Overnight Energy: Cruz takes on ‘climate alarmists’

CLIMATE CRUSADE: Presidential hopeful Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzOvernight Defense: US launches another airstrike in Somalia | Amendment to expand Pentagon recusal period added to NDAA | No. 2 State Dept. official to lead nuclear talks with Russia No. 2 State Dept. official to lead nuclear talks with Russia next week Here's evidence the Senate confirmation process is broken MORE (R-Texas) used a Tuesday hearing he chaired to castigate "climate alarmists," including Democrats, John Kerry, Al Gore and others on climate change science.

Cruz, who doesn't believe the world is warming, repeatedly cited data showing an 18-year pause in global warming to hit home his point that people who believe in climate change are being dogmatic and ignoring the data.

"According to the satellite data, there has been no significant global warming for the past 18 years," he said at the hearing of a subpanel of the Senate Commerce Committee. "Those are the data. Global warming alarmists don't like these data. They are inconvenient to their narrative. But facts and evidence matter."


Cruz takes a different position on climate change than most of the Republican field for the 2016 race, refusing to say even that global warming is happening, let alone what causes it or what should be done.

"Public policy should follow science and evidence and data," Cruz said, repeating that the data shows no warming.

He also clashed with the Democrats and their sole witness at the hearing.

"Any time you hear people say scientists should not question the conventional wisdom, you are hearing someone advocating essentially for the abolition of science," Cruz said after Sen. Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzOn The Money: Stocks fall as COVID-19 fears rattle market | Schumer sets infrastructure showdown | Dems struggle to sell agenda The Hill's Morning Report - Surging COVID-19 infections loom over US, Olympics Democrats ramp up spending sales pitch MORE (D-Hawaii) said 97 percent of scientists believe that humans are the main cause of climate change.

Read more here.

DEMS SAY CRUZ, GOP DENY SCIENCE: Democrats hammered Cruz for calling the hearing.

"The only thing that requires a thorough scientific investigation is why Sen. Cruz is having a hearing on climate science," Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) said during a press conference before the hearing.

"This is no longer debate across the entire planet. They're all there. The last group of deniers are the Republican Congress. The last sub-cult of deniers are the Republicans on the Senate Commerce Committee."

Democrats, a group of whom went to Paris this weekend to take part in a climate change conference, said the hearing showed how little many leading Republicans respect climate science.

The Democrats' witness, a retired Navy admiral and federal meteorologist, was there to make the case that complete agreement on the science isn't a prerequisite for taking action on climate change.

"Intelligence is never 100 percent, science is never 100 percent, but if commanders have the type of certainty that we have on climate change, there would be no hesitation on the part of those military commanders to begin operations," Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) said.  

They added, too, that the hearing could shake the international perception of the United States' willingness to move forward with climate change plans.

"Just as America finally reclaimed the moral and political high ground when it comes to climate, moving into the COP 21 Paris climate talks, Ted Cruz is attempting to undermine America's leadership on this issue," Schatz said.

Read more here.  

BISHOP EXPLAINS CONSERVATION WORK: The Republican chairman pushing for an overhaul of a popular federal conservation program defended Tuesday his decision to allow the program to lapse earlier this year.

Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah), the chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, wrote Tuesday that the Land and Water Conservation Fund is "broken," and that it needs to be restored to its original functions.

"Since I chose to let the fund expire -- due to fundamental flaws -- on Sept. 30, a few have hurled criticisms and impugned the motives of members of Congress for wanting to reform the LWCF," he wrote in a Politico op-ed.

"Efforts to blindly reauthorize the LWCF are denying the fact that the law's original intent to develop recreational opportunities close to home for more Americans was perverted long ago."

The LWCF expired at the end of September, though it received money from a short-term funding bill this fall.

Bishop introduced a bill in November to shift LWCF funding from federal to state programs and set limits on what the federal government can use its funding for. LWCF supporters -- including some Republicans -- oppose Bishop's push, but he says it's important that the program go toward supporting states rather than the federal government.

"Congress has an obligation to evaluate the laws that have been on the books for decades, and when found failing, improve them," he wrote.

"The LWCF is one of those laws. By acknowledging the successes and failures of the LWCF, we can end its longstanding abuses and restore its benefit to more and more Americans."

ON TAP WEDNESDAY: Interior Secretary Sally Jewell will testify at a House Natural Resources Committee hearing about the mine waste spill in Colorado in August. The Bureau of Reclamation, part of the Interior Department, conducted a review of the spill and its causes.


Some at the Paris climate conference are pushing negotiators to embrace a particularly ambitious climate change target in a final deal, the Washington Post reports.

New Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R) has appointed a former coal executive to lead the state's Energy and Environment Cabinet, the Lexington Herald-Leader reports.  

Maryland Democrats are pushing a bill that would require the state receive 25 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020, as well as pump $40 million into a green jobs fund, the Baltimore Sun reports.


Check out Tuesday's stories ...

-Obama working the phones for climate deal in Paris
-Cruz blasts climate 'alarmists'
-Major utility to quit ALEC
-Dems slam Cruz for stacking hearing with climate change 'deniers'
-Sanders bills aim for 10 million clean energy jobs
-EPA chief: US is ready to push forward on climate change