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Rick Perry speaks with Jim VandeHei and Chuck Todd at an Axios/NBC energy policy event Thursday morning in Washington, D.C. Photo: Chuck Kennedy / Axios

Energy secretary Rick Perry joined an Axios/NBC event this morning, helping us drive the discussion about the administration's energy policy priorities in 2017. Perry told Axios' CEO and co-founder Jim VandeHei and NBC's Chuck Todd that he thinks climate change is real and humans "have an impact on it," but that "I still think the science is out on" whether humans cause 100% of it.

Yes, but: The scientific consensus is that human activities have been the primary driver of the warming trend since the mid-20th century.

On nuclear power: "It's zero emissions…Are we smart enough to deal with the waste? I think we are. That's a political issue."

The reasoning behind revitalizing the coal industry: "If you can guarantee me that the wind's going to blow tomorrow…then I'll buy into that. But you can't...Our job is to make sure the electricity's on."

About the future of energy: "The holy grail of energy may be in a national lab…and it's about battery storage…battery storage changes the world."

On Puerto Rico response: "We were slow getting [electricity] back if we use Florida and Texas as your model," but Puerto Rico is different.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
31 mins ago - Energy & Environment

Report: John Kerry plans to visit China ahead of Biden's climate summit

John Kerry. Photo: Zach Gibson / Stringer

John Kerry, President Biden's special climate envoy, is expected to travel to China next week for meetings with officials aimed at boosting collaboration, the Washington Post reported Saturday.

Why it matters: China is the world's largest carbon dioxide emitter and the U.S. is second-largest.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus cases hold steady at 65,000 per day — CDC declares racism "a serious public health threat" — WHO official: Brazil is dealing with "raging inferno" of a COVID outbreak
  2. Vaccines: America may be close to hitting a vaccine wall — Pfizer asks FDA to expand COVID vaccine authorization to adolescents — CDC says Johnson & Johnson vaccine supply will drop 80% next week.
  3. Economy: Treasury says over 156 million stimulus payments sent out since March — More government spending expected as IMF projects 6% global GDP growth.
  4. Politics: Supreme Court ends California's coronavirus restrictions on home religious meetings
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

Second senior Matt Gaetz aide resigns amid federal investigation

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) walking out of the Capitol in January 2021. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Devin Murphy, Rep. Matt Gaetz's legislative director, has stepped down amid a federal investigation into sex trafficking allegations against the Florida Republican congressman, the New York Times first reported and Axios has confirmed.

The latest: "It's been real," Murphy wrote in an email, obtained by Axios, to Republican legislative directors on Saturday morning, with the subject line: "Well...bye."