Written by Roger Aronoff
The issue of global warming continues to be a fault line in this country and across the world. There are, on the one hand, those who believe, like Al Gore, that the earth is warming to a catastrophic degree, that it is caused by man’s overuse of carbon-based energy, and if we don’t hurry and do something about it we will face the melting of glaciers and ice sheets, biblical flooding, and increased tornadoes and hurricanes. Their holy grail is the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which they cite as confirmation of their theories.
In a recent interview with Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), we discussed his recent book, The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future, in which he documents his personal journey of discovery on this issue—from his early days in politics, as the mayor of Tulsa, to his time as a congressman—from his years in the insurance and oil businesses, and seeing firsthand the heavy hand of the federal government.
In what way is global warming a hoax? Inhofe said, “...I’m talking about MoveOn.org, George Soros, Michael Moore, the Al Gore Hollywood elites, and all that. These are people who really want to believe this, and they have unlimited funds that they pour into campaigns. They brag about having ‘defeated’ people, that they’re able to do, and that’s how they got so much political power. That is where the hoax comes in, because they’re perpetrating a hoax, and that hoax is that catastrophic global warming is taking place in the world now, and it’s due to manmade gases—CO2, carbon, methane, that type of thing—and what they want to do is just shut down this machine called America.”
Inhofe has led the battle in the Senate to block cap-and-trade legislation after it had passed the House. Cap-and-trade is supposed to be a market-based plan to reduce pollution, and in this case CO2, with the goal of halting or slowing global warming. He has had quiet support in the Senate, but he was the one willing to be hammered by the media and his Senate colleagues for not toeing the line and agreeing that this is settled science and necessary for the preservation of earth as we know it.
In a recent article in American Thinker by Randall Hoven, a retired Boeing Technical Fellow who, following a three-year stint in the U.S. Navy, worked at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory from 1979 to 1982, has laid out the most recent scientific findings on global warming. He uses data from NASA/GISS (Goddard Institute for Space Studies) data going back to 1880, and the Hadley Center from Great Britain which goes back with the data to 1875.
In short, both temperature data sets (NASA and Hadley Center) show:
1. Minimal global warming over the last 130 to 160 years: about half a degree Celsius per century.
2. No statistically significant global warming in the last 14 to 17 years.
3. Global cooling in the last 9 to 13 years.
In addition, Hoven cites the same data to shatter another myth, the melting of the Arctic ice. “While Northern Hemisphere winter sea ice extent was shrinking over much of the time that satellite measurements have been available (since 1979), the trend over the last eight years has been growth. There has been no statistically significant shrinkage of winter sea ice in the Northern Hemisphere for 13 years (since 1999).”
Adds Hoven, “Southern Hemisphere winter sea ice extent has grown over all the 32 years that satellites have been measuring it. And that growth is statistically significant.”
But James Hansen, who heads up GISS, sees it quite differently. “[g]lobal warming isn’t a prediction. It is happening.” Hansen, in a New York Times column in May, called the situation “apocalyptic” and faulted President Obama for failing to “provide the leadership needed to change the world’s course.”
However, in late March of this year, a group of 49 former NASA scientists and astronauts joined a growing list of scientists who now publicly reject the global warming theory that says, with a high degree of certainty, man-made CO2 is a major cause of climate change. They all signed an open letter to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, criticizing the agency for its role in advocating this theory as proven science, while ignoring or neglecting empirical evidence contradicting the conventional view.
The group who signed the letter includes seven Apollo astronauts and two former directors of NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. They argue that NASA, and specifically GISS, rely too heavily on climate models that have not been borne out over time.
“We believe the claims by NASA and GISS that man-made carbon dioxide is having a catastrophic impact on global climate change are not substantiated,” they wrote, “especially when considering thousands of years of empirical data. With hundreds of well-known climate scientists and tens of thousands of other scientists publicly declaring their disbelief in the catastrophic forecasts, coming particularly from the GISS leadership, it is clear that the science is NOT settled.”
Another figure lauded by Sen. Inhofe is VÃ¡clav Klaus, the president of the Czech Republic. He spoke in May at The Heartland Institute conference in Chicago, where he stated that the global warming alarmists “have succeeded in establishing the religion of environmentalism as the official religion of Western society—a religion that demands a radical transformation of Western civilization. Skeptics must continue the ideological battles. As he has stated previously, the purpose of this entire issue is to control human behavior—human liberty.”
