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Sen. Inhofe inquisition seeking ways to criminalize and prosecute 17 leading climate scientists

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Senator James Inhofe, ranking Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, has gone a step beyond promoting his long-notorious global warming denialist propaganda. He is now using the resources of the Senate committee to seek opportunities to criminalize the actions of 17 leading scientists who have been associated with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assessment reports. A report released by Inhofe’s staff on February 23 outlines this classic Joe McCarthyite witch-hunt: page after page of incorrect and misleading statements, a list of federal laws that allegedly may make scientists subject to prosecution by the U.S. Justice Department, and a list of names and affiliations of 17 “key players” in the “CRU Controversy” over stolen e-mails and their connections with IPCC reports.

That’s from Rick Piltz, the guy who blew the whistle on the Bush Administration’s censorship of federal climate science. This is a repost from his website, Climatesciencewatch.org:

Senator James Inhofe, ranking Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, has gone a step beyond promoting his long-notorious global warming denialist propaganda. He is now using the resources of the Senate committee to seek opportunities to criminalize the actions of 17 leading scientists who have been associated with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assessment reports. A report released by Inhofe’s staff on February 23 outlines this classic Joe McCarthyite witch-hunt: page after page of incorrect and misleading statements, a list of federal laws that allegedly may make scientists subject to prosecution by the U.S. Justice Department, and a list of names and affiliations of 17 “key players” in the “CRU Controversy” over stolen e-mails and their connections with IPCC reports.

See our February 23 post: Scientists ill-equipped to deal with all-out war on climate science community

Inhofe’s committee minority report: ‘Consensus’ Exposed: The CRU Controversy (United States Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, Minority Staff, February 2010)

Inhofe press release: “Senate EPW Minority Releases Report On CRU Controversy””Shows Scientists Violated Ethics, Reveals Major Disagreements On Climate Science”

From the Executive Summary of Inhofe’s report:

In this report, Minority Staff of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works examine key documents and emails from the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU). We have concluded:

“¢  The emails were written by the world’s top climate scientists, who work at the most prestigious and influential climate research institutions in the world.

“¢  Many of them were lead authors and coordinating lead authors of UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports, meaning that they had been intimately involved in writing and editing the IPCC’s science assessments. They also helped write reports by the United States Global Change Research Program (USGCRP).

“¢  The CRU controversy and recent revelations about errors in the IPCC’s most recent science assessment cast serious doubt on the validity of EPA’s endangerment finding for greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. The IPCC serves as the primary basis for EPA’s endangerment finding for greenhouse gases.

“¢  Instead of moving forward on greenhouse gas regulation, the Agency should fully address the CRU controversy and the IPCC’s flawed science.

The scientists involved in the CRU controversy violated fundamental ethical principles governing taxpayer-funded research and, in some cases, may have violated federal laws.

In our view, the CRU documents and emails reveal, among other things, unethical and potentially illegal behavior by some of the world’s preeminent climate scientists. [boldface added]

In a section titled “The CRU-IPCC Connection” (pages 25-26; also see pages 35-37), Inhofe names the targets of his witch-hunt to be investigated for possible referral to the U.S. Justice Department for prosecution. Inhofe’s targets include, in alphabetical order:

Raymond Bradley
Keith Briffa
Timothy Carter
Edward Cook
Malcolm Hughes
Phil Jones
Thomas Karl
Michael Mann
Michael Oppenheimer
Jonathan Overpeck
Benjamin Santer
Gavin Schmidt
Stephen Schneider
Susan Solomon
Peter Stott
Kevin Trenberth
Thomas Wigley

Those of you who know the climate science community will note that the list includes some of the very best””individuals whose contribution to scientific understanding and science communication would be lionized in a society that was seeing things clearly.

In a section titled “Legal and Policy Issues in the CRU Controversy” (pages 29-31), Inhofe’s report says:

These and other issues raise questions about the lawful use of federal funds and potential ethical misconduct. Discussed below are brief descriptions of the statutes and regulations that the Minority Staff believe are implicated in this scandal. In our investigation, we are examining the emails and documents and determining whether any violations of these federal laws and policies occurred.

