It was only a matter of time because of the recent cool temperatures here in Oklahoma, but U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, the world’s most infamous global-warming science denier, has now weighed in on the issue with a typical dose of snark.
Last week, Inhofe issued a press statement titled, “Global Warming Alarmists Should Send Some of Their Hot Air to Warm Up Oklahoma,” that, as the title indicates, essentially argues that the abnormal, cooler temperatures in the state are proof that climate change is, well, simply “hot air.”
The argument is obviously nothing new for Inhofe, and, to his credit, he even referred to his “climate awareness friends” in the release. Good natured fun, right? Well, it’s only fun until you realize that Inhofe has cherry picked the science and used cold weather events throughout his career to argue there is some type of left-wing conspiracy among scientists to bring down the fossil-fuel industry.
The real alarmist, of course, is Inhofe himself, who has pretty much based his entire Senate career on fighting a straw man he pretty much created single handedly. That fictional straw man is the mad, leftist scientist who wants an immediate end to the use of fossil fuels in the world and, in a diabolical and secret quest, will lie and cheat and hurt people, especially those executives at oil and gas companies.
The short press release, published Friday, doesn’t mention that Inhofe from 2007 to 2012 has collected $550,950 in campaign funding from oil and gas companies, but it does mention how “our job-creating energy sector is being attacked.” That says much about Inhofe’s credibility.
So, once again, for the record: Global warming is happening, and it’s real. Variations in temperatures from one year to the next don’t matter nearly as much as long-term patterns. Look at these charts dating various temperature averages from 1880 to 2012 from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The planetary air temperature is also just one factor. For example, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently reported that ocean surface temperatures last year were the highest in 150 years.
As one climate-change scientist, Peter Gleick, has noted many global warmer deniers, such as Inhofe, engage in deceptions and falsehoods. In February, 2012, Gleick wrote:
These statements are scurrilous deceptions and falsehoods. The planet is warming – an observation noted by every climate research institution tracking temperatures, the US National Academy of Sciences (over and over and over), every other national academy of sciences on the planet, and every professional society in the geosciences.
Another recurring issue is Inhofe’s straw man. There are certainly environmental activists that engage in what some in the country might view as extreme acts, but the vast majority of people who argue for a reduction in the use of fossil fuels and carbon emissions are just regular people who drive cars and fly in airplanes and want to do the right thing. In fact, most of us are not alarmist enough over the issue, especially given the simple fact that the planet one day could be sucked dry of fossil fuels. What happens then? Renewable energy sources ultimately equal sustaining life.
We also don’t receive money in campaign contributions like Inhofe to gain power to express a particular point of view. Just that conflict alone should render Inhofe’s arguments biased and not worthy of consideration, but the corporate media here gives him a pass on that major conflict of interest.
Primarily, Inhofe can engage in his snarky ways because he’s supported by one of the most conservative newspapers in the world, The Oklahoman, which is owned by Colorado billionaire Philip Anschutz, an oil and gas magnate.
A recent editorial in The Oklahoman was highly critical of what it called “anti-fossil fuel forces,” who have predicted a “global warming apocalypse” that has now supposedly come under scrutiny. The editorial is filled with straw man arguments and general arguments not supported by empirical evidence.
It’s a shame that some Oklahoma farmers suffered crop losses due to the seasonally late freezes, and it’s a good thing that recent rains here have made a dent in the severe drought. None of that, however, disproves global warming.