Inhofe Welcomes Senate Floor Debate on Global Warming With Senator Sanders
July 30, 2012

Posted by Matt Dempsey matt_dempsey@epw.senate.gov

Inhofe Welcomes Sanders Floor Debate on Global Warming

On Monday, July 30, 2012, Senator Inhofe welcomed the opportunity to debate global warming science and policy on the floor of the United States Senate with Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT). Saying that Senator Inhofe is "Dead Wrong" on global warming, Sanders challenged Senator Inhofe for calling man-made global warming a hoax.

Senator Sanders press release can be found here http://www.sanders.senate.gov/newsroom/news/?id=453e3b47-61f4-4d9f-b650-75d06e467074

Below are the remarks made on the Senate floor by Senator Inhofe in response to Senator Sanders speech:

The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator from Oklahoma.

Mr. INHOFE. Mr. President, first of all, something my friend from Vermont said a minute ago would surprise a lot of people, and that is we are friends. It is kind of strange. People don't understand being violently opposed to each other in this body and yet also being very close friends. My friend from Vermont has a different philosophy than I do. That is the nice thing about both the House and the Senate. We have people with different philosophies who believe in different things. Somewhere in the midst of this, the truth ultimately does come out most of the time. I think we would probably agree with that.

One thing I like about my friend from Vermont is he really believes and is willing to stand up and fight for something he believes. I am not going to suggest there are hypocrites in this body. I wouldn't say that at all. When we look around the political scene, we see people who somehow might ingratiate a block of people who are wanting support. Maybe it is for the next election, maybe it is for a cause. That is not the case with my friend from Vermont. He believes in his heart everything he says.

Sometimes I talk to young people who come in as interns. I tell them there are varied philosophies in the Senate and in the House. We have extreme liberals who believe our country should have a greater involvement in the decisions we make. We have conservatives, like I am, who believe we have too much government in our lives as it is. It is a basic difference. But I say to them, even though I am on the conservative side, I would rather someone be a far outspoken liberal extremist than be in the mushy middle and not stand for anything. My friend from Vermont is not in the mushy middle. He stands for something.

It was not too long ago that another friend in his office, his press secretary--we are very close friends--said something, and I don't want to misquote him. He said, My boss would like to have a copy of your book. I said, Not only will I give him a copy, but I will autograph it for him, but with one commitment, and that is he has to read it. He kept that commitment; I can tell by the things he said.

Let me go over a few things that were said, and I think it is interesting. This Dr. Richard Muller--I can't recall too much about him, but I do know he was listed among scientists who were skeptics. For the benefit of people who may not know the terminology, I refer to an alarmist as someone who thinks there is great alarm because something is happening and the end of the world is coming because of global warming. Skeptics are those like myself who don't believe that. He apparently has changed from being a skeptic to an alarmist. I would only say this, and that is my Web site, epw.senate.gov, shows from probably over 12 years ago a list of scientists who are calling me, making statements, and saying that the IPCC--that is the United Nations, and that is what we are talking about. The United Nations came out with a preconceived notion that they wanted to believe a preconceived conclusion. When they did this, the scientists who were included in the process were scientists who agreed with them.

So when I questioned it by standing on the floor--I don't remember the date of this. My friend from Vermont may remember that. I made statements about two or three scientists who had called me. After that, the phone was ringing off the hook. Keep in mind there are a lot of scientists out there. We listed on the Web site up to over 1,000 scientists who declared they were skeptics about this whole thing. So I can take some gratitude about the fact that the only scientist who was on the skeptic list who has changed to an alarmist is 1 out of 1,000.

My friend was talking about the National Academy of Sciences. I think it is kind of interesting because let's remember it was the National Academy of Sciences that came out with a report in 1975 warning of a coming ice age. Keep in mind we are all going to die whether it is global warming or another ice age. That is the National Academy of Sciences, the same group. According to a lot of people, they have turned themselves into an advocacy group.

I will quote MIT's Dr. Richard Lindzen, who was a former U.N. IPCC reviewer. He was talking about Ralph Cicerone, who is the president of the NAS. He said:

 

Cicerone of NAS is saying that regardless of evidence the answer is predetermined, if gov't wants carbon control, that is the answer--

 

That is what the NAS will provide. If you control carbon, you control life.