As with every issue, there will always be conflicting opinions, and in many cases, conflicting facts. So in the end, each person has to decide for him or herself whether or not they choose to believe that man-made global warming is real, and if so, what can and should be done about it.
To those who believe, or in some cases claim to know it is occurring, what is the optimum average global temperature we should be seeking? Could a planet that is another degree or two warmer mean less need for heating fuel, and a higher yield in food crops? Are we certain that carbon dioxide is the culprit, and is it realistic to think we can tweak that average global temperature by reducing its output; and at what cost in terms of dollars, and in terms of the surrendering of our sovereignty to a United Nations bureaucracy that is largely hostile to U.S. interests?
Now that thousands of scientists dissent from the alarmist point of view, and former hardcore believers have abandoned the theory, can the remaining scientists still claim there is a consensus that man-made global warming exists, and that we must take drastic measures to prevent the potential catastrophic impact of said warming? And should the media still label the skeptics as “deniers,” as in Holocaust deniers?
In The Greatest Hoax, Inhofe states, “I believe that many globalist elites have worked within the United Nations to expand its responsibility to an alarming degree. Now, instead of facilitating international cooperation, I believe the UN’s primary institutional goal—in practice, if not in word—is to actively build a global utopia. The UN believes that it can—with enough power and influence—determine what is best for the world by reaching agreements by majority agreement, or better yet—consensus—among all of the member states participating at the United Nations.”
Also in the book, Inhofe publishes verbatim more than 100 of the leaked emails from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) of East Anglia University, resulting in what came to be known as “ClimateGate.”
If it wasn’t clear that the global warming theory was in trouble when the ClimateGate scandal erupted in 2009, showing the corruption in academia willing to “hide the decline” and suppress scientific studies and views that didn’t conform to those of the “warmists,” then it should have been when they largely dropped the term “global warming” and replaced it with “climate change.” Who, after all, could disagree with the notion that the climate is changing? It has been changing since the beginning of time. One would have to be positively anti-science to make such a suggestion, a term thrown around a lot by the Left to describe the Republicans who ran for president this year.
When Republicans won control of the U.S. Senate in 2002, Sen. Inhofe became chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. His view was that the committee’s work would rely on the most objective science available, and that it would take into consideration the costs to businesses and consumers.
Sen. Inhofe also sits on the Senate Armed Services and Senate Foreign Relations Committees. In our interview in May, we discussed not only his book, but also issues related to his work on the other above-mentioned committees. Following are excerpts from that interview. You can listen to the entire interview or read the transcript here:
INHOFE: With the first of his four budgets, I knew he was going to start disarming America, so I went to Afghanistan. I knew that I’d get national attention by responding to it. That was the budget, you’ll remember, he did away with our only fifth generation fighter, the F-22; did away with our lift capability, the C-17; did away with our Future Combat System; did away with our ground-based interceptors in Poland, which is about the only thing we have to stop something coming in to the eastern United States from Iran. It just got worse and worse—now, it’s projected, from his budgets, we’ll lose another half trillion dollars from the defense budget, and then another half trillion dollars if we can’t stop what they call “sequestration.” I won’t try to go into that. Just take my word for it: This guy is disarming America.
INHOFE: ...Remember that, even before he was elected President, he said, “I’m absolutely committed to closing Gitmo”—that’s Guantanamo Bay. Now, Guantanamo Bay is a state-of-the-art place. It’s the only place we can put these combatants, other than sending them back—and then they’re turned loose to go back into the battle. We have refused to let him do that, legislatively, so he has refused to put any new people in there in the last four years. Now, getting back to Osama bin Laden, what was the information that led to his demise? It all came from interrogations at Gitmo! Consequently, if Obama had been successful in closing Gitmo, very likely that wouldn’t have happened. So there he is over there, taking credit for something that the Navy SEALs did a great job on—but they used the information they got from Gitmo. That’s the type of thing we deal with with him that’s very, very frustrating.
INHOFE: You can have your plans for when you’re going to withdraw, but you don’t tell the enemy that you’re going to withdraw—and when you’re going to withdraw. That’s the one thing that almost everyone agrees that [Obama] should not have done.