The rest of the section discusses each of the following:

Freedom of Information Act “¦

Shelby Amendment “¦

OSTP Policy Directive “¦

President Obama’s Transparency and Open Government Policy “¦

Federal False Statements Act “¦

The False Claims Act (Criminal)

Obstruction of Justice: Interference with Congressional Proceedings “¦

Inhofe’s allegations were raised at a February 23 hearing of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, on the President’s Proposed EPA Budget for FY 2011. (The link to the hearing page includes opening statements by committee chair Sen. Barbara Boxer and Inhofe, written testimony by EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, and an archived webcast.)

RealClimate, an invaluable website for clarifying current climate science issues in more-or-less plain English, has a February 14 post (“IPCC errors: facts and spin”) that looks at the various allegations about errors in the IPCC 2007 report, sorts the wheat from the chaff, and asks “what does it all mean, for the IPCC in particular, and for climate science more broadly?”  Of course, Inhofe and whoever writes his material are not into setting the record straight, they are waging political war, and thus can be presumed to be essentially uneducable on science issues.

Inhofe’s witch-hunt against a named list of climate scientists echoes Rep. James Sensenbrenner’s demand that scientists whose names appear in the stolen Climatic Research Unit e-mail file be blacklisted from the IPCC, on which we posted earlier:

CSW post December 9, 2009: Sensenbrenner IPCC witch-hunt: Attempt to blacklist climate scientists must be rejected

Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wisconsin), ranking Republican on the House global warming committee, has sent a letter to Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, calling for scientists whose names appear in the e-mails stolen from the U.K. Climatic Research Unit to be blacklisted from participating as contributors or reviewers of the forthcoming IPCC Fifth Assessment Report. … Denialists are throwing up a smokescreen of propaganda in an attempt to legitimize their refusal to come to grips with scientific evidence on global climatic disruption and its implications. This is a power play. …

We call on the Obama Administration and in particular the President’s science adviser John Holdren to fully support the U.S. climate science community in this matter. … Seeking an IPCC purge is just the next step. This attack, using guilt-by-association and demagogy, will go as far as it can to delegitimize the entire climate science and assessment enterprise if it is not exposed and thwarted. …

Additional earlier CSW posts:

January 22: Richard Somerville: A Response to Climate Change Denialism

December 15, 2009: Setting the record straight on stolen e-mail: Associated Press, FactCheck.org, and other sources

December 15, 2009: Setting the record straight on stolen e-mail:  Nature, AAAS, AMS, Union of Concerned Scientists

December 8, 2009: Rep. Sensenbrenner projects “fascism” and “fraud” onto scientists, is rebutted at hearing

December 7, 2009: Open Letter to Congress from U.S. Scientists on Climate Change and Recently Stolen Emails

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54 Responses to Sen. Inhofe inquisition seeking ways to criminalize and prosecute 17 leading climate scientists

  1. rocco says:

    This needs to go everywhere.

  2. David Smith says:

    Inhofe operates on public funds, both through his salary and the funds of the Senate commitee. Doesn’t that suggest that his name should be added to the list as well?

  3. prokaryote says:

    Who is a threat to national security?

  4. Sou says:

    I note that the ‘conclusions’ of the Inhofe paper state that:

    An independent inquiry conducted by the UK’s Information Commissioner has already concluded that the scientists employed by the University of East Anglia, and who were at the center of the controversy, violated the UK’s Freedom of Information Act.100

    The reference is to the BBC website rather than to any ‘independent inquiry’, and includes the statement by the Deputy Commissioner that “it was an offence under section 77 of the Freedom of Information act “to prevent intentionally the disclosure of requested information””. Nowhere in the BBC article did it mention that an inquiry had already been conducted, independent or otherwise. Nor could I find any statement that in that particular circumstance there was an offense committed. The article did say that there was no prosecution.

    Does anyone of importance in the USA take this Senator Inhofe seriously? He does seem to be clutching at straws.

  5. Craig says:

    Hard to imagine that the Obama Justice Department would give this a passing thought. But on a broader level, it is disturbing because it further lowers the bar for civil discourse on contentious political issues.

    One sure sign that a democracy is in trouble is when opposing political parties begin attempting to criminalize the opinions, approaches, and actions of the the opposition. Caution is definitely in order for anyone seeking to use this kind of political sword, because the blade can cut both ways. If you are appalled by this, you should also be appalled by calls to criminalize ‘climate change denial’.

