Inhofe's 3 hour island tour to Copenhagen

The great leader of the Copendeniers, US Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), showed up on the Danish island of Copenhagen for a fly-by press event here at the international climate treaty.

If the lack of significant media coverage is any indication, it was a waste of time for the lonely fringe Senator from Okalahoma,

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to attend the press conference, as it was organized very last minute. But if I had, these are the questions I would have asked:

1. Given that you are one of the largest recipients of funding from the oil and gas industry in the Senate, I am interested in knowing who paid for your flights over to Copenhagen?

2. Is your former assistant Marc Morano and/or CFACT providing support for your trip here?

3. What do you think of your top climate science adviser, Christopher Monckton, calling young Americans “Nazis” and “Hitler youth”?

4. Why did you not bring any of your Republican Senate colleagues? Your colleagues on Capitol Hill and the media have repeatedly stated that you’re all alone in your stance on climate change. What makes you think you’re in a position to say a US clean energy and climate bill
will never happen?

5. Is it just a coincidence that you get so much money from the oil and coal industry and believe that climate change is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people?

I’m not holding my breath that any mainstream media asked a question remotely close to these. After all, this is the same press corp that took the East Anglia leaked email spin job hook, line and sinker.


1 and 2: I imagine he’s there on taxpayer money. He could also make some political hay with this point:

“Pelosi reserved at least two jets based at Andrews AFB to fly her and her delegation to Denmark for the final days of the two-week conference.”

3: He’d probably say it was an overreaction but that in no way excuses the kids shouting down Monckton.

4: They will back him up when the true cost of climate change legislation is in black and white and they are asked to vote on it.

5: He could say. It is the greatest hoax and why would gas and oil companies throw support to individuals who want to see those companies crippled and laying off their workers. (the jobs angle would serve him well there)

Kevin, I’ve said this many times but I don’t know if you’ve heard it. Why are you condemning Inhofe for getting money from oil and coal companies when they give money to your side of the issue as well? I do not understand it. Second, why won’t you people argue this issue from a pollution standpoint? Nobody likes pollution and everyone wants cleaner air. I think it is quite apparent right now that CO2 does not have much of an impact on global temperatures. Finally, do you believe that coal is an acceptable energy if the emissions are scrubbed out? Or would you prefer to see us completely move off of coal?

Because we’re not lying about the science. Show me any research saying that, “CO2 does not have much of an impact on global temperatures.”

Logical fallacy. You cannot prove a negative. It’s up to the warmers to show evidence that CO2 does impact global temps more so than other factors, and that such impact is bad.

Since no one here can answer that maybe you can give it a try?

However, that said, there is evidence that temps can increase/decrease without CO2 being a factor. There is even ice core evidence that temp increases precede CO2 increases.

proving an hypothesis wrong is exactly how science progresses, and proving that CO2 does not have much of an impact on global temperatures is exactly what you deniers would need to do to falsify the greenhouse theory.

Many have tried, none have succeeded as yet.

You might be interested in Richard Alley’s Bjerknes Lecture at the AGU meeting in San Fransisco yesterday: “The Biggest Control Knob: Carbon Dioxide in Earth’s Climate History.”

Here is part of Dave Petley’s report on Alley’s talk:

“Alley reviewed climate changes in the geological record, going back 4.5 billion years. His central point was that in almost every case carbon dioxide has emerged as the smoking gun in terms of causation, and indeed that it is essentially impossible to explain the observed changes without carbon dioxide acting as the key forcing. This is true for the “faint young sun paradox” (4.6 billion years ago), the snowball earth period, the late Permian extinction period, the mid-Cretaceous “Saurian sauna” period and the Palaeocene-Eocene thermal maximum for example.”


“He noted that when he was a young scientist there were several examples in the geological record in which there was global warmth but no apparent corresponding high CO2 level in the atmosphere. As sampling and measurements have improved it has been shown that almost all of these cases do in fact have high carbon dioxide concentrations. Just a few anomalies remain - most notably the warm period in the Miocene. However, very recent (peer reviewed) research is now showing that CO2 levels were high, although more work is needed.”

Alley’s full lecture will eventually be avialable here:

Additional notes taken by Dr. Dave Petley, from Prof. Richard Alley lecture, yesterday, at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union:

“He finished with a very simple message - the geological record shows that carbon dioxide is the key factor that controls temperature. Other factors do operate, but the CO2 signal consistently dominates. He noted that the geological record shows that over a timescale of few centuries timescale a doubling of CO2 results in a warming of about 2.8 C, which is consistent with the IPCC figure for climate sensitivity. He made a very bold statement that if the key factor that explains the temperature record in the geological record is CO2 - without carbon dioxide concentration changes it is impossible to explain the observed behaviour.”

