Unusually brutal winter weather is causing havoc in Texas, where roughly 3 million people were without power Wednesday morning and deaths from both the cold and carbon monoxide poisoning continue to mount. President Joe Biden approved the state’s request for an emergency declaration over the weekend, without the groveling that had become standard in the Trump era.
The Lone Star State’s brush with a grid-crippling climate catastrophe has reminded many of the downright antipathetic reactions Texas Republicans had last summer, when extreme heat necessitated rolling blackouts in parts of California. The Dem-led state’s enthusiasm for green energy sources has become a popular preoccupation for the climate change-denying, pro-petroleum crowd, and Senator Ted Cruz, Senator John Cornyn, and others didn’t miss the opportunity to ham-handedly politicize people’s suffering on social media.
Gizmodo’s Earther managing editor Brian Kahn gathered up a collection of tweets that were once merely grating and now come across as short-sighted and callous. Stunning though, several of the offending tweeters are currently doubling down, blaming green energy for the current calamity.
In August, Cruz—known in D.C. parlance as “a big asshole”—tweeted, “Biden/Harris/AOC want to make CA’s failed energy policy the standard nationwide. Hope you don’t like air conditioning!”
California is now unable to perform even basic functions of civilization, like having reliable electricity.
Biden/Harris/AOC want to make CA’s failed energy policy the standard nationwide.
Hope you don’t like air conditioning! https://t.co/UkKBq9HkoK
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) August 19, 2020
The next month, when CBS reported, “Scorching heat hits Southern California, leaving some areas without electricity,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton—who’s been under indictment for securities fraud since 2015—gushed, “California’s politicians did this, not the heat.”
California’s politicians did this, not the heat. https://t.co/wft1kFsHfX
— Attorney General Ken Paxton (@KenPaxtonTX) September 6, 2020
When Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick wasn’t suggesting that the way to solve the pandemic was for grandpa and grandma to take voluntary dirt naps, he was posting fire-and-brimstone imagery with the warning, “This is what happens when the Democrats are left in charge. Why California’s liberal climate policies are causing electricity blackouts.”
— Dan Patrick (@DanPatrick) August 20, 2020
Congressman Dan Crenshaw, known mostly because Pete Davidson once made fun of his porny ruggedness, may have laughed himself silly in September 2020, when he retweeted Mayor Eric Garcetti’s request that Angelenos make small adjustments to conserve energy along with the comment, “Alexa, show me what happens when you let Democrats control energy policy,” but he was in a more surly mood Tuesday when he claimed on Twitter that “leftists” were “cheering” a red state having energy problems.
With blackouts across Texas, many are wondering: what happened?
Leftists are cheering a “red state” having energy problems.
Here’s the truth about what happened. THREAD
— Dan Crenshaw (@DanCrenshawTX) February 16, 2021
In a thread, he went on to blame Texas’s current woes on—you guessed it—the failure of green energy sources, despite that a small fraction of the state’s grid is powered by wind turbines and other alternatives to fossil fuel. Many prominent Republicans began circulating an image of a frozen wind turbine that was revealed to have been taken in 2014 in Sweden, not in 2021 Texas.
Republican Governor Greg Abbott followed Crenshaw’s script-flipping lead, appearing on Sean Hannity’s Fox News program to blame his state’s current energy emergency on the Green New Deal. More observant viewers may have noted that the Green New Deal is not in effect nationwide, and certainly not in Texas.
After he was called on the 2020 tweets regarding California’s blackouts, Senator Cruz demonstrated something that almost borders on contrition, admitting on Twitter he couldn’t easily explain it away.
As Texans do their best to “stay safe!,” many need help ASAP, particularly low-income individuals and the unhoused. Fast Company produced a great roundup of ways people can chip in.
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