    This is a very dangerous path for all of us.

    This is just one example. Calls by some to treat climate change denial as a crime are another.

  6. dhogaza says:

    Does anyone of importance in the USA take this Senator Inhofe seriously? He does seem to be clutching at straws.

    Yes, when the Republicans had control of the Senate, he was chair of the committee, and therefore wielded a fair amount of power. He’s now minority chair.

    Which means the majority of Republican Senators – all people of importance, unfortunately – take him seriously.

  7. Jeff Huggins says:

    People

    The only way to begin bringing this sort of thing to a halt, and back to sanity, is to boycott the companies and interests who are fueling this and supporting this stuff. As long as there are major companies with anti-science, denialist, “let’s slow things down” attitudes, and as long as they believe that approach is working, it will continue. The only real way to address the matter is through your buying behavior, through speaking out against them, through valid and large boycotts, and through appropriate activism.

    Reasoning is not going to convince Inhofe. The better you reason, the more likely it will be that he’ll try to find some reason to sue you or charge you with unpatriotism or something.

    Joe, please let us know whether CAP/ClimateProgress could host an excellent, credible, and clean list of the main companies (and their brands) that are clearly part of the confusion and denialism effort and companies that are just plain not being responsible when it comes to the climate change matter. Here, I’m talking about a few companies like ExxonMobil, Koch, and NewsCorp, and perhaps a few others. A simple and clean and credible list. There should be one and needs to be one at this point. I’d be more than happy to contribute names to it. But, it needs a home.

    Cheers,

    Jeff

  8. Tyler Hamilton says:

    Since when does the U.S. have authority over the actions of U.K. climate scientists such as Phil Jones? Inhofe is an embarrassment to the United States.

  9. Zorro says:

    What do you expect?
    If Barry Bonds and Mark Maguire can get face time over a sport then why can’t these 10 people who receive $$ directly from the government get their 15 minutes of fame?
    Z

  10. climate undergrad says:

    Why not appease him and conduct an investigation? Spin (enlighten?) this towards “climate-scientists found of zero wrongdoing; Inhofe’s withchunt creates opposite effect”

    It would not take very long to refute all of the charges – Joe and RealClimate have already done the bulk of the work – and maybe this will force the media (fox not included) to read into these bogus allegations.

    If this could be done before Kerry finishes his bill (~two weeks) it could be useful, no? Or is this beating a dead horse (and cowboy)….

    [JR: The "investigation" won't change his mind or disinformation, it is a staggering amount of harassment, and as Hansen said about his bombardment with FOIA requests, they are only looking for some phrase in an e-mail to misrepresent and then trumpet. There's no upside and no end to this sort of thing.]

  11. prokaryote says:

    THE GREATEST CRIME?

    Publication of deliberately false climate change data literally ought — i.e., MUST — be treated, not as a peccadillo, but as a Crime Against Humanity.

    My remark here is not an expression of an emotion, but of an intellectual and humanitarian reaction of a scientist to falsification of data that could be as bad in its effect as long-term global warming itself, by permitting the latter to thrive, and acquire an egregious and panhumanly disastrous momentum.

    If this were World War III such people would be shot, and with far, far greater warrant than even those human catastrophes.

    A scientist is a kind of Protective Angel for Humanity. Why? Simply because he lives and breathes for Truth.

    ——— * ———

    As for the falsifiers of data, or criminal social parasites, let me switch from the second to the first of my scientific careers, long ago at M.I.T., where I was — a then VERY rare! — theorist in neuroscience, trying to make sense of the human brain as a whole and all the astonishing behavior and abilities it gives rise to.

    A SIDE interest of mine, then and later, was the queer and baffling, and decidedly chilling, phenomenon of the psychopath, a.k.a. sociopath. The essential trait of such people is that have little or no conscience, and yet they can be at the same time profoundly convincing to the layman — i.e., virtually all of us.

    The incidence of these curious and horrific people in the body of the whole of humanity is estimated to be of the order of 1/200. This is misleading, however, because the pathology is a matter of degree, or properly illustrated by an intensity-frequency curve.