Prefacing remarks: “He started the lecture by noting the ongoing harassment of climate scientists by the denialist camp - giving an example of a demand made to his university that he be fired for continuing to claim that carbon dioxide causes temperature change. He presented this with great humour and grace, but the underlying message about the way that scientists are being treated was clear, and was a great concern.”

Avant thou louts and monkeywrenchers. Scoot. Go write Xmas cards to Rush Limbaugh or look for Elvis. Leave real science to real scientists.

Well he shouldn’t be fired but severely disciplined. Even according to strict AGW doctrine C02 does not cause warming in the past as co2 rise follows a temperature 800 years later. The line is that it is different now as we have upset the carbon cycle by adding in new c02 previously underground. If he is teaching geology like that he is a quack according to all camps.

Go ask real climate why Co2 trails aby 800 years in the historical records and why it is different now.

“Go ask real climate why Co2 trails aby 800 years in the historical records and why it is different now.”

Don’t need to: Tailpipes spewing CO2 are the answer this time around.

Ok, I got a source: Co2 can both lag and lead temp.

From :

Does temperature rise cause CO2 rise or the other way around? A common misconception is that you can only have one or the other. In actuality, the answer is both.

Milankovitch cycles - how increased temperature causes CO2 rise

Looking over past climate change, scientists have observed a cycle of ice ages separated by brief warm periods called interglacials. This pattern is due to Milankovitch cycles - gradual, regular changes in the earth’s orbit and axis. While there are several different cycles, the dominant climate signal is the 100,000 year eccentricity cycle as the Earth’s orbit changes from a more circular to a more elliptical orbit (Petit 1999, Shackleton 2000).

The eccentricity cycle causes changes in insolation (incoming sunlight). When springtime insolation increases in the southern hemisphere, this coincides with rising temperatures in the south, retreating Antarctic sea ice and melting glaciers in the southern hemisphere (Shemesh 2002). As temperature rises, CO2 also rises but lags the warming by 800 to 1000 years (Monnin 2001, Caillon 2003, Stott 2007).

How does warming cause a rise in atmospheric CO2? As the oceans warm, the solubility of CO2 in water falls (Martin 2005). This causes the oceans to give up more CO2, emitting it into the atmosphere. The exact mechanism of how the deep ocean gives up its CO2 is not fully understood but believed to be related to vertical ocean mixing (Toggweiler 1999).

The greenhouse effect - how increased CO2 causes temperature rise

When there’s more CO2 in the atmosphere, the earth absorbs more heat. Shortwave radiation from the sun passes straight through our atmosphere and is absorbed by the earth. The earth reemits it as longwave (infrared) radiation which is partially absorbed by atmospheric CO2. This is the greenhouse effect. CO2 lets energy in, doesn’t let as much get out.

CO2 warming explains how the relatively weak forcing from Milankovitch cycles can bring the planet out of an ice age. It begins with the high southern latitudes (eg - Antarctica) warming and releasing CO2 from the oceans. The CO2 mixes through the atmosphere, amplifying and spreading the warming to northern latitudes (Cuffey 2001). This is why warming in the southern hemisphere precedes warming in the northern hemisphere (Caillon 2003). This is confirmed by marine cores that show tropical temperatures lag southern warming by ~1000 years (Stott 2007).

Climate sensitivity - how CO2 amplifies temperature increase

Climate sensitivity is defined as how much global temperature increase if we doubled CO2. Studies of past CO2 and temperature records have helped quantify how sensitive our climate is to changes in CO2.

Temperature and various forcings (including CO2) over the past few centuries shows a climate sensitivity between 1.5 to 6.2°C (Hegerl 2006). One study combines the results from various paleontological studies to narrow climate sensitivity to around 2.5 to 3.5°C (Annan 2006). Basically, multiple studies covering many different periods of earth’s history confirm that when CO2 is doubled, global temperatures go up around 3°C.

So what does the CO2 lag tell us? The behaviour of CO2 in the past confirms the amplifying effect of CO2 in the atmosphere. Sharp temperature rises in the past indicate how sensitive climate is to change. Our past history shows how our climate is prone to “tipping points” where warming can lead to positive feedbacks sparking a warming effect.

Related Arguments

* Climate sensitivity is low

Further reading

That CO2 lags and amplifies temperature was actually predicted in 1990 in a paper The ice-core record: climate sensitivity and future greenhouse warming by Claude Lorius (co-authored by James Hansen):

“Changes in the CO2 and CH4 content have played a significant part in the glacial-interglacial climate changes by amplifying, together with the growth and decay of the Northern Hemisphere ice sheets, the relatively weak orbital forcing”

The paper also notes that orbital changes are one initial cause for ice ages. This was published over a decade before ice core records were accurate enough to confirm a CO2 lag (thanks to John Mashey for the tip).

