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Inhofe on why global warming isnt real: “Gods still up there.”

By Joe Romm on September 27, 2009 at 8:08 pm

"Inhofe on why global warming isnt real: “Gods still up there.”"

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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:

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.

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39 Responses to Inhofe on why global warming isnt real: “Gods still up there.”

  1. Rick says:

    So he’s a serious church goer? – maybe not. Maybe “God is still up there” is just a way of saying the cosmos is bigger than us and we can’t really disrupt things all that much – that we don’t have our fingers on any important buttons.

    That’s how I choose to read it.

    [JR: I don't see that reading. You don't need to invoke God to push that line.]

    For politicians, talking about God is usually just a way to get an in with a considerable portion of the electorate.

  2. Cynthia McPherson says:

    How can he get by with that? He’s in a position of leadership, supposedly acting on behalf of the American people and yet sits there, lieing through his teeth. It seems like he could be sued.

    Furthermore, as far as his reference to God goes, it’s obvious he has no concept of the Reality of God or he wouldn’t sit there lieing, having the audacity to act like he knows more than the majority of scientists, and basically giving consent to destroy the planet God created. He makes me nauseaus.

  3. paulm says:

    Birdbrain. I guess the recessions God’s fault too. How does he get to represent the people?

  4. ecostew says:

    Inhofe – one scientifically intellectually ungrounded guy. One might say!!!!, but not at Joe’s blog.

  5. RN says:

    God help the USA. (and the world)

    People like him are in charge.

    We’re all doomed.

  6. Tim says:

    God, save us from “your people.”

  7. Lou Grinzo says:

    Once again, it comes down to the following issue:

    Either Inhofe believes what he’s saying, or he’s lying for one or more reasons.

    You can decide for yourselves which it is, and which would be worse.

  8. lgcarey says:

    What can you say, other than (amazingly) his grasp of theology is even worse than his grasp of science? If he were in charge, we would indeed all be doomed.

  9. Sable says:

    “… it is quite pretentious of we little weaklings here on earth to think that, that we are going to destroy God’s creation”
    Dick Armey (R-TX)

    The utter ignorance of this statement is baffling – there seems more than a little false piety in it.

    Landscapes many seem to assume are unchanged since the days of the pioneers have been forever altered by our pollution, poor land use practices, invasive exotic plants, insects, and on and on. This is just in North America. And never mind the long litany of species we’ve driven to actual or functional extinction, either by direct persecution or as a consequence of rendering their habitats unlivable. A good portion of “God’s creation” is already gone or changed forever, and we did it.

    Mr. Armey perhaps fails to appreciate that Genesis is a timeless and living story, and right now it looks as if we are in the process of expelling ourselves from the garden.

  10. dhogaza says:

    So he’s a serious church goer? – maybe not. Maybe “God is still up there” is just a way of saying the cosmos is bigger than us and we can’t really disrupt things all that much – that we don’t have our fingers on any important buttons.

    That’s how I choose to read it.

    I’m sure you’re right. God, after all, would never allow us to develop hydrogen bombs, right?

    That’s an important button and since God owns all the important buttons, scientists and their co-conspiracy nuclear engineers, the military, USSR, etc are all in on the fraud, right? This button can’t exist, it’s far too important, and God wouldn’t allow it.

    I’m sure that’s what Inhofe meant.

  11. paulm says:

    Autumn 2009 › Conversation
    Dr. James Hansen

    So then we arrive at [civil resistance]: I think the point is – just as Gandhi did – to try to draw attention to what is just and what is unjust. It is kind of a last resort, but the problem is we are running out of time. That is what science has made very clear. It is very hard for people to understand this because the magnitude of global warming is so small in comparison to weather fluctuations, and yet what has become clear in the last few years is that it doesn’t take a very large global change in order to have enormous implications in the long run.

    Do you think, then, that more people should start getting involved in civil resistance, in particular when it comes to stopping coal and mountaintop removal mining?

    Yeah. We have got to get Obama to pay attention to this because, as I say, I think he is our best hope. But so far, he seems to be forgetting his obligation to young people.

  12. Roger says:

    Inhofe’s either ignorant or a liar.

    If he were an ordinary citizen, with a small voice, that would be fine. Or, if he were speaking about something that only impacted the people of Oklahoma, that would be OK with me too.

    But it’s not fine when a U.S. senator uses his position to lead people to believe that rapid climate change is not happening! Such talk feeds false hope, thus slowing our progress towards solving the problem.

