Dismantling the lunacy of right wing morons takes up an inordinate amount of time here at the Banter – so much so that the staff often suffer from ‘Jon Stewart Fatigue Syndrome’ (JSFS). The legendary comedian decided to end his nightly show because he got ground down from watching years of Fox News and the GOP relentlessly promote a childish, irrational alternate reality while the country grappled with serious problems. We haven’t been at it for nearly as long as Stewart so we’re happy to take up the fight, but Jesus Christ, they don’t make it easy.
Case in point, Senator (yes, an actual Senator) Ted Cruz’s latest little anti-environmental screed at the semi-annual Koch retreat in California last weekend. There to impress rich campaign donors and persuade organizations in the billionaire brothers’ network of democracy hating stooges to influence voters to go their way, Cruz laid into the science behind climate change claiming that there is no factual basis for climate change.
“If you look at satellite data for the last 18 years, there’s been zero recorded warming,” Cruz told the audience. “The satellite says it ain’t happening.”
Cruz then claimed that government researchers were reverse engineering the data sets to prove that climate change was real. “They’re cooking the books. They’re actually adjusting the numbers,” he said. Alluding to a giant liberal conspiracy to control the economy and the energy industry, Cruz told the audience:
“To any power-greedy politician, this is the perfect theory. It can never, ever, ever be disproven.”
At a Koch brothers event to raise money from billionaires no less…
Cruz’s theory, just like most of the gibberish that comes out of the mouths of GOP politicians, is complete garbage. Cruz basically selected a narrow slice of data that corroborated his anti-climate change views, then presented it is the ultimate proof that the planet is not heating up due to rising CO2 levels in the atmosphere. Conveniently ignoring other data sets that prove the exact opposite, Cruz also completely misinterpreted the supposedly definitive data proving no warming has occurred. Chris Mooney at the Washington Post spoke to the researcher Cruz has been quoting, Carl Mears, a physicist and senior scientist at Remote Sensing Systems. Mears told Mooney:
Mr. Cruz (and others who seek to minimize the threat posed by climate change) likes to cite statistics about the last 17 years because 17 years ago, the Earth was experiencing a large ENSO [El Nino-Southern Oscillation] event and the observed temperatures were substantially above normal, and above any long-term trend line a reasonable person would draw. When one starts their analysis on an extraordinarily warm year, the resulting trend is below the true long term trend. It’s like a pro baseball player deciding he’s having a batting slump three weeks after a game when he hit three homers because he’s only considering those three weeks instead of the whole season…..
My particular dataset (RSS tropospheric temperatures from MSU/AMSU satellites) show less warming than would be expected when compared to the surface temperatures. All datasets contain errors. In this case, I would trust the surface data a little more because the difference between the long term trends in the various surface datasets (NOAA, NASA GISS, HADCRUT, Berkeley etc) are closer to each other than the long term trends from the different satellite datasets. This suggests that the satellite datasets contain more “structural uncertainty” than the surface dataset.
The surface datasets are far more definitive: the earth is heating up, and fast.
The overwhelming scientific consensus is incredibly clear on the issue of global warming and the crisis our planet faces. We are entering, as Paul Ehrlich, the Bing Professor of Population Studies in biology and a senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, the sixth great mass extinction event – a huge loss of the earth’s biodiversity due to human activity, including the release of massive amount of CO2 that is causing ocean acidification, massive adaptation problems to complex and delicate eco systems, and migration challenges to species unable to cope with warming temperatures.
“It is always disturbing to hear science use the language of theology,” said Cruz and the Koch event. “Deniers. Heretics. That’s not what sicence is supposed to be about. Science should follow the facts.”
There is too much to unpack in this illogical, astonishingly hypocritical and self contradictory statement, but it is suffice to say that this sums Cruz’s ideology perfectly: Believe in the facts, but only when they work for you.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.