AP FACT CHECK: On climate science, most GOP candidates fail

23 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

AP FACT CHECK: On climate science, most GOP candidates fail.

WASHINGTON (AP) — When it comes to climate science, two of the three Democratic presidential candidates are ‘A’ students, while most of the Republican contenders are flunking, according to a panel of scientists who reviewed candidates’ comments. EDITOR’S NOTE _ This story, assessing political claims that take shortcuts with the facts or don’t tell the full story, is part of an occasional series focusing on the science, the costs and the challenges of climate change around the world ahead of a summit in Paris.

At the request of The Associated Press, eight climate and biological scientists graded for scientific accuracy what a dozen top candidates said in debates, interviews and tweets, using a 0 to 100 scale. Ted Cruz said in a video released earlier this week that “one of the worst examples of the left’s scare tactics is the lies they continue to spread concerning the issue of so-called global warming.” His taped remarks were delivered Thursday at the Texas Public Policy Foundation‘s second annual At the Crossroads: Energy & Climate Policy Summit. To try to eliminate possible bias, the candidates’ comments were stripped of names and given randomly generated numbers, so the professors would not know who made each statement they were grading. John Cornyn (R-TX), Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX), Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, Stephen Moore of the Heritage Foundation, Marc Morano of Climate Depot and James Taylor of the Heartland Institute. “The president’s radical attempt to destabilize the nation’s energy system is flatly illegal,” Cruz said. “And unless it is invalidated by Congress, struck down by the courts or, hopefully, rescinded by the next administration, it will cause Americans’ electricity costs to skyrocket at a time when those who are struggling can least afford it. This is the chasm between Democrats and Republicans — it is not even a debate. “It’s our wake-up call — the alarm bells are ringing and as long as I’m president, America will lead the world to meet this threat before it’s too late,” Mr Obama said, before heading to Alaska to spend time with Bear Grylls, eat bear-chewed Salmon and see disappearing glaciers. “For all the immediate challenges that we gather to address this week — terrorism, instability, inequality, disease — there’s one issue that will define the contours of this century more dramatically than any other, and that is the urgent and growing threat of a changing climate,” he told the UN last year.

What the Obama administration is doing to harm the American economy is the sort of power grab that our founders would have recognized as tyranny.” His comments came just a day after he and 51 other senators approved two resolutions rejecting the U.S. Americans do not put it that high on their agenda (“the economy, stupid”), but three-quarters of the US population now agrees climate change is a problem. “The scientific community is virtually unanimous: climate change is real, it is caused by human activity, and we have a moral responsibility,” Bernie Sanders said in the first Democrat presidential debate.

Hillary Clinton pledged to have “500 million more solar panels installed by the end of my first term and enough renewable electricity to power every home in America within 10 years”, when she secured the backing of the League of Conservation Voters earlier this month. “This very expensive global warming bullshit has got to stop. Our planet is freezing, record low temps, and our GW scientists are stuck in ice,” Donald Trump tweeted last year. “It’s called weather, [it] changes and you have storms and you have rain and you have beautiful days,” Mr Trump said when rebutting Pope Francis’s plea for action on climate change to the American people. “So we are not going to destroy our economy. None have said they would explicitly take action if elected or offered specific proposals to reduce emissions. “Well if I were an international observer I would be concerned about that, but I think people following the US closely realise that the measures the president is taking now are ones that would be extraordinarily hard to reverse under even a conservative government,” Nigel Purvis, former US climate change negotiator to president Bill Clinton, president George W Bush and presidential candidate Barack Obama, said. “Just as the Republican Congress has been vowing now, for seven to eight years, to undo the president’s signature health care law and hasn’t been able to do so. All eight put Cruz at the bottom of the class. “This individual understands less about science (and climate change) than the average kindergartner,” Michael Mann, a Pennsylvania State University meteorology professor, wrote of Cruz’s statements. “That sort of ignorance would be dangerous in a doorman, let alone a president.” Vermont Sen.

The American delegation at the COP21 will be empowered by those voices, not held back by the desperate efforts of the most extreme pro-polluter interests.” Cruz and other GOP’s, including Sen. Bernie Sanders, with an 87, had the lowest score among the Democrats, dinged for an exaggeration when he said global warming could make Earth uninhabitable. And they’re drilling a hole and digging anywhere in the world that they can get ahold of.” Scientists dispute Rubio’s argument that because China is now the top emitter, the U.S. can do little to change the future climate. The U.S. spews about 17 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions, “so big cuts here would still make a big difference globally,” said geochemist Louisa Bradtmiller at Macalester College in St. Rubio’s inference that China is not doing much about global warming “is out of date,” said Andrew Dessler, a climate scientist at Texas A&M University.

At an August event In California’s Orange County, Cruz told an interviewer, “If you look at satellite data for the last 18 years, there’s been zero warming. … Regardless of what we do, some humans will survive.” Harvard’s Jim McCarthy also called the comment an overstatement, as did other scientists when Sanders said it.

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