Texas Governor Rick Perry has attacked the United Kingdom’s Foreign Office for its contribution to an initiative that tried to “educate” Texas politicians on climate change. Two state senators from Texas in 2009 were flown to the UK, where they received a briefing from government officials and climate change scientists. Additional money was spent on a conference in Austin that focused on climate change and featured a video of Prince Charles making an appeal to Texas lawmakers, expenditures that Perry was none too happy about.

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Perry, a leading climate skeptic and former Republican presidential candidate, criticized the UK Foreign Office for spending $21,700 to fund the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) program “Influencing Climate Security Policy and Legislation in Texas.” The EDF had ramped up its climate change education campaign in late 2009 in the lead-up to the COP15 climate summit in Copenhagen. The Washington-based organization’s goal was to get lawmakers away from the politicized debate over climate change in the U.S. and brief them in a country where the Kyoto Protocol had already been ratified.

Through his press office, Gov. Perry slammed the spending as “misdirected.” His spokeswoman told the Guardian that “In Texas, we base our policy decisions on sound science.” The Perry administration has insisted that Texas has maintained a solid record on air quality. Meanwhile Perry’s administration has been fighting EPA emissions regulations that are trying to compel Texas to comply with the Clean Air Act.

The EDF defended the project for its bipartisan approach towards informing politicians about climate change issues. In the UK, the Foreign Office believed the EDF’s project was the most credible and offered the best value for UK policy makers’ efforts to influence climate change policy. Since then, the Foreign Office’s climate change program has been replaced after a change in the British government. And one of the Texas senators who flew to the UK briefing, Republican Troy Fraser, has been less enthusiastic about speaking out on climate change as the political debate in the U.S has become even more polarized.

Via The Guardian

Photos of Rick Perry and Texas State Capitol in Austin courtesy Wikipedia