    To put it simply, a psychopath can and does lie without a blink, either external or internal. And often does so for profit or simply out of total indifference to the harm he works upon the innocent and the virtuous.

    I have little doubt that the purveyors of purposefully, and dangerously, falsified Global Warming data ARE in many instances psychopaths, whose falsifications tend to put ALL of us at risk.

    Even heads of great corporations can be, in various ways and degrees, psychopathic. (Psychopathy probably had some partly useful — personal OR social — function in the long-ago past of Homo sapiens. It is certainly common enough in our politicians nowadays!)

    — Patrick Michael Gunkel (Princeton, NJ)

    POSTSCRIPT: Two decades ago I was neutral, but skeptical, about global warming. Later I realized that we simply could not tolerate the risks it potentially posed. One does not play games, or take chances, when essentially the whole of civilization and humanity MAY be in peril.

    None of us can escape from the need for such caution, and where even the very survival of our species over Eternity may just be confronted with the possibility of extinction through carelessness or ignorance, or a shallow and selfish morality, or ideology or skepticism, or a universal involvement in petty and personal disputes between men fighting in diapers. (Phenomena we have seen often enough in World Wars and in Wars Ancient, but no less pathetic and mindless.)

    In short, All of the Future hangs by a single tenuous thread from each and ever Present.

  12. counters says:

    climate undergrad (which aptly describes me, too!),

    In a perfect world, such an undertaking would exonerate the accused and leave the accuser with egg on his face. But we live in the real world, and regardless of what the investigation turned up, the mere fact that there was an investigation would be the dominant story. Rank innuendo and speculation would proliferate from that alone.

    No, in this case, we should call this stunt for what it is – Climate McCarthyism. Rather than play Inhofe’s hand, we should be aggressively pushing the *real* narrative behind the climate debate, the type of story that Ben Santer is currently sharing on RealClimate. The Inhofe’s of the world need to be countered directly and aggressively, because an inconvenience like the truth sure as hell isn’t going to stop them from smearing everyone standing in the way of their political agenda.

  13. Lore says:

    Anytime Inhofe can point a wagging finger at someone involved with getting the truth out about climate change, he will, and all the better for his side. It’s all about keeping the denier’s issues front and center by raising any specter of doubt possible with regards to the actual science. He has pulled this ruse before when he called for an investigation of Allen Carlin vs. the EPA, until it was made clear that Mr. Carlin’s off the job homework was filled with plagiarized data.

    This is just another sorry attempt at trying to milk a controversy for all its worth and a case of more or your valuable tax dollars at work.
    It’s highly unlikely this will get much traction among other officials, showing no merit, but it will give solace to the denialists.

  14. Dennis says:

    Sounds like it’s time for another National Academies of Science panel to convene, and give Inhofe a seat on it.

  15. David Smith says:

    Continuing from yesterday and with #7 Jeff Huggins comments today, this idea deserves serious attention. It is time to transition from talk to action. Offering direction (In the form of a list) to a boycot effort would allow individuals to take action in a simple & meaningful way. With enough people participating, this would be a powerful gesture.

    It is possible that this site is not the appropriate place for such an item though I wish wish it were. You, Dr Romm, would be one of the best in the country to advise on this matter. There would be many details to work out in order to make it happen. Please help us to get this going.

  16. Leif says:

    History will not be kind to those that refuse to use “God’s” gift of rational thought for the well-being of the long tern survivability of humanity and the life support systems of mother earth.

    Science and rational thought prevailed against the “Church” in the middle ages and again in the courts during the Scope’s Trial during the beginning of the 20th Century.

    Whether in a court of law or the arena of public awareness, I have no doubt that Science will prevail yet again. Errors made in the pursuit of Science, which do happen, are self correcting to this day. We all know that in our hearts. Were that not true, planes would not fly, computers would not work, buildings and bridges would not stand, medicine would not work, rockets would not reach the edge of the solar system! Mistakes were made, some quite spectacular, during the infancy of all and continue to this day on the cutting edge of all, yet humanity does not resort to “voodoo” if a gas pedal sticks.

    Never in history has humanity been challenged to the core of it’s existence as today. Humanity will win with continued respect for rational thinking, (and all its flaws), or if abandoned…???

