Elizabeth Warren Warns GOP-Controlled Senate Would Make Climate Denier Jim Inhofe Head Of Environment Committee

With more than 300 votes targeting the Environmental Protection Agency, de-funding clean energy, and promoting unfettered use of fossil fuels, the current House of Representatives has been dubbed the most anti-environmental House in history.

And if Republicans gain control of the Senate, the same record will define that body too. That’s the warning from Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Senate candidate running against incumbent Republican Scott Brown.

In a debate last night between the two candidates, Warren responded to a question about the existence of climate change. Her answer: the election is about far more than policy leadership on the issue from a Massachusetts senator, it’s about determining the future of how the entire Senate acts on climate change.

“Sen. Brown has been going around the country, talking to people, saying, you’ve got to contribute to his campaign because it may be for the control of the Senate. And he’s right. … What that would mean is if the Republicans take over control of the Senate, Jim Inhofe would become the person who would be in charge of the committee that oversees the Environmental Protection Agency. He’s a man that has called global warming ‘a hoax.’ In fact, that’s the title of his book.”

Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) is one of the fiercest climate deniers in Congress. Along with making factually incorrect claims about climate change, Inhofe has also attempted to roll back EPA clean air regulations and stop the military from investing in clean energy technologies. He’s also the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Public Works, a body that deals with a wide range of environmental and infrastructure issues.

Under a GOP-controlled Senate, Inhofe would become Chairman and play a much more prominent role in dictating energy and climate policy.

The Washington Post called the move from Warren a “powerful card”:

Toward the end of the debate, Warren played a powerful card — but also one she arguably should have played earlier and more often. She noted that a vote for Brown is a vote for a Republican Senate majority and explained that if Republicans take over, Sen. Inhofe — who has sought to refute the notion of man made climate change — would become the chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. It’s a striking argument to make in a blue state — and one that Warren could have made more often during the hour-long back-and-forth. She mentioned Mitt Romney and Senate Republicans, but only sparingly throughout the hour.

But polls show this type of “striking argument” could have an impact beyond blue states like Massachusetts.

A recent report from George Mason University analyzing a range of surveys shows that talking about climate action and environmental issues is a positive for candidates. From the the report:

The short answer is that – at the national level and among ten key swing states – taking a proclimate stand appears to benefit candidates more than hurt them with registered voters. Of course, the political dynamics in any given district may be an exception to this pattern, but it is important to note that the pattern is similar at both the national and swing-state scales.

According to a March survey from George Mason, 55 percent of voters said they will consider candidates’ positions on climate change in upcoming elections. The survey also found that independent voters lean far more toward climate action, with 68 percent saying we should take medium or large-scale action to address the problem.

Talking about climate is a winning issue for candidates. And the more that pro-environmental candidates highlight the differences between themselves and the most extreme politicians like James Inhofe, the better they’ll be able to distinguish themselves.

13 Responses to Elizabeth Warren Warns GOP-Controlled Senate Would Make Climate Denier Jim Inhofe Head Of Environment Committee

  1. Rick Baartman says:

    Here’s an analogy: flat-earth society president becomes head of NASA.

  2. NJP1 says:

    Imhofe says god will not allow the world to be destroyed
    Seems the right guy for the job to me

  3. Pennsylvania Bob says:

    Friends don’t let friends vote Republican.

  4. Peter Mizla says:

    Mrs Warren spells out succinctly the choices for those in Massachusetts. Brown gives James Inhofe a rubber stamp for his fantasy visions of denial.

  5. JFM says:

    All I can say is “Yikes!” and thank you, Elizabeth for pointing this out so clearly.

