Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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July 23, 2010

INHOFE STILL SEES 'GLOBAL COOLING'.... It happens every year. Winter comes, snow falls, and right-wing nuts start insisting that cold weather necessarily disproves global warming.

And perhaps no nut is as aggressive in his denialism than Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), who continues to believe winters constitute evidence against climate change. But if the confused conservative senator considers January reason enough to reject the science behind global warming, what does he think of late July? ABC's Jonathan Karl asked him.

...Washington is sweating under record heat. Earlier this month, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that, globally, 2010 is the hottest year on record since record-keeping began in 1880.

Inhofe was still not deterred when ABC's Jon Karl invited the Oklahoma Republican to talk about the issue outside the Capitol building, in 95-degree, humid July heat.

"I say the same thing we said back in January and February when we had the coldest winter in a long time," said Inhofe, from a shady spot in front of the Capitol Building. ... "We're in a cycle now that all the scientists agree is going into a cooling period," he said.

And Inhofe would be entirely right, if by "all the scientists," he meant "all the lobbyists representing the oil and coal industries."

Karl talked to the chief scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Climatic Data Center, who was unequivocal. "What I don't understand is when you see evidence, that looks at all those indicators in one place, on one figure, decrease in glaciers, I don't see how any reasonable person can look at that and not agree that the globe is warming," Thomas Peterson said. "The indicators are irrefutable."

As for Inhofe's bizarre belief in global cooling, take a moment to consider this David Leonhardt piece from the other day.

All the while, the risks and costs of climate change grow. Sea levels are rising faster than scientists predicted just a few years ago. Himalayan glaciers are melting. In the American West, pine beetles (which struggle to survive the cold) are multiplying and killing trees.

According to NASA, 2010 is on course to be the planet's hottest year since records started in 1880. The current top 10, in descending order, are: 2005, 2007, 2009, 1998, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2004, 2001 and 2008.

The only thing more dangerous than Jim Inhofe's allergy to reason is a Senate that mandates supermajorities to approve all public policy. If the chamber operated the way it was designed and intended to operate -- the way every legislative body on the planet functions -- it could approve legislation to deal with the climate crisis. Instead, with a Senate featuring 59 Democrats, Inhofe's stupidity rules the day.

The consequences will be severe. History will not be kind.

Steve Benen 3:50 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (36)

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Baghdad Bob has a new companion: Igloo Inhofe.

Posted by: eightnine2718281828mu5 on July 23, 2010 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

yes, but Inhofe, like my global warmng deniyng mother, will be dead. I will miss my mom. Inhofe? As Borat says, "Not so much"

Posted by: joyzeeboy on July 23, 2010 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK

i wish i believed in hell so i could be certain that inhofe will eventually get what he deserves.

Posted by: ahoy polloi on July 23, 2010 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

I still see Inhofe's pants as on fire.

Posted by: chrenson on July 23, 2010 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK

Even more damning is the fact that all of the years of record heat listed above, except for one (1998), also happen to be all of the years Bush was in power. Each year also coincided with vehement denial of climate change by the Republicans and their mockery of people like Gore who were being proven right... every. single. year.

I genuinely despair for humanity and the money required for people like Inhofe to avoid doing anything about environmental catastrophe. Hard to believe we're supposed to be the 'evolved' ones... *sigh*

Posted by: Kiweagle on July 23, 2010 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

Jesus will return before the waters get too high, or the climate becomes too extreme.

You don't want the remaining time, short though it is spoiled by the specters of gay marriage and slightly higher marginal rates of income tax, do you?

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on July 23, 2010 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

On the bright side, I've been told that the earth is actually only 6,000 years old and The Rapture is due any day now.

Of course, anyone not a Republican, baptized christian, and heterosexual is pretty much screwed under this system (apologies to GOP Rep. Cantor, who is Jewish - brownie points don't count apparently).

Posted by: Kiweagle on July 23, 2010 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

Mr. Inhofe apparently doesn't understand the difference between weather and climate. My children learned that in earth science in 8th grade!

That's the problem - these morons don't understand fundamental concepts of science. Like what happens when you add increasing amounts of carbon dioxide to a closed system in the presence of solar radiation - the temperature goes up. This isn't a matter of opinion or conjecture. It is a scientific fact!

Posted by: Sam Simple on July 23, 2010 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

Inhofe is not a "nut" and he is not "stupid".


Inhofe is not crazy -- he is a bought-and-paid-for lying stooge.

Steve Benen wrote: "The consequences will be severe. History will not be kind."