  17. jcwinnie says:

    This is far beyond the corruption we have come to expect from our ‘elected’ officials. This is Men in Tights Sheriff of Nottingham Bat Poop Crazy. Washington Theater gone Theater of the Absurd.

    How crazy is it? Back in August 2009 I blogged the idea:

    O.K., Senator Boopsie… Think of the NSIDC (The National Snow and Ice Data Center) as tracking something immensely more catastrophic than Bill the Cat.

    “You’re scaring me!”

    Well, that’s good. Look we’ve got to be real…

    “I’m going to pass a law that you can’t scare me like that.”

  18. Interesting discussion. This is a classic political quandary. Since AGW will lurch forward painfully no matter what we do – in cases like this there might be the classic choice:

    1. Indulge a dangerous whack job, ignore and let others deal with him.

    or

    2. Launch a prosecutorial counterattack for treason, stupidity and intellectual bad breath?

    I tend to favor the Senate as the proper solution, but Inhofe is being provocative and is demanding attention. He is a lightning rod in a building thunderstorm.

  19. Ralph Bloom says:

    I am sure they are all eager to go. Toyota was treated graciously and I know they will be also. They can save the planet. I have no idea why any one wouldn’t want to go tell the truth.

  20. climateprogressive says:

    The one thing that offers some small comfort when I think of McCarthy in the current context is to remember what eventually happened to McCarthy after December 1954!

    Once you get found out, most people are no longer interested in what you have to say…..

  21. Barry says:

    On the bright side, it shows that the official denier movement has run out of pseudo-science “alternative theories”.

    Joe and others have done an amazing job debunking the fake climate “science” that the denier machine has been spewing out to confuse the public for years now. Hero work and paying dividends big time. Thanks!

    All that is left in big fossil’s bag of delay tricks is witch hunting and culture war. It is very ugly but it is also a sign of real desperation. Bottom of the barrel mud is all they have left in their arsenal.

    Sadly for all our hopes and dreams, our earth’s climate continues to gain energy…just as predicted by climate science for years now. Our more energetic climate will continue to deliver ever more chaotic and extreme weather.

    Inhofe seems determined to cement his place in history as the leader of delay.

    When are his GOP teammates going to get tired of him scoring so many own goals?

  22. Mikel says:

    The UK’s House of Commons Select Committee for Science and technology will hold an oral evidence session on Monday 1st March on the Disclosure of Climate Data from the CRU at UEA.

    See http://www.parliament.uk/parliamentary_committees/science_technology.cfm

    Let’s hope this is gong to be fair, objective and incisive in its questioning of all.

  23. Arthur Smith says:

    Does anybody remember back when Jim Hansen said something about putting CEO’s on trial for their mis-leadership on climate, there was overwhelming outrage about such a thing? It was a witch-hunt, it was Stalin, etc. etc.

    Hmmmm. It sounds like an increasingly good idea to me right now.

  24. prokaryote says:

    20. i read

    The actions of Senator Joe McCarthy of Wisconsin led Americans to coin the term, “McCarthyism.” McCarthy constantly claimed that he had uncovered Communist agents. In February 1950, at a Washington press conference, he waved sheets of paper claiming that he had uncovered 205 communist agents in the State Department. He was soon accusing target after target of communism, and creating an atmosphere of paranoia in Washington.

    While many disagreed with McCarthy, few dared to oppose him. In 1953, his attention to the Voice of America and the United States Information Agency forced the removal, and sometimes the burning of books, from U.S.I.A. library shelves. Finally, in 1954, McCarthy took on the US army, claiming that the army was protecting suspected communists.

    The McCarthy army-hearings helped to end the senator’s career. They were the first of the hearings to be televised, and Americans who watched McCarthy in action from their living rooms were shocked. Furthermore, McCarthy’s virulent attacks on the US army finally convinced President Eisenhower to take action against the senator.
    http://www.historycentral.com/postwar/McCarthy.html

  25. prokaryote says:

    Watch a replay of the famous broadcast of Edward Murrow’s “See It Now” program that aired on March 9, 1954. This broadcast contributed to the downfall of Sen. Joseph McCarthy.
    http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=1065699n

  26. Russ H says:

    Perhaps this is what the Climate debate needs. If a fair trial is possible then put those scientists on trial.

