James Inhofe

James Inhofe

​James M. Inhofe


  • BA, Economics, University of Tulsa, 1973. [1]


Senator Inhofe is the senior Senator from Oklahoma and a member of the Republican Party. He is former chairman (2003 to 2007) and currently a ranking minority member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. [16]

According to Oilchange International, Inhofe has received $1,189,050 in political contributions from the coal and oil industry. One of his top contributors is Koch Industries ($62,750 since 1999). ExxonMobil has contributed over $16,000 since 1999. 

In 2003, the Natural Resources Defense Council noted that Inhofe “scored zero with the League of Conservation Voters since 1997, was the only senator to oppose Everglades restoration, and once compared the Environmental Protection Agency to the Gestapo.” [2]

Inhofe has made regular speeches opposing global warming, and has voted in favor of big oil companies on many oil-related bills.  

Stance on Climate Change 

“I have offered compelling evidence that catastrophic global warming is a hoax. That conclusion is supported by the painstaking work of the nation's top climate scientists.” [3]

The scientists that Inhofe mentioned include: Fred Singer, Richard Lindzen, David Wojick, Roy Spencer, John Christy, Paul Reiter, David Legates, Willie Soon, Sallie Baliunas, Frederick Sietz, as well as the signatories of both the Heidelberg Appeal and the Oregon Petition.  

Inhofe has been described as “the first person to stand up and say this global warming is the greatest hoax that has been perpetrated.” [4]

    Key Quotes 

    “My own granddaughter came home one day and said … ‘Popi, why is it you don’t understand global warming?’ I did some checking, and Eric, the stuff that they teach our kids nowadays, they are brainwash — you have to un-brainwash them when they get out […]” [26]

    “The Kyoto Protocol has no environmental benefits; natural variability, not fossil fuel emissions, is the overwhelming factor influencing climate change; satellite data, confirmed by NOAA balloon measurements, confirms that no meaningful warming has occurred over the last century; and climate models predicting dramatic temperature increases over the next 100 years are flawed and highly imperfect.” [5]

    “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.” [5]

    On the subject of environmental groups: “To me it seems that it is more important to the leadership of these groups to turn their once laudable movement into a political machine by sending out their partisan snake-oil salesmen and misleading the American public regarding their purely politically partisan agenda under the guise of environmental protection. [6]

    “With all of the hysteria, all of the fear, all of the phony science, could it be that man-made global warming is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people? It sure sounds like it.” [6]

    “… for the alarmists, global warming has nothing to do with science or scientific inquiry. Science is not about the inquiry to discover truth, but a mask to achieve an ideological agenda. For some, this issue has become a secular religion, pure and simple.” [7]

    “Genesis 8:22 that I use [in The Greatest Hoax] is that as long as the Earth remains there will be springtime, harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, day and night. My point is, God's still up there, and the arrogance of people who think that we, human beings, would be able to change what he is doing in the climate is to me outrageous.” [15]

    August 19, 2013, Mike Huckabee's Radio Show: “You have to have CO2. It's a form of fertilizer to grow things. It's actually sought after in many cases.” [20]
    “We went into a leveling-out period about eight years ago.” [20]
    “We go through these 30 year cycles.” [20]

    Key Deeds 

    July 27, 2016

    James Inhofe went on conservative talk radio where he told radio host Eric Metaxas that  that schools were “brainwashing” children about climate change. [25]

    Right Wing Watch has the full audio available (listen below), but here is the line where Inhofe expresses his view: [26]

    “My own granddaughter came home one day and said … ‘Popi, why is it you don’t understand global warming?’ I did some checking, and Eric, the stuff that they teach our kids nowadays, they are brainwash — you have to un-brainwash them when they get out […]”

    December 7, 2015

    Sen. James (Jim) Inhofe delivered a video keynote address at the Heartland/CEI/CFACTDay of Examining the Data” climate science denial gathering in Paris during COP21. Other climate science deniers at the “Day of Examining the Data,” included: S. Fred Singer, Christopher Monckton, James Taylor, Patrick Moore, Wolfgang Müller, Robert Carter, Christopher Essex, and Willie Soon. [23],[24]

    In his address, Sen. Inhofe promised the assembled deniers that the United Nations COP21 summit would fail as prior international summit attempts had. (Days later, world leaders from nearly 200 nations agreed to the historic Paris climate agreement.) 

