Checking Cruz’s claim on the term “climate change”

As previously noted, Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz likes to claim that climate scientists have in “the past two or three years” switched to talking about climate change rather than global warming. In reality, of course, both terms have been in widespread use since at least the 1950s. (See for example the scientific paper titled “The Carbon Dioxide Theory of Climate Change” published in 1956.) Human-caused global warming is the underlying problem, and climate change (including changing wind and rainfall patterns and the like, not just warmer weather) is the result.

The three-minute video below brings this home by showing a series of political leaders talking about the reality and danger of human-caused climate change, a list that includes British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and U.S. Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush. This demonstrates not just that Cruz is wrong about a supposed change in terminology, it also shows him to be in disagreement not just with the scientific community but with conservative statesmen of the recent past, including the last two Republican presidents. (Unfortunately, John Kasich is the only current GOP presidential candidate who doesn’t join with Cruz in denying established science.)

The video below suffers from annoying background music at the start and insists on beating its point so deep into the ground that it risks hitting magma, but it certainly does get across the complete absurdity of Cruz’s claim.

Best of all, we get to see President George W Bush in June of 2001 talking intelligently about climate change and explaining how human activities cause it. If you don’t have time to watch the whole thing, skip ahead to the 2-minute mark by sliding the little marker on the timeline. For all President Bush’s flaws, he was well ahead of the current leading candidates of his party. (You can read a transcript of Bush’s speech here.)


If you didn’t see it already, you can find a clip of Cruz trying to dispute global warming with a former Chief Oceanographer of the United States Navy in this earlier post.

(Updated 2016 June 3 to add a link the the 1956 Gilbert Plass paper on climate change.)

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Checking Cruz’s claim on the term “climate change” — 3 Comments

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