  27. Jay Turner says:

    Aren’t there Senate ethics rules that are being trampled here? Is there any chance of turning the witch hunt on its head and exposing the ethical violations of the extremists?

    At the very least, it would all make a juicy expose for any journalist who had the nerve to tackle the subject.

  28. Wit's End says:

    I tend to think that any discussion about climate change is better than none, because worse than the deniers are the much larger legions of ignorers. These are otherwise reasonably intelligent, educated people who, if presented with the facts, would probably have to acknowledge the truths about climate change.

    But the media give enough play to deniers so that the ignorers feel justified in believing that there is still scientific controversy, and Washington isn’t going to do anything anyway, so they may as well just hop in their SUV and drive out to the hills to go snowmobiling. These are the very people who should be switching their McMansion roofs to solar panels, and investing in more efficient appliances, and switching from air to rail for travel. These are the concerned parents who worry about child molesters but have huge lawns that fill their children’s lungs with chemical fertilizers, herbicides, and toxic fumes from mowers and leaf blowers.

    Maybe publicity from such a trial would cause this sort of person to pay attention, become enlightened and then active in a demand for government subsidies for clean energy and a tax on carbon.

    It seems impossible that the truth would not prevail in a trial, and if it can’t there, then we’re screwed for sure. What have we got to lose at this point?

    So I say, bring it on, Inhofe!

  29. Doug Bostrom says:

    rocco says: February 25, 2010 at 9:21 am

    This needs to go everywhere.

    Oh, it will, that’s the whole idea. Not to any courtroom, just all over the press as gullible journalists obediently report it.

    Here’s how it’ll go:

    WUWT, CA —->The Register, Drudge—->Fox News, Washington Times—->WaPo, NYTimes—>>>all over everybody’s brains, like toxic sludge. ”

    “Russ H” right here is an early victim.

  30. Doug Bostrom says:

    Roger Pielke Jr. is all over it, like a dog on meat:

    rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2010/02/red-meat.html

    Here’s his “honest broker” invitation to discussion:

    Talking about the prosecution of scientists is a good way to get a debate going, and this thread will meet that demand (keep it respectful, please).

  31. Chris Winter says:

    Well, fine. If Inhofe wants to push this ridiculous witch hunt, let him hold hearings. Only make sure they’re broadcast on C-SPAN. Witnesses from both sides will appear, since he doesn’t chair the committee, and the ones on his side will end up looking like fools.

    It’s a distraction from things that really need to get done, but I think ending his campaign ASAP will be a benefit down the road.

  32. climate undergrad says:

    For a short-term solution –

    Joe, how about a post with one or two paragraphs on each of the accused (Bradley – Wigley) that succinctly outlines their successful careers and the ridiculousness of the charges against them.

    I would personally love this, and the media might even catch on.

    I’m imagining Wyatt Synac and John Olliver going into these professors/researchers homes and grilling them on their attempt to destroy america.

  33. jade in San Francisco says:

    James “The Inquisitor” Inhofe. Has a nice ring to it.

  34. Bill W says:

    Isn’t it about time for Inhofe to be investigated for corruption and/or sued for libel?

  35. Barry says:

    Seriously, the best thing denier-in-chief Inhofe has got left in his bag of tricks is: the planet isn’t actually warming we’ve just been tricked into believing it by a few criminal scientists faking data?!

    This is a wizard of Oz fantasy contradicted by…well…mother nature’s reactions so far. Wow, how powerful these “criminal scientists” must be that they can trick even mother nature using just a spreadsheet. OMG, it is the “Invasion of the Warmist Spreadsheets” that’s causing the chaotic weather. Run for the inundated hills.

    Even the few remaining deck-chair-rearrangers will abandon the denier ship pretty quickly if that is all the flotation they have left on board.

  36. Barry says:

    Fortunately for Inhofe and crew the satellite data shows he is right and that mother nature isn’t getting as hot and bothered as evil warmist spreadsheets claim.

    Oh…what’s that…uh, really…”hottest winter ever according to UAH satellite”? Doh!