"History" will have nothing to say about it, because historians will not exist.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on July 23, 2010 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

There'll be no history to judge if people aren't there to write it.
I'm starting to think that may not be a bad thing. Give the earth a fresh start. Maybe it can finally come up with an intellegent species before the sun explodes...

Posted by: c u n d gulag on July 23, 2010 at 4:24 PM | PERMALINK

So why can't 59 votes prevail? The public doesn't understand at all. If it's a matter of the Senate's rules, and those rules change when the new Senate is seated, won't that change in January?

Posted by: keith on July 23, 2010 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

I don't see how any reasonable person...

Well, Inhofe isn't one of those. He is, after all, from the state founded by southern whites too stupid to steal land from the Indians on their own without the government doing it for them.

Posted by: TCinLA on July 23, 2010 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

These guys will deny climate change well beyond the grave. Denial suits their attitude garnered apparently from their religion that anything humans do is blessed by God, if you are on the right side of God. Remember for Inhofe, the greatest hoax is the separation of church and state, not climate change, which is number two on his list. Also Inhofe and his ilk need more oil, I think it runs in their veins. Does he need a top up of 30 weight or does he use multigrade?

We waste our time thinking we can change their minds, when confronted by another view they dig in, drag their feet. I lost a friend recently-- an uncle who turned on his heel and walked away when I pointed out the inconsistencies is his argument. He no longer talks to me.

Posted by: AlanDean on July 23, 2010 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

Said the chief Lemming to his flock, eat, procreate, enjoy.

Posted by: Cycledoc on July 23, 2010 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

Even aside from the difference between weather and climate, Inhofe is flat wrong in his description of last winter's weather.

Washington D.C. and surrounding areas had one of the worst winter storms in their history. However, December to February was the 5th warmest winter on record overall. New England and the Pacific Northwest were particularly warm. Maine recorded the 4rd warmest winter on record and here in the NW, the Vancouver Winter Olympics had significant problems due to balmy temperatures and a lack of snow.

Posted by: tanstaafl on July 23, 2010 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK

The anti-science, anti-logic, born-again crowd is more than well represented in our Congress, and in addition since ignorant Imhofe comes from an oil state he's bound to be a bought-and-paid-for stooge of the fossil fuel crowd.

Extreme weather events, cold or hot, are not in themselves an indicator of climate change. As has been documented over and over, however, the frequency of extreme weather events has increased, and that is a harbinger of climate change. Thus the extreme cold in some places last winter, and the extreme heat this summer fit that model very well.

There is no point in even trying to engage with a blockhead like Imhofe. He has to be kept out of any influential post, and when the Dimocrats grow a spine, as unlikely as that is, they may just maintain a majority and do away with the fillibuster. I hope I live to see it. One thing is sure: if the Rethugs get back in they will find a way to keep the Dims from using the fillibuster.

. On the other hand my house is fifty feet about sea level, and if I live long enough I may own ocean front property yet. My heirs will enjoy that. Let them pay the taxes.

Posted by: rrk1 on July 23, 2010 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

And when you say "59 Democrats" you are being exceedingly generous in that description.

By most measures, Ben Nelson should not be included as a Democrat.

Posted by: karen marie on July 23, 2010 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

History? Good God Steve.

No one will even be AROUND to write history, or if they are we will be reduced to such a low level of civilization that people won't even care about history being concerned instead with surviving the day.

Posted by: MNPundit on July 23, 2010 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK

You know if it wasn't for all the extra carbon we are pumping into the air Inhofe might be right.

Thank God for Exxon. It has saved me from shoveling July snow. :)

Posted by: Ron Byers on July 23, 2010 at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK

From all accounts I have read, we have passed the tipping point, which means that even if we, the human population, emitted zero carbon into the atmosphere, the Earth is going to continue to heat.

And I say with all seriousness, i don't give a damn, not because it's not serious, but because I have no children and I prefer to spend my energy on something that will actually make a difference.

Even if the climate bill was passed to like of democrats, which is a fantasy, it's not going to change anything but possibly slow down the inevitable. Which is that the poorest nations will pay the price of the richest ones. Food supplies will decrease, clean water will disappear, famine, droughts, and all the other nasty business that is inevitable will come to bear and I won't be here.

I think anyone, and I know this will offend, that consciously has children knowing what the future holds is a fool.

I am an optimist, but I am more of a realist, and it's apparent that some generation in the near future is going to look like some apocalyptic movie. We are brutalizing the very resources needed to sustain life.

