CALLER: Yes, I agree with the Senator on what he says about the climate change. I believe that the world is just changing like it usually does….
INHOFE: I think he’s right. I think what he’s saying is God’s still up there. We’re going through these cycles. … I really believe that a lot of people are in denial who want to hang their hat on the fact, that they believe is a fact, that man-made gases, anthropogenic gases, are causing global warming. The science really isn’t there.
Thank God the Senator from Oklahoma is here to promise us that that the Almighty will override at a planetary level the laws of physics He created and simply stop human-emissions of heat-trapping gases from ravaging his Creation. Now if we can only get Inhofe to tell God to stop all cancers and traffic accidents, too.
More seriously, the only thing more stunning than the fact that a U.S. Senator — the ranking minority member on the Environment and Public Works committee, no less — would advance such a predeterministic view is that anyone in the media would treat him seriously (see for instance, “NYT’s Green Inc. blog wins worst headline of the day“).
But this fundamentalist, anti-scientific tripe, far from disqualifying Inhofe, puts him in very good company with other leading conservative politicians:
- In April, Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) said he knows with 100% certainty that humans can’t cause devastating sea level rise because God said in the Bible he would “never again” devastate humans with a flood again (see Rep. Shimkus: “Man will not destroy this Earth. This Earth will not be destroyed by a flood.” Rep. Barton: “I wish I had another dozen John Shimkuses on the committee.”).
- In July, Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX) extended that doctrine. Armey told GOP members of Congress on Capitol Hill that because “the lord God almighty made the heavens and the Earth … to his satisfaction … it is quite pretentious of we little weaklings here on earth to think that, that we are going to destroy God’s creation” [see Lobbyist Dick Armey’s Gospel of Pollution (GOP)“].
It bears repeating that the fact the climate has changed in the past, does not mean humans can’t change the climate today. Quite the reverse. As the famous climatologist Wallace Broecker, climate scientist, wrote in a 1995 Nature article:
The paleoclimate record shouts out to us that, far from being self-stabilizing, the Earth’s climate system is an ornery beast which overreacts even to small nudges.
The point is that “natural cycles” do not mean “random cycles.” The climate changes when it is forced to change. Past warmings were driven by natural forcings, including massive releases of greenhouse gases. But now humans are dwarfing the natural cycles and natural forcings by pumping out greenhouse gases at a much higher rate than ever occurred in the past — see Humans boosting CO2 14,000 times faster than nature, overwhelming slow negative feedbacks.
If the “Earth’s climate system is an ornery beast which overreacts to even small nudges,” what will happen to people foolish enough to keep punching it in the face? The answer is biblical, but rather than divine intervention, it will, I fear, be Hell and High Water.
H/t to Think Progress, which posted the video and gives its background.
On C-Span’s Washington Journal this week, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), the godfather of global warming deniers, said that he will travel to the climate change summit in Copenhagen this fall to present “another view.” “I think somebody has to be there — a one-man truth squad,” he said. Throughout the program, Inhofe went through his tattered global warming denier claims: that climate change is a “hoax,” that CO2 is not a pollutant, and — latching on to the latest false right-wing talking point — that clean energy legislation will cost American families $1,700 a year.