  37. Fire Mountain says:

    Senator James Inhofe has finally made me believe. Satan is real, alive and well and working on Planet Earth. And here is his contact info:

    453 Russell Senate Office Building
    Washington, DC 20510 -3603
    Main: (202) 224-4721
    Fax: (202) 228-0380

    Seriously, I have never witnessed such a descent into evil as the current campaign by the disinformers (deniers is too good for them) to discredit the sciences. Unlike many politicians, such as Senator Satan, scientists make corrections when they find they have made a mistake. Now this normal and honorable element of scientific process becomes a tool to try to discredit them. Not surprising – Their findings are increasingly devastating to business as usual. The beast writhes in fury, because he knows his time is short.

    “Mr. Welch: You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?”

    McCarthy-Welch exchange Army v. McCarthy Hearings June 9, 1954 http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/welch-mccarthy.html

  38. prokaryote says:

    I saw now 2 videos of McCarthy and the last EPA hearing with Inhofe.

    The similarities here are astonishing.
    He left the EPA hearing – beside Sen Boxer told him she comments at the end of the hearing to his arguments, he even touched Sen Boxer during her speech …

  39. ShellyT says:

    Senator Inhofe is a clown and probably shouldn’t be paid so much attention to . . he seems to be an attention hog and is really into these stunts, but I’m quite sure all he wants is for people to react and for the media to cover him. He can’t possibly believe his own silliness.

    Like other attention hogs prone to loud outrageous pronouncements (Ann Coulter, Michele Bahmann, etc.) I ignore him.

  40. mike roddy says:

    I don’t see the Senate indulging this ludicrous request, which reminds me of the Starr inquisition on Whitewater, Foster’s murder, Monica, and who knows what else. Starr chewed up about $100 million of taxpayer money, with no charges filed, but all they really cared about was keeping Clinton in their crosshairs. Starr now has a big job in a Texas university, by the way. Maybe Cheney was ahead of his time, too- truth is irrelevant.

    Even Inhofe must know that he’s not going to get anywhere legally with this absurd strategy, but this kind of witch hunt takes on a life of its own, kind of like “show me the birth certificate!”. Madness and paranoia are stoked, which works in favor of Inhofe and the oil companies who pay him.

  41. mike roddy says:

    Doug Bostrom, #30, wow, thanks for that link to Pielke Jr.

    I don’t like the man, and am mystified about how he has managed to charm Revkin, among others, but am stunned that he would stoop this low.

  42. Richard Brenne says:

    Great comments here. These are top climate scientists who I respect as much as anyone living today not only as scientists, but for their unusual courage and candor in speaking out. We need to support them in every way possible.

    If Inhofe or others like him in any way make their lives difficult, they and others like them might be increasingly silenced when we need to hear those voices more than almost any others.

    Hey Senator Inhofe, enjoy your dinner date reservation with McCarthy and those like him, and good luck asking for ice in your drink.

  43. Jay Dee Are says:

    So Inhofe has an enemies list. Nixon is smiling from his grave.

    Inhofe should read up on the history of science, especially about the Inquisition’s persecution of Galileo for pointing out that Earth is not the center of the universe. The Inquisition’s persecution of Galileo set back science in Italy by centuries. Is that what Inhofe wants for the U.S.?

  44. prokaryote says:

    What is more – today even the church supports climate science. They ask to preserve our environment. The vatican wants to be the first nation which entirly runs on renewables.

  45. prokaryote says:

    Q. Major energy companies have said they believe the scientific consensus on climate change. ExxonMobil said the appropriate debate isn’t on whether the climate is changing, but what we should do about it. NASA, NOAA, the Pentagon, the Pope, evangelical leaders, top executives in all industries, and governments all over the world including China and India—they’ve all acknowledged climate change. Do you believe that all of these entities have been scammed by the U.N. and a handful of scientists in the IPCC?

    A. What you’ve just said is not true.
    http://www.grist.org/article/2010-02-25-james-inhofe-senate-top-skeptic-explains-climate-hoax-theory/

  46. Daniel J. Andrews says:

    Inhofe is a bully. This is harassment. He’s bringing false charges forward. I hope each and every one of those scientists, after being vindicated, then launch individual lawsuits against Inhofe (can you sue the Senate too?). He wants to use his power then he should accept the responsibility to use it properly (hmm, that’s getting a bit too close to something Uncle Ben Parker said….time to get some sleep….).

