Who Needs Scientists When You’ve Got James Inhofe?

Wed, 2011-02-09 08:10Chris Mooney
Chris Mooney's picture

Who Needs Scientists When You’ve Got James Inhofe?

The big news so far from the current hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Power—concerning the so-called “Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011”—is that Senator James Inhofe, the leading climate change denier in the U.S. Congress, has a book coming out.

Inhofe had crossed chambers to testify in favor of the new legislation, which he co-authored with Energy and Commerce chair Fred Upton and subcommittee chair Ed Whitfield, and which would block the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act. And in response to a question from Upton, Inhofe took the opportunity to mention his book, telling the committee that he just finished it and that it will be entitled “The Hoax.”

The title, presumably, refers to Inhofe’s most (in)famous statement: His 2003 claim that climate change is the “greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people.” I suppose it’s kind of like Carl Sagan entitling one of his last books Billions and Billions. Sagan didn’t like being remembered by that phrase, which he’d never actually uttered–but it’s much better than the one Inhofe is going to be remembered by, and did use to dismiss climate change.

But book or not, what’s most striking about the hearing underway right now is the central role Inhofe was given–not just to lead it off, but to pronounce definitively on the technical issues at stake, both economic and scientific.

The purpose of the legislation in question is to block the EPA from moving to regulate greenhouse gases, which it is on the path to doing based on the agency’s scientific determination that they endanger public health and welfare. In order to question EPA’s expert science, then, you’d think you would at least need dissenting scientists. And there are plenty of those around, including those “skeptics” who just signed a letter to Congress making their standard arguments.

But in a departure from standard Republican strategy, the hearing today doesn’t even have skeptical scientists on the docket. Instead, it offered Inhofe as a kind de facto expert on environmental science, policy, and economics.

As Rep. Bobby Rush of Illinois put it, in a question to Inhofe himself: “Don’t you find it strange that this hearing is being conducted with no scientists at all?”

Don’t get me wrong—Inhofe is well versed in these issues and speaks confidently and expansively about them. But his views on the science and the economics alike are not only non-expert; they’ve been documented extensively, by myself and many others, to misrepresent what experts actually think.

That continued today, as Inhofe asserted that the findings of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had been “totally debunked” by the ‘Climategate’ scandal, and called mainstream climate science “phony.” Later, he also said he disagreed with the National Academy of Sciences’ “interpretation” that global warming is caused by human activities.

Nevertheless, my sense from watching the first hour of the hearing is that Inhofe’s fellow Republicans have come to view him as the grand don of climate change skepticism in the Senate. They not only trust him, they defer to him. What Inhofe says is good enough for them–and on that basis, they’ll make decisions affecting the entire planet.

Comments

i’ll give you one inhofe for one browner and one jackson. all serve their purpose for their respective sides, no?

I am so sick of these dishonest, greedy subversives we have for politicians. How can we be ruled by people who mouth the same cynical lies as Russian dictators?

I used to vote for the Republicans until Climategate happened. When I looked into that story, I realized the Republicans–my party–were lying to me. They were trying to TRICK me, not the scientists. The denialists call the scientists communists when really these denialists are the ones who use the Bolshevik tactics of intimidation, threats, slander, and the big lie. The denialists are the subversives, and our scientists are the patriots who are trying to defend our country and civilization.

Senator Inhofe says global warming is a hoax. I already read that global warming was a hoax in Pravda and in a 9-11 Truth newspaper, too. [truthers believe that President Bush masterminded 9-11.]

Russia’s President Medvedev, the former head of Russia’s state-controlled Gazprom, claimed that global warming was a “trick” when he visited Tomsk, the same city where the stolen and mischaracterized Climategate emails were posted on the server of a Russian Internet security company.

The Kremlin-friendly Russian business daily Kommersant also defamed the British climate scientists. Kommersant is owned by Asher Usmanov, a sinister Russian billionaire who does special operations for Gazprom. He has an education and career that suggest he had ties to the KGB. The “expert” Kommersant cited was the economist Andrei Illarionov. He used to be an adviser to Putin and he worked for Chernomyrdin, the head of the Soviet Gas Ministry and later the head of Gazprom, the post-Soviet successor to the Gas Ministry. Then Andrei Illarionov became an expert for the CATO Institute.

