Republican Senator James Inhofe might be one of the most famous and most outspoken opponents of science in the United States and, sadly, that’s a reputation that he’s proud to have.
When snowstorms descended upon Washington, D.C., Inhofe used a snowball thrown onto the floor of the Senate as incontrovertible proof that global warming was a hoax. After all, if the planet is heating up, how can snow still exist?
As wacky as the snowball incident was, that episode looks tame in comparison to his latest tirade about global warming.
Inhofe, who serves as the Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, recently told conservative radio host Eric Metaxas that schools were “brainwashing” children about climate change.
Right Wing Watch has the full audio available (listen below), but here is the line that shows Inhofe's extreme views:
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…
This is an alarming statement from a sitting United States senator. The man who is in charge of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee honestly believes that schools are brainwashing children about the dangers of climate change. And if schools are brainwashing children, the logic would dictate that global leaders, scientists, and military experts are brainwashing the schools about the real dangers of climate change.
Here are a few hard and fast facts that Senator Inhofe refuses to accept, possibly because they are frightening and he doesn’t have the capacity to comprehend them:
- The last 14 months have been the hottest consecutive months on record
- Climate change has been repeatedly linked to increased global conflicts and currently ranks as a top threat to U.S. national security
- Sea ice in the arctic is melting at a far more rapid pace than scientists had expected, setting in motion a feedback mechanism causing even more warming.
This list could go on forever, but it still wouldn’t be enough to convince Inhofe that things are getting increasingly bad.
The only person that has been brainwashed in this scenario is Senator Jim Inhofe by way of the $105,000 he’s gotten from Koch Industries (his single largest campaign contributor throughout his career), which is part of the larger sum of $1.8 million that he’s received from the oil and gas industries since 1989, according to OpenSecrets. That money seems to have interfered with Inhofe’s rational thinking capabilities, effectively turning him into the lapdog of fossil fuel companies.
Inhofe sometime can't even remember the name of the committee he runs (the Senate Environment and Public Works committee):
And he's got a track record of being wrong about climate action. During the Paris COP21 summit, he declared “nothing's going to happen,” and yet the nations of the world proved him wrong with the signing of the Paris Agreement:
Here is the silver lining to this story. While 81-year-old James Inhofe is in his twilight years, his little granddaughter that he mentioned in the story is the future. She will grow up to understand and experience the impacts of climate change and will know that world leaders need to act.
That is where the hope lies right now — in the future — because we’ve seen too much evidence to show we can’t rely on our current crop of elected officials to take climate change seriously.
Inhofe deserved his very own Climate Inaction Figure:
Image credit: Screenshot from YouTube