Here we are on a very large Easter Island with the republicans busy chopping down trees and erecting useless statues while the rest of population continues to multiply. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that it unsustainable. It's a done deal, humans are just too stupid to realize it, the only question really is how long.

Posted by: ScottW714 on July 23, 2010 at 5:22 PM | PERMALINK

Personally, I think a hotter climate will be a boon to America, no more hiding those flabby bodies under layers of clothing. Sheer embarrassment should force a change in eating and exercise habits...

Posted by: KurtRex1453 on July 23, 2010 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

Sharing isn't working for me-when I try to Share to Facebook, the same article keeps coming up-one on GOP running on Bush. Is anyone else having the same problem?

Posted by: Brian on July 23, 2010 at 5:24 PM | PERMALINK

Climate change is such a life-or-death issue that if Muslims, Scary Black People, gays, or illegal aliens were in some part responsible, we'd be under national mobilization to combat it. Of course, because there are no cinematic villains here, we do nothing. And when it is truly too late, we'll find a way to excuse "real Americans" and blame the "others".

Posted by: walt on July 23, 2010 at 5:56 PM | PERMALINK

I hope all the deniers and obstructionist Senators live to be 150 and see the hell they have wrought on the Earth. The future belongs to the r-selected species.

Posted by: S. cerevisiae on July 23, 2010 at 6:13 PM | PERMALINK

All the scientists agree there is global cooling? Sheesh. Don't worry be happy!

Posted by: Jamie on July 23, 2010 at 6:28 PM | PERMALINK

ScottW714 may sadly be right. The climate gurus I hang around with are all pretty damn pessimistic about how little time there is. The horse will be out the door before any real C reductions occur politically. Time to focus on mitigation, flood control strategies, moving some crops northward, etc.

Posted by: bigtuna on July 23, 2010 at 6:35 PM | PERMALINK

Inhofe is an idiot. Enough said,

Posted by: sparrow on July 23, 2010 at 6:58 PM | PERMALINK

I have nothing to worry about. Our problem is going to be the pine beetles killing our trees. And that's already happening. By the time we do something to stop it, our trees will already be dead. And death is not a temporary condition. Those trees won't magically come back to life.

Posted by: fostert on July 23, 2010 at 7:24 PM | PERMALINK

If I hear one more person equate snowy winters with global cooling, I am going to on a rampage. Have these politards not ever heard of the phrase "too cold to snow?"

Posted by: touché on July 23, 2010 at 8:46 PM | PERMALINK

Oddly enough, global sea ice coverage is close to average for this time of year:


SH is refreezing as fast as NH is melting.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on July 23, 2010 at 9:46 PM | PERMALINK

One day very soon the very wealthy will realize they are completely screwed by catastrophic climate change. They have much more to lose than the common man. They have all that wealth in jeopardy. When that realization sinks in the message will change over night. Rush, Glenn Beck and the rest of the right wing shock troops will change their tune. America needs to act! The Democrats have let America down by not stopping climate change. And the wealthy will insist that we all pay for their stupidity and make it go away...

Posted by: Nat on July 23, 2010 at 10:13 PM | PERMALINK

"Senator, you're ridiculous."

Btw, greetings from Der Spiegel.

Posted by: eserwe on July 23, 2010 at 10:37 PM | PERMALINK

It may be that Senator Imhofe is a sunspot fan.


Posted by: jamiej on July 24, 2010 at 12:39 AM | PERMALINK

Not that I'm a sunspot believer but it was big back in the 70s.

Posted by: jamie on July 24, 2010 at 12:41 AM | PERMALINK

Of course, when global warming reduces Oklahoma to a dust bowl like happened in the 30's, Imhofe will be leading the charge for more Federal involvement and support.

Posted by: bob h on July 24, 2010 at 6:05 AM | PERMALINK

The Good Senator is right.

We are at the end of the hottest century since the mini-ice age and that is based on sunspot activity. The sunspot cycles since 1933 have been some of the strongest on record and just finished off three years ago.

The present cycle is matching the early 1700s and 1800s cycles. Thus, those that research this are accurate in their predictions.

We are looking at least 30 years of severe winters and droughts. If the sunspot cycles continue to be low past that, we will be back in another mini-ice age.

It should be noted that the start of another ice age is just around the corner. It appears we have been in a peak period for some time.

It is a shame people can't count their blessings. Instead. Too many have complained.

Paul Pierett

Posted by: Paul Pierett on August 1, 2010 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK



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