Mar 30, 2015 03:53 PM EDT
Sen. Ted Cruz's recent comments in which he compared himself to Galileo and denied global warming have not only been ridiculed by historians and commentators, but also completely debunked.
According to Yahoo! News, Senator Cruz (R) of Texas, who recently announced he plans to run for president in 2016, said in an interview with The Texas Tribune that current day "global warming alarmists" are comparable to flat-Earthers and that those who speak out against the prevailing consensus on global warming - like himself - are really the Galileo Galilees of this time.
"Today, the global warming alarmists are the equivalent of the flat-Earthers. It used to be [that] it is accepted scientific wisdom the Earth is flat, and this heretic named Galileo was branded a denier," Cruz said in the interview.
The problem is that Galileo was never considered a heretic for saying that the Earth is round. In fact, by the time that Galileo began his struggle with the Catholic Church in the 17th century, it had long been accepted that the Earth is round. The first circumnavigation of the globe was completed by Ferdinand Magellan in 1522 - almost half a century before Galileo was born.
Rather, Galileo was considered a heretic for defending the Copernican system, which proposed that the sun - not the Earth - was the center of the universe and that the Earth revolved around it.
But Cruz's controversial statements don't stop there. According to Forbes, he also said that scientific evidence does not support the prevailing view on global warming.
"And many of the alarmists on global warming, they've got a problem cause the science doesn't back them up. And in particular, satellite data demonstrate for the last 17 years, there's been zero warming. None whatsoever," he said.
Cruz went on to reference a 1970s Newsweek article on global cooling and stated that since the evidence didn't back up the theory of cooling temperatures, its advocates suddenly adopted the opposite scenario of global warming and that they proposed the same solution: government control of the energy sector and every aspect of citizens' lives.
The problem is that this too is wrong. According to factcheck.org, the American Meteorological Society (AMS) published a survey of peer-reviewed studies conducted on the matter and found that between 1965 and 1979, only seven papers providing evidence for global cooling were published, compared to 44 papers that predicted global warming.
Although it is true that scientists in the 1970s had not yet determined the relative importance of greenhouse gases, which are responsible for the warming of the planet, and, on the other hand, aerosol emissions which could lower temperatures, the AMS states that by the end of the decade, global warming was more of a concern for scientists than global cooling.
Regarding global temperatures, Cruz also makes the mistake of choosing an arbitrary year to start looking at warming trends. Since 17 years ago was the year 1998, it happens that this was one of the hottest years on record. If he would have chosen a year earlier or later - 1997 or 1999 -, the data would yield that there has been between one-fifth and a quarter of a degree of warming.
A look at trends over a longer stretch of time - as shown in the NASA chart below - indicates that temperatures have steadily gone up since record-keeping began in the 1880s.
If Cruz is pointing to science to find evidence for one view over the other, then it seems that the facts are on the side of the "global warming alarmists."
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