    With climate change impacting us all, it becomes personal: It’s as if Inhofe’s in a big, slowly sinking boat with me, my family, and lots of other people I care about. Then we see him drilling holes through the hull. Where’s the outrage? Where’s the justice?

    Maybe we need to revamp whatever allows this to happen. It’s wrong.

  13. Marion Delgado says:

    Always bear in mind that Marc Morano, PR hack and scientist-libeler, has only one real claim to fame – being the Renfrew to this cornpone Count Crankula.

  14. BBHY says:

    This is a serious flaw in the American congressional system. The power in the Senate goes to the most senior Senators. You don’t have to do anything special, not be any smarter or be a great leader or be more effective, just hang around long enough and you get more power.

    Now, the Senators who stay around the longest are going to be the ones with the least demanding, least discriminating constituents, the same ones who gladly eat up exactly the sort of bull that Inhofe is tossing.

    So the American system tends to elevate that worst Senators to the most powerful positions.

  15. Richard Brenne says:

    Joe -

    Before I saw this I got a call from a denier I know who must’ve taken some bad acid because he got these two stories thoroughly mixed up. He was a little garbled on the phone but claimed Inhofe had won Time’s environmental hero award, that you’d said God was a hoax and global warming was still up there, but as I hung up I think he was saying something about your blogging with Inhofe on your lap.

    Anyway, shame on Inhofe (best described by a contempuous line Nicholson delivers in Chinatown – you can guess which one), and most of all, congratulations on your well-deserved citation.

    I’m teaching an on-line class on climate change with a grant from NASA, and while alerting our students to the fact that you’re a policy advocate, we’ve also told them that we’ve yet to find errors in your interpretation of the science, which continues to be the most impressive of anyone.

    In an earlier comment I mentioned McKibben’s “End of Nature” should be required reading to be a member of our species. Okay, and “Hell and High Water”, too.

    Keep up the good work. This time I know our side will win.

  16. Crazy Bill says:

    @Sable – don’t forget mountain removal mining in the Adirondaks – if ever there was evidence that us ‘weakling humans’ can totally transform large areas of God’s beautiful creation, there it is in plain view.

  17. Nick Palmer says:

    I really think that it is about time that people like Inhofe were outed as mad bad and dangerous to know (Lady Caroline Lamb’s description of the poet Lord Byron).

    Diplomatic and measured defence of the science is losing the battle with the people. Denialist inspired belief is growing.

    Surely people like Inhofe can only be one of three things – stupid (they keep repeating highly invalid arguments and rhetoric that has been comprehensively demolished a thousand times), insane (they are not capable of understanding reality and are impervious to outside input) or evil (they secretly know that what they are spouting is dangerous garbage but don’t care because they believe that their personal goals and desires outrank the threat that they are wilfully exposing everybody’s future too).

    Nick Palmer

    On the side of the Planet – and the people – because they’re worth it

    Blogspot – Sustainability and stuff according to Nick Palmer

  18. Passerby says:

    Inhofe is tempting God.

  19. DavidCOG says:

    This is nothing new for Inhofe. From 2006:

    > All of the science since 1999 has repudiated the idea that global warming caused by man-made gases — that’s methane and Co2- – is causing a global warming, … And God is still up there and weather does change, …

    Inhofe is a member of some shady, powerful, Rapture-ready evangelical group in Washington – a crazy little club open to a select few. I can’t remember details but I think it’s mentioned in The Denial Machine.

    Also, his crazy, scary thinking is not confined to global warming:

    > “One of the reasons I believe the spiritual door was opened for an attack against the United States of America is that the policy of our Government has been to ask the Israelis, and demand it with pressure, not to retaliate in a significant way against the terrorist strikes that have been launched against them.”

    “Spiritual door” = his god. Yup, his god allowed 9/11 because the US stood in the way of Israelis wiping out the Palestinians. Google ‘the rapture israel’ to find out how terrifyingly crazy these people are. It beggars belief that the likes of Inhofe are in positions of power – and not in an asylum.

  20. DavidCOG says:

    Another damning statement on Inhofe came from Daniel Schrag, professor of earth and planetary sciences at Harvard and director of the Harvard University Center for the Environment. He described a senate hearing, chaired by Inhofe as “a gathering of liars and charlatans, sponsored by those industries who want to protect their profits.”

