’s Chuck Todd that he thinks climate change is real and that humans do “have an impact on it,” but added that he “still think(s) the science is out on” how much of a role people play.