Meet the New Science-Denying Chairman of the Senate Environment Committee

It's not unlike hiring Pat Buchanan as the new head of the NAACP.
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It's not unlike hiring Pat Buchanan as the new head of the NAACP.

George Carlin once said, "If you have selfish, ignorant citizens you're gonna have selfish, ignorant leaders." His theory is easily vindicated by a look at the too-successful career of Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK). With the ascendency of a GOP majority in the U.S. Senate, Inhofe is expected to take over the chairmanship of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, which is not unlike hiring Pat Buchanan as the new head of the NAACP.

Talk radio and Fox News screechers aside, Inhofe is the political face of climate change denialism, and now he'll have significant jurisdiction over which environmental laws make it to the floor, as well as control over the chairman's gavel during hearings that'll surely host far too many non-experts to contribute nonsensical testimonials to the official record.

So, as a matter of review, let's take a look at Inhofe's greatest hits and why he's phenomenally wrong.

INHOFE MYTH: "this 97% [of climate scientists accepting human-caused global warming], that doesn't mean anything. I named literally thousands of scientists on the floor...and these were top people." --March 2012

FACT:97 percent of scientists agreeing on climate change is absolutely significant.

INHOFE MYTH: "the cost to the American taxpayers [of climate legislation] would be between 3 and 4 hundred billion dollars a year" --March 2012

FACT:The financial benefits of a carbon tax far exceed the cost.

INHOFE MYTH: "Regarded as the 'greatest scandal of our generation' by the UK Telegraph, “Climategate,” as the scandal is called, discloses what scientists over the years had been telling me: the so-called “consensus” is simply wrong." --March 2011

FACT:Investigations failed to uncover any wrongdoing in the "Climategate" scandal.

INHOFE MYTH: "In 2007, I released my first report detailing over 400 scientists who rejected the so-called “consensus” that global warming is causing a planetary disaster; today, that list stands at well over 700 scientists." --March 2011

FACT: We can probably find 700 "experts" who think chemtrails and the Yeti are real.

INHOFE MYTH: "In short, some parts of the IPCC process resembled a Soviet-style trial, in which the facts are predetermined, and ideological purity trumps technical and scientific rigor. " -- July 2003

FACT: Evidence shows that the IPCC is lowballing the impact of climate change.

INHOFE MYTH: "The now-infamous "hockey stick" graph was enthusiastically embraced by the IPCC, which used it as a basis of the Third Assessment. Dr. Michael Mann of the University of Virginia was its principal author. The study, which Mann and others conducted, examines climate trends over the past 1,000 years. As many scientists have pointed out since its publication, it contains many flaws. " --July 2003

FACT:Study after peer-reviewed study supports the science behind unprecedented warming.

INHOFE MYTH: "For the last several minutes I have been talking about natural climate variability over the past 1,000 years. But we can go back even further in history to see dramatic changes in climate that had nothing to do with SUVs or power plants. " --July 2003

FACT:Past warming spikes were based on other environmental factors and are significantly less severe than today's warming trend.

INHOFE MYTH: "Energy suppression, as official government and non-partisan private analyses have amply confirmed, means higher prices for food, medical care, and electricity, as well as massive job losses and drastic reductions in gross domestic product, all the while providing virtually no environmental benefit. In other words: a raw deal for the American people and a crisis for the poor." --July 2003

FACT:Poor Americans, and especially poor nations, are the most vulnerable to the impact of the climate crisis.

INHOFE MYTH: "It's also important to question whether global warming is even a problem for human existence. Thus far no one has seriously demonstrated any scientific proof that increased global temperatures would lead to the catastrophes predicted by alarmists. In fact, it appears that just the opposite is true: that increases in global temperatures may have a beneficial effect on how we live our lives. " --July 2003

FACT:While increased rainfall might benefit drier regions, the negative effects, such as stronger and more frequent storms and flooding, far exceeds the relatively minor benefits.

INHOFE MYTH: "I would like to submit at the end of my remarks a July 8 editorial by former Carter Administration Energy Secretary James Schlesinger on the science of climate change. In that editorial, Dr. Schlesinger takes issue with alarmists who assert there is a scientific consensus supporting their views." --July 2003

FACT:So what? Again, 97 percent consensus!

INHOFE MYTH: "Appell and Blix sound very much like those who warned us in the 1970s that the planet was headed for a catastrophic global cooling." --July 2003

FACT:Most of the studies from the 1970s indicated a severe warming trend.

INHOFE MYTH: "C02 does not cause catastrophic disasters-actually it would be benefitical to our environment and our economy." --July 2003

FACT:Water is necessary to sustain life, too, but being submerged in it can be deadly.

Inhofe is the Alex Jones of the Senate. He shouldn't be allowed to watch environmental committee hearings much less chair them. He's also a fantastic example as to why there needs to be an aptitude test in order to run for national office. Furthermore, his "side" of the argument isn't a "side" at all, that is unless our government is now in the business of offering a voice to crackpots who are incapable of grasping proven reality. If three percent of Americans said "the sky is green, not blue" it doesn't make them a side -- nor does it make the color of the sky debatable.

SOURCE: Skeptical Science