U.S. Senator Tom Udall, freshly back from Paris where he participated in a United Nations conference related to climate change, was one of several Democratic Senators in a high profile stand-off against Texas U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Ted Cruz on climate change.
Cruz chairs the Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard, which funds science programs that look at the effects of climate change, including funding for NASA.
Cruz also says that the threat of climate change is ginned up by “liberal politicians who want government power over the economy” as he recently said on NPR. In the past, he said, “Climate change is not science, it’s religion.”
Udall has a different view of things. He believes that climate change is happening and that human activity has contributed to it.
Ahead of the meeting, Udall called out Cruz.
“We need to stop debating whether climate change is real. The science is settled, and Senator Cruz is out of touch,” Udall said in a press conference. “The American people want action. Most of Congress wants action. We need to work together and lead the world in reducing carbon pollution and fighting global warming.”
Cruz’s committee hearing featured some scientists who are skeptical of at least some aspects of climate change, John Christy, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Alabama, Huntsville; Judith Curry, a climate scientist at the Georgia Institute of Technology; and William Happer, a physics professor at Princeton University.
It also featured Mark Steyn, a conservative radio host, also spoke.
Udall, meanwhile, spoke about U.N. COP21 in Paris.
“I was impressed by the excitement that people from all over the world feel about the efforts at COP21,” Udall said. “One hundred eighty-four countries are stepping forward with specific targets and specific plans to deal with climate change. Twenty-eight of the world’s billionaires have stepped forward to invest billions of dollars in innovation. They’re working together to find solutions, mobilizing governments around the world to do renewable energy research and spur innovation.”
Cruz is currently second in the national polls for the Republican presidential nomination, though well behind businessman Donald Trump, according to Pollster.com. Cruz is also second to Trump in Iowa by a much smaller, though still significant, margin and is polling in third in New Hampshire.