By Elaine Magliaro
After the midterm elections in November, I wrote a post titled Will Climate Change Denier James Inhofe Become Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee When Republicans Take Over the Senate in January? I’m sorry to tell you that last Wednesday morning the Senator from Oklahoma officially took the gavel as chairman of that committee. Then–later that day–Inhofe “took the Senate floor for a long speech about how human-caused climate change is fake.”
Although Inhofe voted on Wednesday with 97 other senators to acknowledge that climate change is not a hoax, he explained why he had done so in his floor speech. He claimed “there was ‘Biblical evidence’ of climate change, but that humans were not responsible for it.”
Philip Bump (Washington Post):
The climate changes all the time, he said, citing both scientific and “Biblical evidence.” There was a hoax: the idea that man was responsible. Such a position was “arrogant,” in his formulation, the idea that people could affect the mechanisms that controlled the globe. With that distinction drawn — the climate changes, and that change isn’t a hoax, even if the role of humans is — the vote was held. Only Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) voted ‘no.’
Emily Atkin of ThinkProgress provided a summary of Inhofe’s speech:
In sum, the speech has everything. References to the oft-debunked “ClimateGate” stolen e-mail “scandal”, a poster of a Time Magazine cover from 1974 claiming an ice age is coming, and multiple references to former Vice President Al Gore. It has a mention of a survey of weather-casters who think global warming is caused by natural variation, but does not mention that weather-casters are not climate scientists. It even includes the claim that the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change “started” the whole idea that climate change is happening, even though the idea was conceived about 200 years ago.
Atkin said that the video begins a couple of minutes into the senator’s speech, “with a quote from Richard Lindzen, a former MIT professor and one of the most-cited voices of scientists who think global warming is fake.” She added that Lindzen–who is an atmospheric physicist–“has often been characterized as having contrarian scientific opinions.” She noted that Lindzen has also claimed that evidence that cigarettes can cause lung cancer isn’t “so strong that one should rule that any questions were out of order.”
Jeremy Schulman of Mother Jones wrote that Inhofe “once again cited the Bible to argue that the climate does indeed change but that humans aren’t the cause.” Inhofe said, “Climate is changing, and climate has always changed. There’s archeological evidence of that. There’s biblical evidence of that. There’s historic evidence of that.” Inhofe continued: “The hoax is that there are some people who are so arrogant to think that they are so powerful, they can change climate. Man can’t change climate.”
Atkin said that behind Inhofe at the beginning of the video there was a list of 4,000 “climate scientists” who disagree “with the vast majority of climate scientists who say human-caused carbon emissions are contributing to climate change.” Inhofe said that he had compiled that list. Atkin explained that Inhofe’s list of “renowned scientists” actually had “650 people, some of whom are television meteorologists, geologists, anthropologists, and even a man with no college degree.”
Conversely, one of the most recent peer-reviewed studies on the state of climate science showed that out of 4000 abstracts from peer-reviewed papers published in the past 21 years that stated a position on the cause of global warming — 97 percent of these endorsed the point that it was human-caused. In the video, Inhofe says this is “just not true.”
Ain’t it grand to have a senator who denies that humans have contributed to climate change serving as Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee?
Senate rejects link between human activity and climate change (Washington Post)
Jim Inhofe flips the script on Democratic climate-change-is-a-hoax vote (Washington Post)