Jim Inhofe’s Granddaughter Asked Him Why He Didn’t Understand Global Warming

Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., speaks to reporters, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015, on Capitol Hill in Washington. CREDIT: AP PHOTO/SUSAN WALSH
Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., speaks to reporters, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015, on Capitol Hill in Washington. CREDIT: AP PHOTO/SUSAN WALSH

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), the chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, is a famous climate denier. He has written a book about global warming, arguing it is a hoax.

Like many Americans — 64 percent of which are concerned about climate change — Inhofe’s granddaughter wants to know why he does not understand the science.

On the last day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland last week, Inhofe told radio host Eric MeTaxas about a conversation he had with one of his granddaughters, Right Wing Watch reported on Tuesday.

You know, our kids are being brainwashed? I never forget because I was the first one back in 2002 to tell the truth about the global warming stuff and all of that. And my own granddaughter came home one day and said “Popi (see “I” is for Inhofe, so it’s Momi and Popi, ok?), Popi, why is it you don’t understand global warming?” I did some checking and Eric, the stuff that they teach our kids nowadays, you have to un-brainwash them when they get out.

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Right now, the United States, including Oklahoma, is in the middle of a record-breaking heat wave that has left at least six dead. This month, the world learned that the first half of 2016 was the hottest start to a year on record, building on 2015’s record as the hottest year on record — data that strengthen the longer trends signifying the reality of climate change.

Famously, Inhofe brought a snowball onto the senate floor last year in an effort to prove that global warming was a hoax, citing the cold “unseasonable” temperatures. This was in February.

The Inhofe family and their igloo. CREDIT: Inhofe Senate website
The Inhofe family and their igloo. CREDIT: Inhofe Senate website

In 2010, Inhofe brought his grandchildren to the National Mall in Washington, D.C. during a large snowstorm to build an igloo, calling it “Al Gore’s New Home.”

Two years ago, Oklahoma approved the Oklahoma Academic Skills for Science, academic standards which had been developed over a year and a half by teachers, community members, and business representatives. The state adopted them despite serious opposition from some in the Oklahoma legislature who objected to teaching kids about climate change, among other things.

Others objected to the fact that the Next Generation Science Standards — national guidelines for science education that include the teaching of climate science and evolution — had been used as a resource for the Oklahoma standards.

“There’s been a lot of criticisms, in some sectors, as to maybe some of the hyperbole — what some consider hyperbole relative to climate change. I know it’s a very very difficult, very controversial subject,” Oklahoma Rep. Mark McCullough said, going on to ask, “do you believe that those sections specifically relating to weather and climate particularly at the earlier ages…could potentially be utilized to implicate into some pretty young impressionable minds, a fairly-one sided view as to that controversial subject, a subject that’s very much in dispute among even the academics?”

When Inhofe took the gavel of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in January 2015, his first speech that day highlighted the few scientists who dispute the massive consensus that human activity causes global warming.

The answer to his grandaughter’s question — why Inhofe does not understand global warming — may be unknowable. However her “Popi’s” record may provide a clue. Inhofe has received over $2 million dollars from the dirty energy industry. At the same time, Oklahoma leads the nation (beat only by Texas) with the highest number of natural disaster declarations from climate-related causes, over the last five years.

This is only likely to get worse as large parts of the Southwest and Midwest dry out as the impacts of climate change kicks in — something that will disproportionately impact the lives of the youngest generation compared to that of older senators from Oklahoma.