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Jim Inhofe is the senior U. S. Senator from Oklahoma and the ranking Republican member of the Senate’s Committee on Environment and Public Works. He will presumably chair that committee again if his party regains control of the Senate in this November’s elections. Senator Inhofe is one of America’s most prominent and vocal climate change deniers, the man who built the igloo on Capitol grounds after Washington’s heavy snowstorm in February 2010. He labeled the igloo “Al Gore’s new home” in derision of the former Vice President’s “Inconvenient Truth” arguments that human-caused global warming exists.
The Senator has multiple objections to talk of human-caused global warming and to doing anything about it. One is religious, as he said in an interview carried on “Right Wing Watch”:
Inhofe: Well actually the Genesis 8:22 that I use in there is that ‘as long as the earth remains there will be seed time and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, day and night,’ my point is, God’s still up there. The arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous.
A second is his dislike of big government. His book, “The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future,” was published in February 2012 with this summary:
Americans are over-regulated and over-taxed. When regulation escalates, the result is an increase in regulators. In other words, bigger government is required to enforce the greater degree of regulation. Bigger government means bigger budgets and higher taxes. “More” simply doesn’t mean “better.” A perfect example is the entire global warming, climate-change issue, which is an effort to dramatically and hugely increase regulation of each of our lives and business, and to raise our cost of living and taxes. In The Greatest Hoax, Senator James Inhofe will reveal the reasons behind those perpetuating the Hoax of global warming, who is benefitting from the general acceptance of the Hoax and why the premise statements are blatantly and categorically false.
You might ask whether 2011′s severe drought in the Senator’s home state, or recent headlines such as “July was hottest month on record in U.S. – Temperature readings top those recorded in Dust Bowl era” and “Scorched Earth in the Midwest” might soften the Senator’s conviction, particularly since he has farmers as well as oil men among his Oklahoma constituents. But no, he keeps charging like a boxer who’s willing to take two punches to land one. Just yesterday a Tulsa newspaper headlined “Inhofe disputes link between heat wave, droughts and climate change” in response to James Hansen’s findings that recent extreme weather events come from human-caused global warming (see my recent post “Presidents as Fiduciaries”).
All of us would be delighted if Senator Inhofe were right, that man-caused global warming is only a liberal fairy tale, and that we can safely continue to do almost nothing about it while we go on burning four cubic miles of fossil fuels a year. But climate science, and lots of hot, dry weather, is landing some pretty hard punches on the climate change denier’s mental fortress, and I don’t think the denier can win.
Image By Tomas Castelazo (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons