This story was originally published by the Guardian and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.
Ted Cruz officially kicked off the long U.S. presidential campaign when he declared his candidacy last week, but his anti-environmental rhetoric has already set the stage for a looming war over whether climate change denial is a legitimate barrier to the most powerful job in the world.
Leading scientists are preparing for an American election in which global warming may receive much higher billing than before — and Republicans’ statements will be exposed to a level of scrutiny they have not formally had to deal with.
Cruz, the red-meat Texas senator with an army of conservative followers, raised eyebrows on March 24 when he told the Texas Tribune that people who believe global warming is real are “the equivalent of the flat-Earthers.”
“It used to be it is accepted scientific wisdom the Earth is flat, and this heretic named Galileo was branded a denier,” Cruz said.
The comments were emblematic of the environmental threat that has plagued the Republican party for years. Buoyed by the oil and gas companies and fossil-fuel-fun... Read more