    “Past COPs have revealed that these meetings are not meant to produce anything substantive, and I promise you that the COP21 will follow suit. Nothing's gonna happen.” [Video at 4:57-5:10] [23]

    June 11-12, 2015

    James Inhofe was a speaker at the Heartland Institute’s Tenth International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC10) in Washington, D.C. [22]

    View James Inhofe’s Opening Keynote presentation at the Heartland Institute’s ICCC10, below: [23]

    March, 2015

    Senator James Inhofe brought a snowball onto the Senate floor as a prop to show that climate change isn't occuring. As reported by ThinkProgress, the snowball brought some ridicule to the Senator, even from the Republican party. 

    Nicole Wallace, former communications chief and senior advisor for the McCain-Palin campaign under George Bush, spoke out against it:  “The weather is changing…. It’s terrible for the Republican Party to look like we can’t acknowledge reality,” she said. “But it is moronic to throw snow in the Capitol and say, I don’t know, I don't think anything is changing.” [21]

    August 19, 2013

    Senator Inhofe called into Mike Huckabee's radio show to discuss conspiracy theories on global warming.

    March 3, 2011

    Introduced the Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011, a bill designed to limit the authority of the EPA over industry's greenhouse gas emissions. 

    Dec, 2009

    Inhofe appeared at the International Climate Conference on Copenhagen to spread the message that “Global warming is a hoax, and there’s no way the Senate is going to pass a cap-and-trade bill.” [14]

    Dec 20, 2007

    Inhofe released a report claiming that over 400 scientists disputed man-made global warming.

    Senator Inhofe's list has since been debunked, and shown to include many individuals with no experience in climate science. 

    July 28, 2003

    Made a floor speech titled “The Science of Climate Change.” [5]

    Inhofe was later criticized for misrepresenting the views of climatologist Stephen Schneider and meteorologist Tom Wigley in his speech.  

    Inhofe had claimed that calculations published by Schneider in the journal Nature “cast serious doubt” on the IPCC's upper-end projection of 5.8 degrees (Celsius) of warming by 2100.

    Schneider wrote, “It is misrepresenting my views to characterize them as even implying that IPCC has exaggerated or failed to describe the state of the science fairly.” McCain quoted this line to Inhofe on the Senate floor on October 29, 2003. Yet in response to the Prospect, Inhofe's staff made no mention of Schneider's thorough critique. [12]

    October 4, 2004

    Inhofe made a floor Speech, titled “Partisan Environmental Groups” where he accused environmental groups of having “more interest in hyping apocalyptic environmental scenarios to raise money for raw political purposes rather than working together to improve our environment for the benefit of all Americans.” [6]

    January 4, 2005 

    Made a floor speech titled “Climate Change Update.” He critiqued the Mann hockey strick graph, saying how it had “severely underestimated past climate variability… . In other words, in obliterating the Medieval Warming Period and the Little Ice Age, Mann's hockey stick just doesn't pass muster.[8]

    Inhofe also notes how “Oregon State University climatologist George Taylor has shown, Arctic temperatures are actually slightly cooler today than they were in the 1930s.”

    April 8, 2005 

    Made a floor speech, titled  ”First 'Four Pillars'.” Inhofe describes the four pillars as: [7]

    1) the 2001 National Academy of Sciences NAS report summarizing the latest science of climate change, requested by the Bush Administration;

    2) the scientific work of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, most especially its Third Assessment Report, released in 2001;

    3) the recent report of the international Arctic Climate Impact Assessment;

    and 4) the data produced by climate models.” 

    Inhofe claims that he will prove that “none of these pillars support the consensus view.”

    December, 2009 

    “Jim Inhofe vowed to crash the UN Climate Change Conference with a three man “truth squad” consisting of himself and two fellow climate-denying Senators.

    He was unsuccessful in securing a single meeting with conference delegates. [9]

    April 28, 2004

    Inhofe was honored for his “work in promoting science-based public policy” by the Annapolis Center for Science-Based Public Policy, a think-tank that disputes man-made global warming. [10]

    The Annapolis center has received $1,048,500 from ExxonMobil since 1998.

    September 28, 2005

    Inhofe introduced a Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works hearing titled “The Role of Science in Environmental Policy-Making.”

    In his opening statement, Inhofe states that “Too often the environmental policy decisions made by EPA and other science-based agencies are driven by political or personal agendas.” [11]


    Inhofe was a co-plaintiff in a lawsuit filed by the Competitive Enterprise Institute in 2000, trying to bar the distribution or use of the National Assessment, which analyzed potential impacts of climate change on the U.S. The Bush administration settled the lawsuit with a statement saying that the report didn't represent official government policy. [12]



    According to OpenSecrets, James M. Inhofe accepted $311,800 in oil contributions during the 110th congress. $160,800 of those dollars were from industry PACS. In total, Inhofe received $662,506 from oil companies between 2000 and 2008, which makes him a top recipient of oil money. In addition to oil, Inhofe has received $152,800 in coal contributions during the 110th Congress. $94,500 of those dollars were from industry PACS. See above for oil and energy voting record.