  21. rationalist says:

    Joe-

    Either people want to bury their head in the sand and not see global warming as a serious threat, or invoke God and natural cycles. People who invoke God or natural cycles are admitting to the fact that there is warming going on. Its just that they do not want to admit that human actions are resulting in changes to the climate. When we have cold temperatures, snow storms in the northeast US, it is difficult to believe global warming. People would start believing only when there are a series of serious disruptions. Such have not happened as yet. When serious food or water shortages result, then global warming or change will be taken seriously. Such shortages have not been observed as yet, especially in large and populated countries.

  22. Gail says:

    Krugman says it all this morning:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/28/opinion/28krugman.html

    [JR: I wonder where he saw that study....]

  23. Robert says:

    I CAN’T RESIST QUOTING from the Bible, seeing the religious spin the Great Hoaxer is playing with. For sure God won’t destroy the Earth; mankind has been given DOMINION[RULE]over the earth! Senator Hoax will say anything to gain stature … in HELL!

    # Genesis 1:28
    And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and HAVE DOMINION OVER the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

  24. Gail says:

    Well, we already know that Paul reads your blog, JR! Just for fun, and oh it is SO much fun, here is the latest on Inhofe’s fellow “drill baby drill” fundie sociopath, Sarah Palin!

    http://breepalin.blogspot.com/2009/09/sarah-palins-guide-to-procrastination.html

  25. Robert says:

    I READ that SENATOR HOAX is going to the Copenhagen Global Warming Conference in October. Good! Do to the hyper-serious nature of the conference, they will need some comic relief not unlike Qaddafi at the recent UN Conference!

  26. Lewis says:

    Why is that everytime someone starts to use God as an argument that science is wrong I want to pray?

  27. Leland Palmer says:

    Well, out of 15 million dollars raised during his career, at least 1.2 million have come from the oil and gas industries:

    http://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/industries.php?cycle=Career&cid=N00005582&type=I

    His top private and PAC donor is Koch Industries, which was founded on oil money. The Koch brothers founded and continue to fund the Cato Institute, a leading denier and libertarian/conservative think tank.

    http://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/contrib.php?cycle=Career&cid=N00005582&type=I

    Top career donors include Connoco/Phillips, ExxonMobil, Chevron, Murray Energy, from the oil and gas sectors, and Lockheed/Martin from the war industries:

    Koch Industries $83,350 $40,750 $42,600
    Murray Energy $65,800 $40,800 $25,000
    Aircraft Owners & Pilots Assn $54,869 $0 $54,869
    American Airlines $52,400 $4,250 $48,150
    National Assn of Realtors $51,700 $0 $51,700
    National Rifle Assn $51,050 $0 $51,050
    American Medical Assn $51,000 $0 $51,000
    United Parcel Service $49,850 $0 $49,850
    Golden Rule Financial $48,000 $29,000 $19,000
    AT&T Inc $46,450 $550 $45,900
    Associated General Contractors $45,100 $4,350 $40,750
    National Beer Wholesalers Assn $44,850 $2,000 $42,850
    ConocoPhillips $43,799 $16,300 $27,499
    National Auto Dealers Assn $42,950 $0 $42,950
    Lockheed Martin $40,500 $2,500 $38,000
    National Rural Electric Cooperative Assn $40,044 $0 $40,044
    Chevron Corp $40,000 $2,200 $37,800
    Union Pacific Corp $40,000 $1,000 $39,000
    American Bankers Assn $39,250 $1,250 $38,000
    Exxon Mobil $37,100 $750 $36,350

  28. Leland Palmer says:

    He also seems to subscribe to Dominion Theology, a very nasty form of Christianity that holds that only belief in God, not good deeds, will get you into heaven. Some proponents of Dominion Theology, in their “ministering to power” teach that politicians and dictators who do terrible things in office are justified, because they are acting as the hand of God. Some proponents of Dominion Theology talk about christian political rule of the country and the world, and some talk about killing whole classes of people who don’t fit their mold:

    Senator Inhofe is a leading proponent of dominionism, a theocratic form of evangelicalism which believes Christians are compelled to bring all societies under Christian rule. In a speech on the floor of the United States Senate, Inhofe argued that America should base its Israel policy entirely upon the text of the Bible:

    I believe very strongly that we ought to support Israel; that it has a right to the land. This is the most important reason: Because God said so. As I said a minute ago, look it up in the book of Genesis. It is right up there on the desk. In Genesis 13:14-17, the Bible says: “The Lord said to Abram, “Lift up now your eyes, and look from the place where you are northward, and southward, and eastward and westward: for all the land which you see, to you will I give it, and to your seed forever. . . . Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it to thee.” That is God talking.” The Bible says that Abram removed his tent and came and dwelt in the plain of Mamre, which is in Hebron, and built there an altar before the Lord. Hebron is in the West Bank. It is at this place where God appeared to Abram and said, “I am giving you this land,–the West Bank. This is not a political battle at all. It is a contest over whether or not the word of God is true.

