President Obama was in Paris last week for the start of the international climate talks, where he took a not-so-subtle shot at the Republicans running to replace him. “I think the president of the United States is going to need to think [the climate crisis] is really important,” Obama said. “Your credibility and America’s ability to influence events depends on taking seriously what other countries care about.”
Almost immediately thereafter, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) told MSNBC there is no climate “crisis.” Asked if he’s relying on evidence, the governor replied, “That’s my feeling. I didn’t say I was relying on any scientist.” Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R), the same day, added that global warming is less of a threat than the national debt.
But Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), in an apparent game of “anything you can do I can do worse,” took an even more aggressive step in support of climate denialism yesterday. Politico reported:
Ted Cruz took a break from the campaign trail on Tuesday to dive headlong into an aggressive Capitol Hill attack on mainstream climate science – the kind his fellow Republican presidential contenders have mainly sought to avoid.Less than eight weeks before the crucial Iowa caucuses in which he’s leading the latest polls, Cruz convened a Senate subcommittee hearing where he criticized environmentalists as “alarmists” and questioned “the objectivity of climate research.”
It’s worth noting for context that when Republicans took the majority in the Senate, GOP leaders made Cruz the chairman of the Commerce Committee’s panel that oversees “Science and Space.” And in his capacity as chairman, the Texas Republican has the authority to organize anti-science hearings such as yesterday’s.
Incidentally, Rubio is on the same subcommittee, and he’s also a climate-denier, but he didn’t show up for work yesterday.
Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) said during a press conference yesterday, “The only thing that requires a thorough scientific investigation is why Sen. Cruz is having a hearing on climate science. This is no longer debate across the entire planet. They’re all there. The last group of deniers are the Republican Congress. The last sub-cult of deniers are the Republicans on the Senate Commerce Committee.”
Of course, the problem with yesterday’s nonsense wasn’t limited to Cruz; it also included the “expert witnesses” the panel’s chairman called to testify. Our pals at “All In with Chris Hayes” had a good segment on this last night.