    Opensecrets listed Ihofe's top five campaign contributors from 2005 to 2010 as: [13]

    1. Koch Industries: $41,800. 

    2. Murray Energy: $31,100. 

    3. Reed Elsevier Inc: $29,450.

    4. OGE Energy: $21,800.

    5. Contran Corp: $21,500. 

    Oilchange International  totalled contributions to Inhofe's campaign since 1998, and tallied contributions from the oil and gas industries at $1,189,050. Inhofe's top industry funders since 1998 include:
    1. Murray Energy (Coal): $65,800.
    2. Koch Industries (Oil): $62,750.
    3. Anadarko Petroluem (Oil): $37,500. 
    4. OGE Energy (Coal): $31,800. 


    ClimateRealists has followed Inhofe's, and The Environment and Public Works Press Blog tracks Inhofe's actions and publications. 

    Related DeSmog Posts


    1. James Inhofe - Summary,” Project VoteSmart. Accessed January, 2012.

    2. Top Dogs: James Inhofe,” OneEarth, Spring 2003.

    3. Catastrophic global warming alarmism not based on objective science.” Press release of Senator Inhofe. July 28, 2003.

    4. Colorado Climate Scientists Tell Ken Buck: Global Warming Is Not A ‘Hoax’.Thinkprogress. Oct 24, 2010.

    5. The Science of Climate Change Senate Floor Statement by U.S. Sen. James M. Inhofe(R-Okla) Chairman, Committee on Environment and Public Works,” inhofe.senate.gov, July 28, 2003.

    6. Partisan Environmental Groups Senate Floor Statement by U.S. Sen. James M. Inhofe(R-Okla),” inhofe.senate.gov, October 4, 2004.

    7. First 'Four Pillars' Senate Floor Statement by U.S. Sen. James M. Inhofe(R-Okla),” inhofe.senate.gov, April 8, 2005.

    8. Climate Change Update Senate Floor Statement by U.S. Sen. James M. Inhofe(R-Okla),” inhofe.senate.gov, January 4, 2005.

    9. The Politics of Climate Science.O'Dwyer's. February, 2010.

    10. Sen. James M. Inhofe to be Honored by the Annapolis Center for Science-Based Public Policy,” (News Advisory), U.S. Newswire, April 2, 2004.

    11. Statement of Senator James M. Inhofe: The Role of Science in Environmental Policy-Making,” U.S. Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works Hearing Statements,  September 28, 2005.

    12. Earth Last,” The American Prospect, April 13, 2004. Archived May 6, 2008.

    13. James M. Inhofe,” OpenSecrets.org profile. Accessed January, 2012.

    14. Louise Roug. “Jim Inhofe gets cool reception in Denmark,” Politico, December 19, 2009.

    15. Inhofe: God Says Global Warming Is A Hoax,” ThinkProgress, March 9, 2012.

    16. Members,” U.S. Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works. Accessed May 12, 2013. 

    17. James M. Inhofe,” SourceWatch Profile.

    18. Jim Inhofe,” Wikipedia entry.

    19. ExxonSecrets Factsheet: Sen. James Inhofe.

    20. Mike Huckabee, Jim Inhofe Give How-To On Denying Climate Change Without Any Concerns for Facts,” Huffington Post, August 19, 2013.

    21. Joe Romm. Snowball's Chance: James Inhofe, Meet The Press, And The Climate Debate,” ThinkProgress.org. March 4, 2015.

    22. Speakers,” Heartland Institute. Archived June 30, 2015.

    23. Opening Breakfast Keynote with Sen. James Inhofe,” Heartland Institute, June 11, 2015. Archived July 14, 2015.

    24. Bringing Climate Realism to Paris at COP-21,” Heartland Institute, December 7, 2015.

    25. Farron Cousins. “Climate Denier Jim Inhofe Goes Full Conspiracy Theorist In Unhinged Rant About Global Warming,” Desmog, August 2, 2016.

    26. Brian Tashman. “Jim Inhofe: 'Our Kids Are Being Brainwashed' In School,” RightWingWatch, July 26, 2016. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/chYJC