(h/t Raining Sky) STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
If climate change were a TV show, a hearing in Washington yesterday would be counterprogramming. Senator Ted Cruz held a hearing. He showcased witnesses who questioned the findings of climate science. On the same day, he came by to make his case to us.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
The Republican presidential candidate raised this issue just as negotiators discuss climate change in Paris. Nearly 200 countries are working out commitments to fight it. None are questioning facts like those on a climate webpage published by NASA.
INSKEEP: NASA says carbon dioxide is at its highest level in 650,000 years. It says 9 of the 10 warmest years on record have come in this century, and Arctic ice has reached its lowest levels on record.
GREENE: For most scientists, debates over human-caused climate change center not on whether it’s happening but just how big it will be or how quickly it’s coming.
INSKEEP: But climate change remains a subject of fierce partisan debate in the United States. At his hearing yesterday, Senator Cruz heard from scientists as well as an activist who have questioned the science. And in our studios, he offered a reason why he believes vast numbers of scientists have bent their findings.
What do you think about what is seen as a broad scientific consensus that there is man-caused climate change?
TED CRUZ: Well, I believe that public policy should follow the science and follow the data. I am the son of two mathematicians and computer programmers and scientists. In the debate over global warming, far too often politicians in Washington – and for that matter, a number of scientists receiving large government grants – disregard the science and data and instead push political ideology. You and I are both old enough to remember 30, 40 years ago, when, at the time, we were being told by liberal politicians and some scientists that the problem was global cooling…
INSKEEP: There was a moment when some people said that.
CRUZ: That we were facing the threat of an incoming ice age. And their solution to this problem is that we needed massive government control of the economy, the energy sector and every aspect of our lives. But then, as you noted, the data didn’t back that up. So then, many of those same liberal politicians and a number of those same scientists switched their theory to global warming.
INSKEEP: This is a conspiracy, then, in your view.
CRUZ: No, this is liberal politicians who want government power over the economy, the energy sector and every aspect of our lives.
INSKEEP: And almost all the countries in the world have joined in to this approach?
CRUZ: So let me ask you a question, Steve. Is there global warming, yes or no?
INSKEEP: According to the scientists, absolutely.
CRUZ: I’m asking you.
CRUZ: OK, you are incorrect, actually. The scientific evidence doesn’t support global warming. For the last 18 years, the satellite data – we have satellites that monitor the atmosphere. The satellites that actually measure the temperature showed no significant warming whatsoever.
INSKEEP: I’ll just note that NASA analyzes that same data differently. But we can go on.
CRUZ: But no, they don’t. You can go and look at the data. And by the way, this hearing – we have a number of scientists who are testifying about the data. But here’s the key point. Climate change is the perfect pseudoscientific theory for a big government politician who wants more power. Why? Because it is a theory that can never be disproven.
INSKEEP: Do you question the science on other widely accepted issues – for example, evolution?
CRUZ: There is a fundamental difference, which is in the name of global warming, you have politicians trying to impose trillions of dollars of cost on the world. In the I-95 Corridor, among the Washington elite, global warming is very popular because it makes you feel good about caring for the world. But I’ll tell you, you know who I’m concerned about? I’m concerned about the single mom waiting tables right now, who for seven years of the Obama economy has been trapped in stagnation. Her wages have been stagnating. It’s harder and harder to make ends meet. And what the Washington elites are trying to do is double her energy bill.
INSKEEP: Do you question other science, like evolution?
CRUZ: Any good scientist questions all science. If you show me a scientist that stops questioning science, I’ll show you someone who isn’t a scientist. And I’ll tell you, Steve. And I’ll tell you why this has shifted. Look in the world of global warming. What is the language they use? They call anyone who questions the science – who even points to the satellite data – they call you a, quote, “denier.” Denier is not the language of science. Denier is the language of religion. It is heretic. You are a blasphemer. It’s treated as a theology. But it’s about power and money. At the end of the day, it’s not complicated. This is liberal politicians who want government power.
INSKEEP: You know that your critics would say that it’s about power and money on your side. Let’s not go there for the moment. But I want to ask about this. I want to ask about facts.
CRUZ: But hold on a second. Who’s power – but let’s stop. I mean, if you are going to…
INSKEEP: Energy industry, oil industry, Texas…
CRUZ: If you’re going to toss an ad hominem.
INSKEEP: OK, not meaning to be an ad hominem. But you know. You know there are economic interests on all sides of this.
CRUZ: If you’re going to toss an ad hominem, then let’s actually respond because there’s not a moral equivalency. You say it is about power and money. I’m trying to keep power with the American people. I’m trying to keep power with the single mom waiting tables not to drive up her energy bills. I’m trying to keep power with the teenage immigrant, like my dad was, washing dishes. Now, how is that about power and money other than keeping Washington out of their lives and making it easier for people to achieve the American dream? That’s who I’m fighting for.
INSKEEP: Final thing, Ernest Moniz, the energy secretary, pointed out on All Things Considered the other day that the cost of renewable and alternative energies has been going down drastically, that technology is constantly advancing. And on a basic level, of course, pollution is inefficiency. If you can be more efficient, it actually saves people money. If you found out that climate change was cheaper to address than it seems to now, would you change your view of it?
CRUZ: Of course there will be alternative energies. We will have innovation. And I promise you this. The alternative energy innovations are not going to come from Washington. They’re not going to come from the cronyism of this town. They’re not going to come from Solyndra because when Washington does that, they allocate money based on political concerns, not based on what is necessary. I fully expect in a hundred years, or maybe 50 years, or maybe even 10 or 20 years – I mean, change can be very rapid. And I am excited to see where that goes. But it will come from the private sector, not from government.
INSKEEP: Senator Cruz, thanks very much.
CRUZ: Thank you, Steve.
INSKEEP: Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, Republican presidential candidate.