    In March 2002, Inhofe also made a speech before the U.S. Senate which included the explicit suggestion that the 9/11 attacks were a form of divine retribution against the U.S. for failing to defend Israel. In his words: “One of the reasons I believe the spiritual door was opened for an attack against the United States of America is that the policy of our Government has been to ask the Israelis, and demand it with pressure, not to retaliate in a significant way against the terrorist strikes that have been launched against them.”

    http://www.dkosopedia.com/wiki/James_Inhofe

    The whole right wing lying/denial/aggression/profit complex is a very scary phenomenon, and one that the planet can’t afford right now, IMO.

  29. mike roddy says:

    Inhofe makes the “Dumbest Members of Congress” list every year, against formidable opposition. He’s one of the few Senators who repeats. Climate change opinions are only part of the story: he once said that if we’re the ones torturing them, “It must be OK”.

    Incredibly, people listen to him. The best hope is that Joe and people on this blog continue to humiliate people like Inhofe with the truth. Eventually this may even prevail.

  30. Sable says:

    Joe,

    Michael Shermer of nonsense debunking fame has a column on Huffington Post today spouting some nonsense of his own on global warming mitigation efforts. It would be great to get your thoughts on his argument. Sorry for no link, every time I’ve done that here my post disappears into some digital Valhalla.

    @Crazy Bill (#16)
    Yeah, methinks our powers are conveniently underestimated by many, especially when it suits their pocketbook.

  31. TomG says:

    I’m going to guess that Inhofe thinks the world ends in December of 2012 but the Rapture will save him…
    The man is a lunatic.

  32. J4zonian says:

    Lou Grinzo, 7, Roger, 12, there’s actually another choice. We’re often faced with this when wondering about what conservatives of various stripes are saying: Are they lying, stupid or crazy? (or D. all of the above. Never underestimate the power of the unconscious.)

    It is completely ignoring the existence of an existing problem. That’s not false hope; it’s just false. And DavidCOG, 19, I’m with ya. This is what we get for allowing deinstitutionalization in the Reagan years.

    Part of the immediate problem: Arundati Roy has written an essay on Tom Dispatch, in which she talks about the amount of money it takes to get a seat at the table in the House, Senate, or White House ($1.4 million, $8.5 million, and $1 billion, respectively—and that’s assuming somebody died in office or is retiring because 94% of the time incumbents who run, win.)

    http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175119/arundhati_roy_is_democracy_melting_

  33. Jim Bouldin says:

    “don’t forget mountain removal mining in the Adirondaks”

    ?? Appalachians I think you mean.

  34. Robert says:

    Just as Steven Moore of the WSJ is often seen blushing when he is confronted with the truth, the Hoaxer’s body language betrays his guilt. He knows when he is lying but he just hasn’t leaned how to blush! Come on Senator Hoax, confess your lies and lead the Denialist out of the wilderness!

  35. Richard Brenne says:

    Robert, thanks for your Senator Hoax naming.

    From now one everyone everywhere should only refer to Senator Inhofe as Senator Inhoax, including in the Congressional Record.

  36. Roger says:

    Ignorant, crazy, evil, or all three, someone like he shouldn’t be in DC!

  37. @Roger – and he shouldn’t be allowed to travel to Copenhagen to embarass the US-Government in front of the whole world!

    Ever wonder what these guys make of more and more companies leaving the CoC and calling for emission caps and a price on carbon while doing so? Is Inhofe – sorry Inhoax – just ignoring these activities or how does he try to explain them away? One thing is for sure, he’s not asking himself “What if I’m wrong? What’s the Worst That Could Happen Then?” (to quote Greg Craven).

  38. Anonymous says:

    Inhofe is crazy because religion is caused by any one or more of about half a dozen mental illnesses. But so are his constituents. Inhofe is a liar, big time. His campaign contributions assure that. He clearly does not care and may also be a psychopath. But he is not stupid. A stupid person could never make as much money as he does.

  39. Marcia Earth says:

    If God will ensure that nothing bad can happen to human beings, then why do we need governments in the first place?