Ted Cruz’s Climate-Denial Hearing Attracts Cash From Coal CEO Bob Murray

Cruz appears to have won the Republican presidential candidates' race to the bottom on climate change, at least in part due to a farcical Senate hearing in December.

US Republican Presidential hopeful and Texas Senator Ted Cruz speaks as he chairs the Subcommittee on Space, Science and Competitiveness during a hearing on climate change on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, December 8, 2015. AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB / AFP / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images) Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

AS NEGOTIATORS from around the world gathered in Paris last December to draft an agreement to slow down climate change, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz was holding a hearing in Washington, D.C., to highlight the work of climate skeptics.

The hearing allowed Cruz to rail about “suppression of dissent, driven politically by global warming alarmists” and equate the widely accepted science of climate change with “partisan claims that run contrary to the science and data and evidence.”

Cruz was ridiculed in the mainstream press. NPR’s Steve Inskeep said: “If climate change were a TV show, [Cruz’s] hearing in Washington yesterday would be counterprogramming.”

But in one way, the hearing made perfect sense.

Next week, coal champion and Murray Energy CEO Bob Murray is hosting a fundraiser for Cruz. Murray didn’t go so far as to actually endorse Cruz — keeping his options open with Donald Trump — but he noted in an interview with The Hill that Cruz is the best candidate on coal. And he specifically cited the December 8 hearing as a reason for his material, if half-hearted, support.

Murray is the sine qua non of climate denying. The coal CEO has been a leader in the legal battle against the centerpiece of Obama’s climate policy, the Clean Power Plan, which would encourage states to switch their electricity generation away from coal and was temporarily halted by the Supreme Court last month.

He’s even gone so far as to threaten to sue the EPA over its factually rooted stance that climate change is real and caused by people.

In a Republican field where both major candidates have defended the continued burning of coal and denied that human-caused climate change is a real problem, Murray’s support indicates that Cruz has won a race for the bottom that might have been closer had he not gone all-in on Capitol Hill.

Join The Conversation