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Inhofe calls U.N. talks a 'party,' vows to take skepticism to voters
November 27, 2012

Posted by Matt Dempsey

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Inhofe calls U.N. talks a 'party,' vows to take skepticism to voters

Published: Tuesday, November 27, 2012

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The Senate's most vocal critic of action on climate change said today he was surprised that voters returned President Obama and a Democratic Senate majority to Washington, but vowed that skeptical lawmakers can still chip away at the administration's regulatory plans by taking their message directly to the people.

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) said he had expected voters to reject Obama and his regulatory regime, which he said was on track to cost the economy hundreds of millions of dollars a year.

"I actually thought that he was out of there," he told reporters today at a Capitol Hill press briefing hosted by the conservative, Chicago-based think tank the Heartland Institute.

Obama's victory means U.S. EPA will move ahead aggressively with regulations for ozone, toxics and emissions from hydraulic fracturing, and especially greenhouse gas emissions, all of which will be costly to the economy, Inhofe said. And Republican lawmakers will have fewer tools at their disposal to stop those rules.

But Inhofe said climate skeptics could make headway during these years by driving home the cost of EPA's actions to their constituents.

"I have taken the time to go around the state -- and I mean relentlessly all over the state -- to make sure that people know what this is going to cost them," he said.

Obama said during a post-election press briefing that he, too, planned to step up communication in his second term about the importance of limiting heat-trapping emissions and the threats posed by climate change, but Inhofe predicted that his campaign would be more successful.

"We have truth on our side," he said.

EPA, Inhofe added, should spend these years taking a second look at the science of climate change, rather than pursuing regulations that he says are not supported by science. The vast majority of climate scientists agree that human emissions are a major driver of climate change.

Inhofe spoke as U.N. climate talks are under way in Doha, Qatar. No U.S. lawmakers are currently scheduled to attend the talks, which Inhofe dismissed as "an annual party" for bureaucrats.

Inhofe's office has not ruled out the possibility of his attending the talks via video message, as he did last year. But a trip to Qatar would be wasted, he told reporters yesterday, because there is no possibility that the United States will pass comprehensive climate change legislation in the coming years.

"That is a promise," he said. "It's not going to happen. So why go down there and waste a lot of time?"


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