Published on LinkedIn Pulse March 23, 2015
Originally published here thanks to Patrick M. Andedall
Why Senator James Inhofe would be hilarious except that he is real, he is serious, and he has a lot of power on climate issues.
If a parody comedy movie were to be made about stupidity and ideological blindness of the cognitive dissonance variety in government, there are number of amusing paths the director and producers could choose to take. Perhaps they could concoct a secretary of defense or a four star general who is a pure pacifist. Or how about a surgeon general who is a Christian Scientist? A Supreme Court justice who is illiterate? A president who is a nihilist or an anarchist? Perhaps an attorney general who only has experience as a personal injury lawyer? A Creationist to run to Department of Education? Maybe an Amish person to run the Department of Energy? OR… what about a climate change denier to chair the United States Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works? Oh boy, that would be hilarious… in a fictional movie…
Except that last one ain’t fiction. It’s reality.
And in that situation, as a major figure in the government most responsible for pollution and global warming issues, that person is not even remotely funny. He is dangerous, a disgrace, and pathetic, as is the system and nation that allows this to take place.
Ladies and gentleman, let me introduce you to Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma (Washington, DC, office: (202) 224-4721), Chairman of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, all-around indicator of the farce that has become policymaking in the Republican Party and in Washington in general, and Christian warrior against science (just the latest in a long history of powerful Christian figures, beginning with St. Paul himself, who have been part of Christianity’s and religion’s longstanding war against science and philosophy.
Inhofe, it should first be acknowledged, gets more money for his campaigns and elections from the oil, gas, and energy industries than any other contributors, and they are the industries that stand to lose the most from any robust actions designed to combat global warming. He has even written a book attacking the whole concept of man-made climate change/global warming, titled: The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future. And while he is a regular fountain of anti-climate-science-nonsense, some of his absurdities are so outlandish that they deserve to be quoted here; in one instance, Inhofe asserted that “Climate is changing, and climate has always changed…There’s archaeological evidence of that. There’s biblical evidence of that. There’s historic evidence of that…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.” Adding to this, another time he exclaimed that “The arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He [God] is doing in the climate is to me outrageous.” He even cites the Bible as evidence against science: “I take my religion seriously…this what a lot of alarmists forget: God is still up there, and He promised to maintain the seasons and that cold and heat would never cease as long as the earth remains…one of my favorite Bible verses” is Genesis 8:22, which reads as follows: “As long as the earth remains/There will be springtime and harvest/Cold and heat, winter and summer.” And who are scientists to dispute Genesis?
Yes, Inhofe and his like-minded anachronisms (including 2016 presidential hopefuls Jeb Bush and Sen. Ted Cruz, as well as the 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin) who dominate the Republican Partyfancy themselves brave skeptics, holding back the flooding tide of hysterical liberal climate scare activists. But to be skeptical is to demand hard evidence in the absence of such evidence, or to demand more such evidence when that evidence is limited, if you are presented with a claim about something. And this is most definitely not what Inhofe, the Republican party, and those challenging climate science are doing; rather, they are flat out denying heaps and mounds of the very evidence that would more than satisfy any skeptic or skepticism on the issue.
Let’s be clear about what we are talking about here. The overwhelming preponderance of evidence—and by overwhelming, I mean that only 24 out of 13,950 peer-reviewed studies from 1991-2012 and only 2 out of 10,855 in 2013 rejected man-made global warming/climate change as a reality. That’s right, just 26 out of 25,182 peer-reviewed scientific articles in roughly the last quarter-century have outright and clearly rejected the concept that human activity is the driving force behind incredibly rapid and dangerous climate change that could threaten the entire world order and way of life. That’s barely more than 0.1%, or 1 in 1,000. Geologist James Lawrence Powell, whose convincing and very sound methodology gave us these numbers, concludes that this information can tell us that “1. There [is sic] a mountain of scientific evidence in favor of anthropogenic global warming and no convincing evidence against it” and “2. Those who deny anthropogenic global warming have no alternative theory to explain the observed rise in atmospheric CO2 and global temperature.” In other words, there is no debate, just a consensus and a lunatic fringe. And “the inquisition” attacking the sound science behind the realities of man-made global warming/climate change are increasingly being debunked and/or linked to powerful corporate interests, like the oil/gas/energy industry, that face difficulty if world governments do what they need to do to limit greenhouse gas emissions and other activity contributing to these undeniable trends. One meta-study even concluded that, unless policies are changed soon, “ocean life faces mass extinction.” And just this past year of 2014 was the warmest year on record, and this current winter is the warmest winter on record.
This lunatic fringe would not be a problem, then, except that this lunatic fringe has hijacked the leadership of one of the two major parties in American politics to the degree that our legislative branch of government has one of these lunatics running its most powerful body that deals with climate change and global warming. These people appropriating the term skeptic is a disservice to that very term and shows them to be ignorant of its very meaning, and we must call them what they are: climate science deniers, because man-made climate change is undeniably real and undeniably a problem. Until the modern era, only the mass economic activity of ancient Rome was on a scale capable of altering climate, and the contributions to air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from that ancient time period are not in doubt. But from the industrial revolution in the eighteenth century onward, man-made pollution has once again happened on a massive scale and is today occurring on a much, much larger scale than in the Roman period, driving many destructive changes across the world’s climate in the past few decades.
Inhofe’s latest stunt attacking the science behind global warming was to highlight the fact that it was cold in Washington, DC; cold enough for him to bring a snowball from outside the Capitol and throw it on the floor of the U.S. Senate while he was addressing his fellow senators… The mind boggling thing is that he actually seems to think that a cold spell or snow in Washington in (GASP!) winter, of all times, is somehow sufficient proof that a general trend of global warming is not actually happening. See, Republicans like Inhofe seem to continually confuse the concepts of climate and weather, climate being the long-term pattern of weather. A quiet person may scream, yell, and fight once in a while, but on any given day there is a strong chance you will not find him or her engaging in such behavior. Republican approaches to climate science are the equivalent of someone pointing to this quiet person during an out-of-the-ordinary loud outburst and claiming that this is proof that the person is not quiet. Republicans are not even equipped, then, with a basic understanding of the terms or concepts essential to understanding these climate issues.
The bottom line is that Inhofe would be a farce and a joke if not for the fact that he arguably wields as much power as anyone else in the U.S. government when it comes to the environment and policy related to global warming and climate change. And he has made it clear he will wield this power in any way he can to can to defeat those who want to take action to combat global warming and climate change’s dangerous and catastrophic effects. And, when it comes to this “disturbing” fact, there is nothing funny, nothing to laugh about, at all.