So we have had a lot of differing and varying interpretations of availing science over the years. I can recall one of my first introductions to this. Of course, this came way back during the Kyoto Convention. Some people have forgotten that Kyoto was a convention that was going to get everyone to get together under the leadership of the United Nations and we were all going to reduce our carbon, and so they had this big meeting down there. I will always remember it. This is the famous Al Gore meeting that was called the Earth Summit of 1992. So they came out with this and said this is going to happen. The United Nations said it is, and so they thought everything was fine. Everyone believed it.

It was shortly after that I remember hearing someone talk about it. We can go back and look at this. This is not something I am just saying. There were statements that were made in the 30-year period--let's take the 30-year period from 1895 to 1925. That is 30 years. During that time everyone feared that another ice age was coming. They talked about another ice age, and that the world was coming to an end. They provided all of this documentation during that 30-year period that that is what was happening.

Well, from 1925 to 1945, that 20-year period was a global warming. In fact, the first time we heard of global warming was in that 20-year period from 1925 to 1945. So the world was going to come to an end again, and it was going to be during that period of time due to global warming.

Then came the 30-year period from 1945 to 1975. During that time they said it is a cold spell, and that is when all of these companies came in--the Senator from Vermont is right. I have given probably 30 talks well in excess of an hour each talking about these things. During that time, I remember holding up the cover of Time magazine where they talked about how another ice age was coming. Then I held up a cover of the Time magazine 20 years later, and they said, no, it is global warming. They had the last polar bear stepping on the last cube of ice, and saying we are going to die.

We went through a period of 1945 to 1975 where they declared it a period of another ice age. Then 1975 to the turn of the century--so that was another 30-year period of time--when it was global warming. So we have gone back and forth.

Here is the interesting thing about that. The assertion is always made that we are having catastrophic global warming because of manmade gases, CO2, anthropogenic gases, and methane. Yet the greatest surge of CO 2 came right after World War II starting in 1945, and that precipitated not a warming period but a cooling period. So when you look at these things, sometimes--by the way, the only disagreement I would have with my friend from Vermont is that he has quoted me as saying some things.

Actually, unlike Al Gore and some of these other people, I recognize I am not an expert. I am not a scientist, but I read what the scientists say. I get my phone calls, I look at it, and I try to apply logic to it and come to my conclusions.

So that is what has been happening over the last--oh, it has been now 12 years, I guess, since all this started.

I wish to mention a couple of other things that were said. For example, on the idea of the science--here it is, right here. As far as scientists are concerned, I can remember quoting from the Harvard-Smithsonian study. The study examined results of more than 240 peer-reviewed--``peer-reviewed'' is the term used by my friend from Vermont--the Harvard-Smithsonian study examined the results of more than 240 peer-reviewed papers published by thousands of researchers over the past four decades. The study covers a multitude of geophysical and biological climate indicators. They came to the conclusion that ``climate change is not real. The science is not accurate.''

Then we have another quote from a former President of the National Academy of Sciences. He is Dr. Fred Seitz. He said:

 

There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will in the foreseeable future cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate.

 

Again, he is a former President of the National Academy of Sciences.

Then we had a study from not long ago done by George Mason University. This is one my friend from Vermont may not have seen. It was called to my attention, and I missed it somehow in the media. It was a survey of 430 weather forecasters by the university, and it found that only 19 percent of the weather forecasters believed that the climate is changing and if so, that it is due to manmade gases--only 19 percent. That means 81 percent of them think it is not.

Dr. Robert Laughlin is a Nobel Prize winner and a Stanford University physicist. He said--this is kind of good. I enjoyed this one. He said:

 

Please remain calm: The earth will heal itself. Climate is beyond our power to control. The earth doesn't care about governments or their legislation. Climate change is a matter of geologic time, something that the earth routinely does on its own without asking anyone's permission or explaining itself.

 

It is happening. I think it is kind of arrogant for people to think we can change this. I am recalling one of the statements made by my good friend that we have all of these--we must provide the leadership.

We have watched these great big annual parties the United Nations has in these exotic places around the world. I can remember going to a few of them. I remember one of them in Milan, Italy. It would have been 2003. I went there. They had ``wanted'' posters on all the telephone polls with my picture and quoted me when I first came out with the hoax statement. These big parties are kind of interesting. I have only gone to three of them, but they have people invited from all over the world. The only price to pay to come to this is to believe that catastrophic warming is taking place and that it is the fault of bad old man and anthropogenic gases.

