Quantcast

Ted Cruz Continues to 'Coddle' His Fossil Fuel Funders in Wake of Deadly Texas Floods

Climate

On paper at least, Texas Senator and declared 2016 presidential candidate Ted Cruz is an intelligent man. He graduated cum laude from Princeton University where he was a debate champion. He went onto Harvard Law School where he graduated magna cum laude and was primary editor of the Harvard Law Review.

He's not a scientist, but Ted Cruz will be glad to tell even scientists they're wrong for thinking climate change is real.
Photo credit: Shutterstock

But when Cruz talks about the climate, many people feel he sounds like the most ignorant and fact-challenged of his far-right followers.

Last week, as destructive floods swept his home state, killing more than two dozen people and destroying hundreds of homes, Cruz said, in response to a question about the role of climate change in the floods, "At a time of tragedy, I think it’s wrong to try to politicize a natural disaster." Never mind that climate scientists in Texas and other places think that, far from "politicizing" the disaster, talking about climate change is the first step to finding a solution and protecting people from the impacts of climate change.

“As a scientist, I think it is essential to connect the dots between climate change and the increasing risk it poses to our families and communities,” Katharine Hayhoe, an atmospheric scientist at Texas Tech University, told ThinkProgress in response to Cruz's attempt to disconnect the flooding from climate change. “Keeping our mouths shut on what the data is telling us, even if it’s in fear of vicious reprisals, is like a physician not telling a patient they have a dangerous condition just because they’re afraid of the patient’s reaction.”

"The science isn’t political,” she said. “It’s the solutions that are political.”

In a recent TEDxTexas talk, Hayhoe explains how today's warming caused by carbon emissions makes weather extremes more likely and more severe than they were in the past:

Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University, suggested that Cruz might have ulterior motives for his persistent and outrageous climate denial statements, motives that could include the nearly 1 million dollars in campaign contributions Cruz has received from the oil and gas industry—his largest funder after Republican and conservative political groups.

“The ones politicizing the matter are those like Cruz who coddle their fossil fuel funders by denying the science of climate change and smearing those who attempt to point out the very real and damaging impacts climate change is already having,” Mann told ThinkProgress. “It is shameful and history will judge it as such.”

Cruz has a lengthy track record of politicizing climate science to push for policies that favor the fossil fuel industry.

Earlier this year, Cruz called California Gov. Jerry Brown, who has been working on strong new regulations on cutting fossil fuel emissions and increasing energy efficiency in his state and hammering our climate agreements with other government leaders, a "global warming alarmist" who doesn't want to look at what Cruz called "real data," although that apparently doesn't include the work of the 97 percent of climate scientists who accept that human-caused global warming is indeed real.

Days later, Cruz ratcheted up his rhetoric and his politicization of climate change, saying "global warming alarmists are the equivalent of flat-earthers" who are making "apocalyptical claims."

"You know it used to be it [was] accepted scientific wisdom [that] the Earth is flat, and this heretic named Galileo was branded a denier,” said Cruz.

When he wasn't busy telling interviewers that the climate scientists are wrong and that he and his ilk are the equivalent of Gallileo, he was embarrassing himself in a hearing of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Space, Science and Competitiveness, of which he happens to be chair. When NASA administrator Charles Bolden attempted to explain why the space agency studies climate change, Cruz retorted, "I would suggest that almost any American would agree that the core function of NASA is to explore space. That’s what inspires little boys and little girls across this country. It’s what sets NASA apart from any agency in the country. I am concerned that NASA in the current environment has lost its full focus on that core mission.”

Cruz's fellow Senator Gary Peters, a Democrat from Michigan, backed Bolden, saying, "The chairman has mentioned that he wants science to drive the process here. Here we have leading experts in our country on science saying that the cuts that we saw in Earth sciences were disastrous in the Bush era.”

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Climate Denier Ted Cruz Announces Presidential Run, Gov. Brown Calls Him "Unfit to Be Running for Office"

9 Climate-Denying Republicans Who Might Run for President

Deadly Flooding in Texas Latest Example of Extreme Weather

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

We need our government to do everything it can to stop PFAS contamination and exposure from wreaking havoc in communities across the country. LuAnn Hun / Unsplash

By Genna Reed

The EPA announced last week that it is issuing a preliminary regulatory determination for public comment to set an enforceable drinking water standard to two of the most common and well-studied PFAS, PFOA and PFOS.

This decision is based on three criteria:

  1. PFOA and PFOS have an adverse effect on public health
  2. PFOA and PFOS occur in drinking water often enough and at levels of public health concern;
  3. regulation of PFOA and PFOS is a meaningful opportunity for reducing the health risk to those served by public water systems.
Read More
Charging EVs in Stockholm: But where does a dead battery go? Ranjithsiji / Wikimedia Commons

By Kieran Cooke

Driving an electric-powered vehicle (EV) rather than one reliant on fossil fuels is a key way to tackle climate change and improve air quality — but it does leave the old batteries behind as a nasty residue.

Read More
Sponsored
U.S. Secretary of the Treasure Steven Mnuchin arrives for a welcome dinner at the Murabba Palace in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Feb. 22, 2020 during the G20 finance ministers and central bank governors meeting. FAYEZ NURELDINE / AFP via Getty Images

Finance ministers from the 20 largest economies agreed to add a scant mention of the climate crisis in its final communiqué in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Sunday, but they stopped short of calling it a major economic risk, as Reuters reported. It was the first time the G20 has mentioned the climate crisis in its final communiqué since Donald Trump became president in 2017.

Read More
Aerial view of Parque da Cachoeira, which suffered the January 2019 dam collapse, in Brumadinho, state of Minas Gerais, Brazil — one of the country's worst industrial accidents that left 270 people dead. Millions of tons of toxic mining waste engulfed houses, farms and waterways, devastating the mineral-rich region. DOUGLAS MAGNO / AFP / Getty Images

By Christopher Sergeant, Julian D. Olden

Scars from large mining operations are permanently etched across the landscapes of the world. The environmental damage and human health hazards that these activities create may be both severe and irreversible.

Read More
Participants of the climate demonstration Fridays for Future walk through Hamburg, Germany on Feb. 21, 2020. Axel Heimken / picture alliance via Getty Images

By Andrea Germanos

U.S.-based youth climate activists on Friday drew attention to the climate protest in Hamburg, Germany, where organizers said roughly 60,000 people took part, and hoped that Americans took inspiration from their European counterparts.

Read More