INHOFE: I look at what the most egregious things this President has done are. Number one—and not necessarily in this order—is what he’s doing to the military... Secondly, there’s what he’s doing to energy, domestic energy. Here we have—and everyone knows this, now—the largest recoverable reserves of coal, oil, and gas of any country in the world. We could be completely independent from the Middle East in a matter of months, not years, if we would just export our own. But he won’t allow us to drill. He says exploration and production has increased during his three-and-a-half years as President. Yes—that’s all on private land, which he can’t stop. On public land, it’s actually been reduced by 17% in spite of all the new finds. The third area would be what he’s done with the budget. A lot of people don’t realize that the President is the guy who designs the budget—not the parties, not the House or the Senate. It’s the President, and what he has done, in his four budgets, is give us $5.3 trillion in deficit.
INHOFE: He’s killing business, industry—and, of course, the crown jewel of all his regulations is none other than cap-and-trade. We all remember the cap-and-trade legislation that came after Kyoto was never submitted for ratification, and the cost of cap-and-trade is now—and, again, no one refutes this—between $300 and $400 billion a year. For those who are skeptics, Roger, who are listening to us, who don’t believe that I’ve been right for the last ten years—and I’ve been lonely, I have to admit, but I’ve been right—even Lisa Jackson, the administrator of the EPA, an Obama administrator, when I asked the question, on the record, live on TV, “If we were to pass cap-and-trade either by regulation or legislation, would that reduce greenhouse gases?” admitted, “No.” Because this isn’t where the problem is. It’s in India, in China, in Mexico, and other places where they don’t have any restrictions. So even if I’m wrong on this, you would be charging the American people a tax of $300 or $400 billion, and you don’t get anything for it. So that’s the critical thing: They’ve given up now—we’ve defeated—the first bills out of the chute, the McCain-Lieberman bill of ’03, then of ’05. We defeated those bills, so now the President is trying to do it with regulations, which would cost even more than just the $300 or $400 billion a year.
ARONOFF: Let me jump in here. I want to ask you what the agenda is. First of all, with this idea that there’s a consensus among all scientists—you have shown, numerous times, that there are many who formerly were in that camp who have left it, and now are, basically, pure skeptics. But the agenda—do you think it is the transfer of wealth from the rich countries to the poor? A system of global taxation? You quoted, in your book, Jacques Chirac, in 2001, saying that Kyoto was the first component of an “authentic global governance.”
INHOFE: Exactly. If you will remember, at that time, three of the leaders in France—a guy named Claude Allegre, Roger, was leading all the marches down there on global warming and the end of the world coming, and he has totally turned around. He is a scientist, and he said, “No, it’s really not true after all.” David Bellamy: Same thing in the U.K. A guy named Nir Shaviv in Israel—these are scientists that were on the other side. Once they started coming back over—and I have to say that, on several speeches—if anyone wants to come to my website, it’s inhofe.senate.gov, you can see the speeches I’ve given. Way back—we’re talking about several years ago, back in about ’03 and ’04—scientists started coming to me, saying, “They’re cooking the science. The U.N. is cooking the science.” Clearly, most of the scientists now are on the other side of this issue.
INHOFE: The Secretary of Defense came out and said that global warming was a national security issue. Well, he had to say that because his boss is Obama. [The Secretary] talked about droughts, yet right now, we know—and no one questions the fact—that the most severe drought we had was in 1935, when 80% of the country was covered by that, when this last one we had was only 25%. They talk about sea levels rising, but the Journal of Geophysical Research says there hasn’t been any statistically significant rise in sea levels over the past 100 years. So all these things they’re saying happened, they’re all part of Al Gore’s science fiction movie, and they’ve all been discredited. What I want them to do is at least pull up the website of my book—Greatesthoax.com.
INHOFE: We hear a lot about the drive-by media. They’ve been clearly on that side. It’s kind of interesting, though: The same media there is the same media that is giving Obama a pass on all of his spending, all the things he’s doing to the military, what he’s doing to energy in America. They’re clearly on his side, but in spite of that, through a combination of talk radio, Fox News, and a handful of stations that are now wanting their ratings to quit plummeting, the media is catching on, and is being a little bit more honest. It was clearly driven by the media, and that media was driven by the MoveOn.org mentality that is trying to take individual initiative away from America.â€¢