BP and several other big European companies are funding the midterm election campaigns of Tea Party favourites who deny the existence of global warming or oppose Barack Obama’s energy agenda, the Guardian has learned. An analysis of campaign finance by Climate Action Network Europe (Cane) found nearly 80% of campaign donations from a number of major European firms were directed towards senators who blocked action on climate change. These included incumbents who have been embraced by the Tea Party such as Jim DeMint, a Republican from South Carolina, and the notorious climate change denier James Inhofe, a Republican from Oklahoma.
The US Congress’s most ardent global warming sceptic is being accused of turning the row over climate science into a McCarthyite witch-hunt by calling for a criminal investigation of scientists. Climate scientists say Sen. James Inhofe’s call for a criminal investigation into American as well as British scientists who worked on the UN climate body’s report represents an attempt to silence debate on the eve of new proposals for a climate change law.
The leading elected “climate skeptic” in the United States got a taste of just how marginalized his world-view is when he breezed through Copenhagen last week.
The infamous Senator James Inhofe flew nine hours to Denmark and left hours later when he could only muster a handful of reporters to hear his conspiratorial views on climate change.
According to Politico, Inhofe’s whirlwind visit was meant to deliver two messages: that climate change is a hoax, and that the US will never pass cap and trade legislation.
Decked out in black snakeskin cowboy boots, Inhofe’s loopy views did not seem to win over the few reporters on hand to hear them in the conference centre stairwell.
A reporter asked: “If there’s a hoax, then who’s putting on this hoax, and what’s the motive?”
“It started in the United Nations,” Inhofe said, “and the ones in the United States who really grab ahold of this is the Hollywood elite.”
One reporter asked Inhofe if he was referring to California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Another reporter — this one from Der Spiegel — told the senator: “You’re ridiculous.”
His important work done, Inhofe burned another tank of jet fuel flying back to Washington.
On a completely unrelated note, the Oklahoma politician has received $662,506 in contributions from oil companies between 2000 and 2008, making him the leading recipient of oil funding in the US Senate where he is the ranking Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee.
However, one should not assume Senator Inhofe is soley concerned with interests of the oil industry. He also received $152,800 in coal contributions during the 110th Congress.
Phil Jones, head of the British research unit at the center of a controversy over the disclosure of thousands of e-mail messages among climate-change scientists has stepped down pending the outcome of an investigation. The e-mail exchanges among several prominent climate appear to reveal efforts to keep the work of skeptical scientists out of major journals.
At the U.S. delegation press conference this afternoon on the final day of the Barcelona climate talks, I asked U.S. deputy climate change envoy Jonathan Pershing what effect, if any, Senator James Inhofe (R-Denial) might have on the process in Copenhagen, and whether GOP intransigence is hurting Obama’s ability to come up with a firm number on U.S. emissions reductions.
Among the many conservative think tanks faithfully pushing the skeptic message in Washington, D.C., few are as prominent—or, should I say, infamous—as the Heartland Institute. The “independent” research and non-profit group has the dubious distinction of having organized the first major denier-palooza, the “International Conference on Climate Change,” last year. Despite a less than stellar showing, and an even more lukewarm follow-up in March, it’s hoping that the third time will be the charm.
The likes of Senator James Inhofe, Lord Christopher Monckton and Anthony Watts will be descending on the Washington Court Hotel this week to discuss the “widespread dissent to the asserted “consensus” on the causes, consequences, and proper responses to climate change.” Its ostensible purpose will be to “expose Congressional staff and journalists to leading scientists and economists in the nation’s capital” and demonstrate that “global warming is not a crisis and that immediate action to reduce emissions is not necessary”—which it calls the emerging consensus view of (the handful of) scientists outside the IPCC.
Climate policy can make for strange bedfellows – perhaps none as strange as the former vice president and Republican senator from Oklahoma, whose views on most issues could not be more divergent. Yet on one issue – related to climate change, no less – they agree: black carbon, or, as it’s more commonly known, “soot,” is a dangerous pollutant that deserves more study.
And while the insufferable Oklahoman may insist that his support for the legislation in no way contradicts his established denier bona fides – for good measure, he unleashed a typically scathing critique of the Obama administration’s proposed environmental policies the same day the bill was introduced – there is no denying that black carbon, the product of fossil fuel consumption and biomass burning, is a major agent of climate change.
It’s no surprise that Sen. James Inhofe’s (R-OK) take on the recent EPA decision (that carbon dioxide is a danger to public health and must be regulated) is negative.
Inhofe, ranking minority member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, doesn’t believe in anthropogenic global warming, and has called the EPA’s stance the beginning of a regulatory climate which will destroy American jobs, raise consumer energy prices, and make it impossible for the U.S. to complete in a global economy.
Inhofe’s position, that Congress should pass legislation to stop the EPA ruling in its tracks, is typical of global warming deniers, who prefer bombast, manufactured evidence and creating hysteria to actual fact. All have, at one time or other, parroted their misinformed “proof” that Obama’s green economy plan will cost every American family $3,128 per year in rising energy costs.
Republican spindcotor Marc Morano is leaving his $134,000 post with Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) to start a *groan* “fledgling Web site that will serve as a ‘clearinghouse and one-stop shopping’ for climate and environmental news.”
See you in the real world Morano, you’re going to find it a lot harder to spin your climate change hoax message without the help of the government trough.
Democracy is utterly dependent upon an electorate that is accurately informed. In promoting climate change denial (and often denying their responsibility for doing so) industry has done more than endanger the environment. It has undermined democracy.
There is a vast difference between putting forth a point of view, honestly held, and intentionally sowing the seeds of confusion. Free speech does not include the right to deceive. Deception is not a point of view. And the right to disagree does not include a right to intentionally subvert the public awareness.