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Come January, as has been noted here, the Republican takeover of the Senate will propel Sen. Jim Inhofe back into the chairman’s seat of the Committee on Environment and Public Works that he held from 2003 to 2007 until Sen. Barbara Boxer took it over under the Democratic majority.Thanks to this change, we will, among other things, be treated to hearings designed to attack the Environmental Protection Agency—in particular its proposed rules on greenhouse gas emissions from electricity-generating plants. Modest rules, mind you. But when you take the view that Inhofe does, that global warming is a hoax, then any rules curtailing such emissions is a waste of time and an economy killer.
While Inhofe’s take on the matter is wacky, it works to the benefit of the oil companies that have provided gobs of campaign money to him and so many others in the Senate and House over the years.
With delegates from 195 nations gathered in Lima, Peru, this week and next to try to hammer out a global agreement on climate change for approval in Paris next year, David Corn atMother Jones recalled an encounter he had with Inhofe at the 2009 climate talks in Copenhagen. There, Corn asked the senator if he really believed that the thousands of people attending had been fooled about global warming. Inhofe said yes. Pressed, he said yes again. Corn nearly laughed and somehow managed to control his eye-rolling:
That’s some hoax, I countered. But who has engineered such a scam?Hollywood liberals and extreme environmentalists, Inhofe replied.
Really? I asked. Why would they conspire to scare all these smart people into believing a catastrophe was under way, when all was well?
Inhofe didn’t skip a beat: To advance their radical environmental agenda.
I pressed on: Who in Hollywood is doing this?
The whole liberal crowd, Inhofe said.
Barbra Streisand, he responded.
Inhofe only mentions Streisand once in his 2012 book, The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future. He makes note of other celebrities he says are part of the “Hollywood elites” who he says have engineered a gigantic scam. Yep. It has nothing to do with scientists who have spent decades studying the climate and come to the conclusion with ever-greater certainty that we’ll be fortunate indeed if we manage to adopt policies that keep us at an increase of 2°C (3.6°F) given that the world’s current trajectory is heading us for 4°C (7.2°F) or worse.Inhofe is worthy of that laugh Corn stifled five years ago. He will no doubt provide tons of guffaws over the next couple of years as chairman. But there is nothing funny about what he will do to squelch efforts to curb emissions and ameliorate the growing impacts of climate change those emissions are causing. Every witness before the committee who doesn’t believe global warming is a hoax should start off any answers provided to the senator by rolling on the chamber floor in laughter. This would no doubt be seen as disrespectful. As if the man deserves a molecule of respect.