Virginia’s Attorney General Cuccinelli cited an English-language RIA Novosti adaptation of the Kommersant article in his suit to the EPA as evidence that the British scientists were falsifying data from Russia.
RIA Novosti is the official press agency of the Russian government; and since the fires, the party line has changed.

I think I will believe the scientists who say there is global warming instead of Pravda, the Truthers, the Gazprom gangsters, the CATO Institute, and the greedy Inhofe. I think I will believe US scientific and security agencies like the Pentagon and CIA. I believe with American experts who say that global warming is a threat to our national security.

That “ex-CIA operative” Kent Clizbe also claims that the scientist Dr. Mann is a fraud and is making a campaign of kompromat against Dr. Mann. He says he is ex-CIA, but he is acting like a KGB operative with his campaign of defamation.

Clizbe is supposedly writing a book about communist influence in the USA. Russia has a new ruling party now called Unity. Putin is the Chairman of the Unity Party. Gazprom, which is majority government-owned, is also very powerful and owns many newspapers and TV stations.

Perhaps Clizbe should read what the Russian media was writing after the Climategate emails were stolen. This clueless “ex-CIA operative” might finally notice that he is spouting the Russian line about our “greedy climate scientists.” All these people who accuse the scientists are collaborating in a propaganda campaign to defame our scientists in order to protect the gas companies. Some of this propaganda is coming from Russia, but it also comes from US politicians in the pockets of the fossil-fuel industry.

This kompromat campaign is similar to the KGB propaganda campaign to blame the AIDS virus on the “crafty plots” of Pentagon scientists who supposedly made AIS to kill black people.

Even the KGB finally admitted they made up that BIG LIE and this was published right in Izvestia:

“[KGB chief Yevgeni Primakov] mentioned the well known articles printed a few years ago in our central newspapers about AIDS supposedly originating from secret Pentagon laboratories. According to Yevgeni Primakov, the articles exposing US scientists’ ‘crafty’ plots were fabricated in KGB offices.”—Izvestiya (3-19-92)

of all the posts you ‘allow’ here this one gets thru? this is one confused hombre who gives new meaning to the term ad hominem. let’s talk about the science. let’s talk about the models. let’s talk about the greenhouse effect. lets talk about what consensus mean. but let’s not talk about the kgb and aids. why did this poor soul not mention the killer bees and bird flu?

I dunno… I thought it was a nice rant. Very emotional, sincere. He may be spraying wildly, but a few hit the target.

All of this information is documented on my blog. These are facts. I read the Russian media all the time. If you need links ask me. I just think that people don’t appreciate too many links.

Cuccinelli and Inhofe cite Andrei Illarionov, who is an economist/propagandist with ties to Putin and Gazprom. Cuccinelli’s EPA suit cites Russia’s official press agency RIA Novosti which is citing Illarionov in Kommersant. Inhofe cites Illarionov directly.

Illarionov has a “think tank” in Russia and also works for the Cato Institute.

Since the forest fires the Russians are talking about global warming in the media, and Presient Medvedev says it is happening. Russian scientists are discussing the issue in the media.

Years ago, the KGB even hired outside experts to research the topic. The CIA and KGB even worked together on this problem in the 1990s.

I talked about the KGB AIDS campaign because it is the most famous smear campaign of US scientists in modern times. This denialism is the same sort of smear campaign.

The AIDS campaign wasn’t just something the KGB cooked up. They got some of their ideas from Western conspiracists.

Look up “Operation Infektion.” The CIA has an unclassified study about this campaign that is instructive.

I could talk about Stalin’s doctors’ plot, but that was in the 1950s. The Russians often eventually publically denounce their own anti-science campaigns.

Cuccinelli cited the Russian media, but now the party line has changed.

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