Climate 411 have a succinct explanation of the Greenhouse Effect.

Also, gotta love this quote from Deltoid in answer to the CO2 lag argument: See also my forthcoming paper: “Chickens do not lay eggs, because they have been observed to hatch from them”.

No that is not how science works. A theory is shown wrong if a better theory comes along that better explains the data. Yet, as some scientists have lamented, often old discredited theories die only when the last of the faithful dies.

Of course we cannot falsify AGW until you tell us what observation could do so. None of you have presented a possible case of how AGW culd be falsified.

We have presented many examples of where you people claim sush-and-such event is because of AGW, but when we check that is not the case.

Here is an example from yesterday’s Globe and Mail:

Now look at this:

and this:

and tell me if their “theory” is valid.

Every sinlge prediction based on AGW has not happened. There hasn’t been an increase in hurricanesm they have deminished. There hasn’tbeen any increase in storms, no acceleration in sea level. In short, there is nothing happening in the climate today that is beyond normal variation.

My understanding of that conference is the vast majority of geologists there reject AGW.

“Every sinlge prediction based on AGW has not happened.”

Oh, really?

“Are the models, in fact, untestable? Are they unable to make valid predictions? Let’s review the record. Global Climate Models have successfully predicted:

1. That the globe would warm, and about how fast, and about how much.
2. That the troposphere would warm and the stratosphere would cool.
3. That nighttime temperatures would increase more than daytime temperatures.
4. That winter temperatures would increase more than summer temperatures.
5. Polar amplification (greater temperature increase as you move toward the poles).
6. That the Arctic would warm faster than the Antarctic.
7. The magnitude (0.3 K) and duration (two years) of the cooling from the Mt. Pinatubo eruption.
8. They made a retrodiction for Last Glacial Maximum sea surface temperatures which was inconsistent with the paleo evidence, and better paleo evidence showed the models were right.
9. They predicted a trend significantly different and differently signed from UAH satellite temperatures, and then a bug was found in the satellite data.
10. The amount of water vapor feedback due to ENSO.
11. The response of southern ocean winds to the ozone hole.
12. The expansion of the Hadley cells.
13. The poleward movement of storm tracks.
14. The rising of the tropopause and the effective radiating altitude.
15. The clear sky super greenhouse effect from increased water vapor in the tropics.
16. The near constancy of relative humidity on global average.
17. The expanded range of hurricanes and cyclones–a year before Cyclone Catarina showed up off the coast of Brazil, something which had never happened before.”


You sure you want to follow this line of argument, JR?

Wakefield writes: “It’s up to the warmers to show evidence that CO2 does impact global temps more so than other factors … .Since no one here can answer that…”

You have apparently forgotten that you and I were discussing just that exact question two days ago when you disappeared from a earlier thread.

You statement that “no one here can answer that” is directly answered by figure 2.23 of the IPCC 4AR, which shows the rapidly increasing impact of CO2 on warming since 1850, where the RF has rapidly increased more than any other single greenhouse gas. That answers your question. If you still doubt it, please post your references or reasons why you believe the RF calculations are in error.

Assuming he is there as part of the Congressional delegation (almost certainly), the State Department picks up the tab. Questions 1 and 2 would not have been good questions, in Capitol Hill circles the COP is a notorious junket for staffers in particular. A week in Bali where the State Department minders actually encourage you to wander off was a notable high water mark.

Q3 would be a stretch, though Inhofe has his uses for Monckton.

Q4 Senate business is actually more important for most Senators most years, but Inhofe routinely attends COP/MOP. As for the second part, history is a good example. His policy advisor in December 2007 in Bali carefully explained to a side event exactly how Lieberman-Warner would be defeated without ever really seeing a vote, and did so just 4 days after it went through committee. The playbook was there all along. Inhofe is a lot of things, but he not an idiot - any bill will face a brutal fight to get past him.

Q5 is naive. The trog oil companies fund him because he thinks what he does, not the other way around. He thinks what he does because Oklahoma is the most carbon-intensive state in one of the most carbon-intensive economies in the world. It is the black coal/oil heart of the nation.

Sorry, not a stretch. Monckton was invited to an EPW committee hearing by Inhofe to testify as an expert on climate change, instead of an actual scientist.

Having sat through far more EPW committee meetings on climate change and policy than I care to recall, being invited to appear by Inhofe’s office is hardly a mark of distinction. Calling Monckton his ‘top climate science adviser’ because he has been a witness called by Inhofe is a stretch. I would bet he isn’t even in the top 10 by appearances.