Review: Inhofe's 'Hoax' claims ring hollow in global warming debate
BY J.C. MOORE
Sunday, April 15, 2012
4/15/12 at 3:53 AM
Related story: Not quite ‘I told you so’
Sen. Jim Inhofe's long-promised book, "The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future" is now published. And perhaps the best way to explain the approach Inhofe takes is to start with a bit of history.
Inhofe went into politics because a Tulsa city engineer would not approve his request to move a fire escape on his building. Inhofe told the man that he was going to run for mayor and fire him when he won - which Inhofe did.
It is possible that there may have been a good reason to leave the fire escape where it was, such as it being easily accessible in case of a fire. That incident, however, shaped the former Tulsa mayor and current senior U.S. senator from Oklahoma's attitudes toward regulations, regulators and scientists whose research show the need for regulations.
Inhofe does not trust climate science because of the "Coming Ice Age" story popularized by columnist George Will. In the 1970s, scientists found that increased industrialization was causing not only an increase in particulates, which would cause global cooling, but also an increase in carbon dioxide, which would increase global warming.
There was no consensus among scientists about which effect would predominate. Scientific controversies are usually settled by the evidence, but this one was settled by the intervention of man. Particulates have serious health consequences, and by 1980 regulations were in place to limit particulate emissions.
As that happened, the temperature of the Earth began increasing again. The fossil fuel companies then became alarmed, as it was becoming apparent that we should also limit carbon emissions to keep the Earth's temperature at equilibrium. These companies began a propaganda campaign to convince us that carbon dioxide was harmless. If you believe that, remember the lesson of Picher.
Inhofe was instrumental in getting federal Superfund money to clean up the Picher lead mines in northeastern Oklahoma. Millions of dollars have been spent to mitigate the personal and environmental damage.
Inhofe claims in "The Greatest Hoax" that his stance is vindicated by the "Climategate" emails. In "Climategate," hackers stole 10 years of emails exchanged between climate scientists, and quotes were taken out of context, distorted and released to media sources.
There were claims that the scientists engaged in illegal and unethical acts, invalidating their work. As of today, eight independent formal investigations have been completed and none have found any scientific misconduct by the scientists involved.
Inhofe claims he is winning in his fight to debunk global warming, but he has a way to go. A 2010 Stanford University poll of 1,372 climate scientists found that 97 percent of the climate researchers most actively publishing in climate science agree that global warming is occurring and human activities are the main factor.
Every major scientific organization in the world has adopted a statement in agreement, some urging immediate action to mitigate the effects of climate change. A 2011 Stanford poll found that 83 percent of Americans think that global warming is happening and is the result of human action.
Many religious organizations have adopted statements urging stewardship, such as that of the Presbyterian Church, to which Inhofe claims membership. It states its "serious concern that the global atmospheric warming trend (the greenhouse effect) represents one of the most serious global environmental challenges to the health, security, and stability of human life and natural ecosystems."
But Inhofe's greatest adversary is nature itself, as research shows the climate is changing in response to human activities. The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is increasing, the temperature of the Earth is rising, the oceans are becoming more acidic, glaciers and polar ice caps are melting, sea levels are rising, the probability of severe weather events is increasing, and weather-related natural disasters are becoming more frequent and more costly.
It's time we examine more closely who is actually winning.
Original Print Headline: 'Hoax' claims ring hollow
J.C. Moore is a native Oklahoman who earned his Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Kansas State University. A retired professor of chemistry and physics, he is a member of the American Geophysical Union and Republicans for Environmental Protection. A more comprehensive version of this review can be found on Moore's website, tulsaworld.com/jcmoore.