Recently, Senator Ted Cruz did an interview on ‘Late Night’ with host Seth Meyers where the topic of climate change was brought up. Well, from the get-go it was fairly obvious that Meyers specifically brought up this topic to mock the Texas senator about the subject.
However, judging from Cruz’s responses to Meyers’ comments, he was either too dense to understand that he was being mocked or he simply didn’t care as long as he was being given a national audience to push the typical right-wing anti-climate change nonsense.
Either way, the exchange was about what you would have expected; Meyers took some witty jabs at Cruz’s statements on climate change, while the senator spouted off the usual “the planet isn’t getting warmer” rhetoric you often hear from many Republicans.
During the exchange, Cruz made the very specific claim that for the last 17 years Earth hasn’t gotten any warmer. Now, when he said the number “17” I couldn’t help but wonder, “Why that number?” A good rule to go by whenever someone is discussing a certain period of time is to always be skeptical of anyone who uses very specific numbers, and verify the information by looking for a legitimate source.
Not surprisingly, Cruz cherry-picked data to come up with the “17 years” figure. Fact-checking site Politifact gave Cruz’s remarks a rating of “Mostly False” based on the fact that he blatantly misrepresented the climate data he quoted.
While it’s true that since 1998 temperatures have been mostly flat, 14 of the hottest years on record have occurred since that date. Not only that, but the reason why that date is so important is because we saw an unusually powerful El Nino that released a tremendous amount of heat into the atmosphere.
Then when you look at overall temperatures since the 60’s and 70’s, there’s been a drastic increase. If we expand the timeframe even more, over the last century there’s been an almost constant rise as our population around the world has exploded and humans began using massive amounts of fossil fuels. It never ceases to amaze me how these climate change deniers look at the data showing the rise in temperatures coinciding with the rise of our use of fossil fuels – yet they don’t think that the two are related at all.
That’s just willful ignorance; I’d imagine it actually takes some real effort to be that dense.
So, when Cruz used the “17 year” window, he did so deliberately knowing that nearly all the information prior to that year supports the overwhelming consensus among the scientific community that climate change is real and that humans are causing it.
“A temporary slowdown does not negate 200 years of climate research,” said Rob Jackson, a professor of earth system science at Stanford University.
But this is just another example, in a seemingly endless list of them, where Republicans seem to proudly show off the fact that they are completely unable to see the “big picture” on anything. Then again, these are the people who still don’t seem to understand that there’s a difference between “weather” and “climate.”