Cruz tees up panel on warming after taunting Obama

By Hannah Northey | 12/07/2015 06:52 AM EST

After poking fun at President Obama’s call for action at climate talks in Paris last week, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), a GOP presidential candidate, is scheduled to convene a hearing on the effect of money and politics on climate research.

Cruz, a well-known climate doubter and chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Subcommittee on Space, Science and Competitiveness, invited a handful of professors who have expressed doubt about climate change science in the past — as well as an author at the center of an escalating legal fight — to discuss climate science, the effect funding has on the objectivity of research and ways in which politics can suppress opposing viewpoints.

Cruz is likely to use the hearing as a platform for questioning Obama’s priorities after the president joined 150 world leaders in Paris this month for landmark climate negotiations.


The senator last week accused Obama of mistakenly focusing on the threat of emissions over terrorism (ClimateWire, Dec. 2). "Instead of focusing on the perceived threat to national security of the SUV in your driveway, President Obama should be standing up and leading to defeat radical Islamic terrorism," Cruz said during an interview in the Capitol. "But he refuses to confront the very real threats facing America today."

The hearing will feature a number of climate doubters, including John Christy, a climate scientist at the University of Alabama, Huntsville, who disputes the consensus on human-induced climate change; Judith Curry, a climatologist at the Georgia Institute of Technology; and William Happer, a professor of physics at Princeton University.

Also testifying will be Mark Steyn, the Canadian National Review writer and author of "Climate Change: The Facts" who told attendees at the Heartland Institute’s International Conference on Climate Change this summer that his claim to fame is calling fraudulent the well-known "hockey stick" theory that Michael Mann — a climate scientist at Pennsylvania State University — has developed.

Mann filed a lawsuit after Steyn quoted a Competitive Enterprise Institute blog post on his global warming research that compared the professor to Jerry Sandusky — the former Penn State assistant football coach now in prison on sex abuse charges — and accused him of fraud. CEI later took down the reference, but National Review refused Mann’s retraction request.

"I’ve made no useful scientific contribution," Steyn said at the conference in July. "I’ve basically only been invited here because … I’m being sued by the inventor of the global warming hockey stick, Michael Mann. I wish that were a more exclusive club, actually."

The lone call for action to thwart the effects of climate change will likely come from the Democratic minority’s witness, Rear Adm. David Titley, formerly of the Naval Oceanography Operations Command, who recently joined Sherri Goodman, President Clinton’s deputy undersecretary of Defense, in calling on politicians to stop politicking on the issue of global warming (Greenwire, June 10).

Titley has predicted that as more Arctic ice melts, nations may want to revise the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, especially with regard to fish stocks moving north due to rising ocean temperatures. If that happens, he has said, nations like China could potentially file claims on Arctic resources while the United States would be left out of the negotiation process (E&E Daily, Oct. 1).

According to the committee, more witnesses may be added.

Schedule: The hearing is Tuesday, Dec. 8, at 3 p.m. in 253 Russell.

Witnesses: John Christy, professor of atmospheric science and director at the University of Alabama, Huntsville, Earth System Science Center; Judith Curry, chairwoman of the Georgia Institute of Technology’s School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences; William Happer, professor of physics at Princeton University; Mark Steyn, author; and Rear Adm. David Titley, former naval oceanography operations commander and professor of meteorology at Pennsylvania State University.