MILAN, Italy — On many of the walls here at the Feira Milano conference center, site of the giant United Nations meeting on climate change, Green activists have posted flamboyant posters showing a picture of Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla), with a quotation from him: “Global warming is ‘the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people.’”
The idea being proffered by these sophisticates, of course, is that Inhofe is a typical American rube. Global warming a hoax! What a dope!
In fact, Inhofe is one of the best-informed Senators on the science and economics of global warming. And “global warming” — as it’s used by environmental extremists — is indeed a hoax.
Yes, the Earth’s surface has warmed a bit over the past century, but is that warming caused mainly by humans or by natural cycles? And can changes in human activity — specifically reductions in carbon-dioxide emissions — have anything more than a tiny effect on temperature? The answers to those questions, which are at the heart of the Kyoto Protocol and other attempts to force cuts in energy use, are simply unknown.
It is the claim of certainty that is a hoax. It’s a dangerous one, too, since using global-warming theory as the basis for extreme policy mandates could plunge the world into a long-term recession or even a depression.
The quote on the poster comes from Inhofe’s speech during debate over the McCain-Lieberman bill that would have curtailed greenhouse-gas emissions in the
One of the themes being promoted by Greens at this conference is that the American people want Kyoto-style measures to cut greenhouse gas emissions and that the close vote on McCain-Lieberman proves it. Wednesday’s issue of ECO, the daily conference newsletter backed by WWF International, Greenpeace and other environmental groups, refers to “mounting anger at home” to President Bush’s stance on climate change. “The American public is catching on to this charade,” claims ECO.
But several times this week, Inhofe has patiently explained the real arithmetic behind the Senate vote. First, it was 16 votes short of the 60 effectively needed for passage under Senate rules. Second, it was riddled with concessions to win votes. Without the amendments, Inhofe figures only 32 Senators would have backed it. Finally, the bill was sold under a claim that it would cost only $20 per household per year. A study commissioned by TechCentralStation and performed by Charles River Associates, the respected economic research firm, found that the costs would be at least 17 times that much.
Inhofe heads a congressional delegation of eight Republicans in
I sat down with Inhofe at breakfast at his hotel in
“I’m here,” he said, “to show that we are not going to ratify
That’s Inhofe at his finest. Straight talk. No nonsense.
Unlike some other members of Congress, who accept the scientific basis for
“Virtually all of the research since 1999 has been refuting [the theory of human-caused global warming]. It is ludicrous that
New research, for example, has challenged Michael Mann’s “hockey-stick” formula, which asserts that temperatures have risen sharply, in an unprecedented fashion. In fact, warming was worse centuries ago, before industrialization and automobiles.
The delegation met Wednesday with counterparts from
Some members of the delegation have been as forceful as Inhofe on the subject of climate-change science. For example, in 1998, with Bill Clinton in the White House, Sen. Larry Craig said, “As more and more American scientists review the available data on global warming, it is becoming increasingly clear that the vast majority believe the commitments for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions made by the administration in the Kyoto Protocol are an unnecessary response to an exaggerated threat the vice president himself [i.e., Al Gore] is caught up in making.”
The talk of the conference has been
Inhofe says that some Russians see negotiations on ratification “as a way to make some money. They want to see how big the bribe will be.” But, in the end, he thinks the Russians will reject
“I’m proud of Putin for having the courage to look at the science,” said Inhofe, referring to the Russian president. “In this environment, it takes courage.”
Inhofe also agrees with the assessment that this has been a particularly depressing conference for the Greens. The plenary sessions are only about half-full, and “there was no enthusiasm in the room.”
Meanwhile, Inhofe points out, the