  47. riverat says:

    I’m surprised he left out the ring leader, James Hansen.

    (For the humor impaired that was sarcasm.)

  48. mike roddy says:

    This may be a good opportunity to highlight Senator Inhofe’s signal career accomplishments: lifetime member of the 12 Dumbest Members of Congress awards, as well as the Dumbest Senator award (for that one, he had very tough competition from Jim Bunning of Kentucky).

    Maybe a press release from persecuted scientists should point out these awards. There are Democrats on the list, too.

  49. Kaitlin says:

    Great article by Mongabay’s Jeremy Hance yesterday is worth a read re: Inhofe and shoddy, inaccurate journalism http://news.mongabay.com/2010/0225-hance_inhofe.html

  50. Anne says:

    Question: What is the biggest hoax ever perpetrated on the American
    people?

    A Smoking is good for you, it makes you look sexy, and people who smoke are more cool than everyone else.
    B Nuclear power is clean, safe, and “too cheap to meter”
    C The only solution to 9-11 is to invade Iraq.
    D C’mon, you deserve to live in this expensive home, and our mortgage is totally affordable!
    E Molecules from fossil fuel combustion are trapping heat in the atmosphere, causing the planet to warm unnaturally and our climate system to be disrupted.

  51. Mike#22 says:

    Fox News

  52. J4zonian says:

    prokaryote, (2/25, 10:16 am)

    Although I often share your feelings—and I’m surprised to hear someone who has studied neuroscience deny that yours was an emotional expression—I don’t think outlawing wrongheadedness is the answer.

    First, there’s a slight problem with the First Amendment, which gets ignored enough by the right without now having the left chip away at it. It is melting away as fast as our glaciers; I see no reason to speed that process up, as we’re going to need our free speech in order to stop coal and begin to repair the damage of 6000 years of so-called “civilization”.

    With 57% of people now believing climate catastrophe is not happening, (I believe) and right wingers and denialists far more effective at messaging and far more willing than science-believers to engage in lies, demagoguery and manipulation, who do you think would win the battle to restrict the other sides’ speech once that door was?

    Third, how do you distinguish between liars and fools? Are you also going to arrest all the fools? Even if that weren’t a thought crime (or lack-of-thought crime) I’m not sure we have enough prison space, even if we let all the drug-servers and strike 3 gum stealers go. And where do you draw the line? Does someone who says a particular climate model needs to be improved to more accurately reflect reality also qualify for felony charges? Treason charges? (with a potential death penalty) What if, while they’re serving time for that, 49% of scientists come to agree with them? 51%? 95%? What if they’ve already been executed?

    I agree with you completely about the direness of the situation; I just think the opposite tactic will work better: listening carefully, in person, to people denying, skeptical or confused about climate change and engaging with them as psychotherapists, educators and people. I’m working to do exactly that, with climate educators like ACE and the Pachamama Alliance, to develop intensive psychologically-oriented workshops for clarifying feelings and unblocking people from strong actions to prevent climate catastrophe. We also need people who can engage on deeper, symbolic and psychological levels on a larger sphere, but trying to shut them down is not likely to help.

    I like Dennis’ idea of giving some disinformers seats on panels of scientists, although maybe not Inhofe. As long as they don’t get to publicly grandstand, and are exposed for hours a day, weeks at a time to intelligent, sane climate scientists, how could we lose?

  53. Edward says:

    I assume Senator Inhofe’s insane accusations are meeting a wall of silence at the Obama Department of Justice and Attorney General’s offices. Do you have any updates?

  54. Sphaerica says:

    Personally, I think this should be done, a full fledged, well publicized, well broadcast investigation, but run by someone sensible, using real witnesses. Bloggers, economists, weathermen, self styled kitchen scientists and political pundits may all wait outside.

    The best way to get this all cleared up is to go through the process, CRU e-mail by e-mail, foolish accusation by foolish accusation. Force Inhofe to actually defend his position, instead of just blustering. Let him look and behave like McCarthy, on camera, then prove to the world how insanely wrong he is.