The environmental community has already reacted with disappointment, even some outrage, to President-elect Donald Trump’s choice of former Texas Governor Rick Perry as secretary of energy. Their misgivings over Perry’s denial of climate change and his push to expand coal power are justified. Yet a close look at his gubernatorial record offers a reason for hope. While Perry was governor, Texas led the way on two innovations that helped the U.S. lower carbon emissions: the fracking revolution and the boom in wind energy. Fracking began in Texas — and eventually changed energy production throughout the country. Cheaper natural gas increasingly replaced coal as a fuel, saving on carbon dioxide emissions, water use and air pollution. To be sure, the Texas governor cannot take personal credit for fracking, which has been boosted mainly by market forces, private investment and decades of federal R&D spending.
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