  6. Elizabeth Warren ROCKS! And will be a great Senator.

  7. Russell Dee says:

    Stephen Lacey you knock Elizabeth Warren for not raising the issue enough that if Scott Brown wins the election then the republicans get control of the senate and that could be harmful to the environment but you are also missing the size of the issue because if Scott Brown wins then republicans could control more than just the climate control aspect of the senate. They would control all the committees. So Elizabeth should be hammering hard on the issue that if Scott Brown wins then the republicans could control all the committees in the senate and not just the environment issues. If Scott Brown wins then the republicans could get control of the senate and then they would have the initiative on everything. Elizabeth should be hammering this point hard in her TV ads and she should include quotes of Mr. Brown talking about how if he wins then the republicans would have control of the senate. But is she smart enough to do that – I do not know. As much as I would prefer L. Warren winning instead of Scott Brown winning you have to give Scott Brown credit for seizing an opening. Look how he senses her softness on the asbestos issue and now he’s already attacking that wound. And even though her side of the story would reduce the potency of his asbestos attack she is not giving her side of the story. She’s clamming up. She’s the one who’s right on the issues but she’s not a great candidate. She should be attacking Scott Brown today on the same issues that he was defensive about last night – including the control-of-the-senate issue and she should ONE TIME explain succinctly and completely why the asbestos situation is a tragedy but not her fault. But she’s not doing these things. She doesn’t do what she should do. Although I will say that she really did GREAT the first half of that debate last night. The talking pundits are acting like Brown slayed her but that debate was a two-parter and I would say that she slammed him the first half while on the 2nd half it was kind of a mish-mash and he beat her a little the 2nbd half, especially the asbestos issue which she needs to explain one time cohesively and succinctly and be done with it. But when you consider how good she did the first half of the debate and he only eked out a 2nd half victory I think that she did better overall. She did a fabulous job the first half of the debate.

  8. Ozonator says:

    Louisiana is Evil Inhofe’s dream-state. While Jindal is in Iowa trying to take away their courts, “State poverty ranks grow” (BY STEVEN WARD, Advocate staff writer;, 9/22/12).

  9. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    He’s been talking to Himself again.

  10. kca says:

    Jhesus! That would be like appointing Nero head of the local fire brigade.

  11. David Lewis says:

    The RNC in Tampa made it crystal clear what Republicans have in mind for climate policy.

    One of the few lines in Romney’s speech released to the media prior to delivery was his climate joke. This is the loudest dog whistle they could come up with and they wanted to give it the best chance they could to sink into the consciousness of the electorate. If you watch the video you’ll see one delegate in front of Romney almost fall on the floor laughing at all fools who think climate change could possibly be serious. They want the world to know what their attitude is.

    The only time the Republican National Platform as adopted in Tampa mentions the word climate, i.e. names it as an issue, is in the section on national security. Obama is condemned for taking climate seriously. “Extreme elements” of the Democratic party coalition are blamed for making the Obama administration elevate climate to equal status with national security as an issue.

    Elsewhere in the document there is a veiled threat aimed at climate scientists (“We must restore scientific integrity to our public research institutions and remove political incentives from publicly funded research”), and the EPA is to be “prohibited” from doing the slightest thing to limit emissions of GHG.

    Nature magazine published an editorial, a year and a half ago now, when a House Committee approved a bill intended to prevent action on GHG by the EPA.

    One lawmaker… described scientists as ‘elitist’ and ‘arrogant’ creatures who hide behind ‘discredited’ institutions“.

    Nature editors noted that Democratic Party committee members brought several scientists in to answer questions and clear things up, “but many lawmakers weren’t interested in answers, only in prejudice”.

    This is who the Republicans are. The Nature editorial continued: [this is] “a sad state of affairs in a country that has led the world in many scientific arenas for so long.

    The only way to change this is to vote against these people.

  12. Video of Obama’s urge to “heal the planet” in 2008, Mitt snickering about it at the RNC, and Obama’s response at the DNC at :

    You can also add your ‘own funny’ photos for Mitt there.


  13. RMugabe says:

    The election of Scott Brown stopped Cap and Trade taxes being put on our fuel and energy, His election stopped Nancy Pelosi’s plan to tax your untaxed 401ks before you took out your savings. She would have put it in a Social Security type account. There is NO Social Security account It is an IOU from the government . He almost stopped Obamacare which tax 716 billion dollars of money thaqt we who work put in and gives it to those that don’t work . Get ready to stand in the same line as welfare recipients . BEHIND THEM. Oh you need to get to work? To bad you working rich person.
    You people need to realize who is payong the bills. Warren hates corporations. Corporations pay us and we pay for everything. Including elitist professors. She is an Okie carpetbagger . I want somebody from Massachusetts speaking for me.