Anyway, the last one was an interesting one--not the last one, the most enjoyable one in Copenhagen. At that time--I am going from memory, but I believe President Obama had been there, Secretary Clinton had been there, Nancy Pelosi had been there, and several others. There were five different people--I can't remember the other two--and they were there to assure the other countries--keep in mind, 192 countries--they assured them that we were going to pass some type of cap-and-trade legislation. So I went. Right before I went over, I announced myself as a self-described--I don't mean it in an arrogant way--as a self-proclaimed, one-man truth squad. I went over to tell them the truth, that it wasn't going to happen.

But right before it happened--talk about poetic justice, I say to my friend from Vermont--right before that happened was a hearing we had with the director of the EPA, Lisa Jackson, whom I love dearly. She is one of my three favorite liberals whom I often talk about, and she came out and said--I looked at her and I said: I am going to Copenhagen tomorrow. I have a feeling that when I leave to go to Copenhagen, you are going to have a declaration that will declare that it is a hazard and all this and give the bureaucracy justification to do through regulation what they could not do and have not been successful in doing through legislation.

I saw a smile on her face. I said: In the event you make that finding, it has to be based on science. What science do you think it will be based on?

She said: Well, primarily the IPCC--the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

It is a branch of the United Nations. It was all started by the United Nations.

By the way, I would not mention my book; however, I checked before I came down, and if somebody else mentions my book, which is ``The Greatest Hoax,'' then it is all right for me to mention it. I see my friend from Vermont nodding in agreement. So I want people to read the longest chapter, which is the chapter on the United Nations. It goes back and tells what the motives were for this. It goes back to 1972. We were in the midst of an ice age at that time, if my colleague remembers. It talks about the meeting that was going to be held at the Earth Summit in 1992, what the motivation was, and then it goes forward from there.

Here is what is interesting. I was going to mention this in a hearing we will both be attending tomorrow. They had the Earth Summit Plus 20 just a month ago in Rio de Janeiro, the same place it was held 20 years before that when George Bush was President of the United States. He went down there even though he didn't really agree with the stuff that was going on. In this case, President Obama didn't even go down. In fact, it has been conspicuous.

I was glad to see my friend from Vermont coming to the floor and talking about an issue that hasn't been talked about now for years. I am glad it is coming up again. I am glad people realize the cost it is going to be to the American people. By the way, the $300 billion to $400 billion originated from a study that was done by scientists--I am sorry--by economists from the Wharton School, and they came up with that figure. Later on, MIT and several universities said: Well, that is the $300 billion to $400 billion, what it will cost. So that has been pretty much agreed to. Yet I am sure there is a dissenting view. But this is the first time I have heard on the floor of this Senate a denial of that assertion that was made. Everyone knows what it will cost.

I remember the McCain-Lieberman bill when Senator Lieberman said: Yes, it will cost billions of dollars. There is no question about it. Cap and trade will cost billions of dollars. The question is, What do we gain from it?

Well, that is a pretty good question.

Getting back to Lisa Jackson, I asked the question--this was in a live hearing. I think the Senator from Vermont may have been there; I don't know for sure. It was live on TV.

I said: The assertion has been made that global warming is--that if we pass something, we are going to be able to stop this horrible thing that is going on right now. Let me ask you for the record, live on TV, in a committee hearing, if we were to pass the cap-and-trade bill--I think it was the Markey bill at that time; I am not sure. Cap and trade is cap and trade--pretty much the same. If we were to pass that, would that lower worldwide emissions of CO2? She said: No, it wouldn't. Wait a minute. This is the Obama-appointed director of the Environmental Protection Agency who said: No, it wouldn't, because the problem isn't here. The problem is in other countries.

I don't remember what countries she named--probably China, India, Mexico. It could be other countries; I am not sure. But nonetheless, she said: No, it really wouldn't do that.

So what we are talking about is this tax on the American people of $300 billion to $400 billion. I remember--and I think the Senator from Vermont remembers this also--way back in 1993, during the first of the Clinton-Gore administration, they had the Clinton-Gore tax increase of 1993. That was an increase of marginal rates, the death tax, capital gains, and I believe it was the largest tax increase in three decades at that time. That was a $32 billion tax increase. This would be a tax increase ten times that rate.

I know there are people--their heads swim when they hear these numbers. It doesn't mean anything to them. I will tell my colleagues what I do. In Oklahoma, I get the number of families who file a tax return, and then I do the math every time somebody comes up. In the case of that increase, of the $300 billion to $400 billion, we are talking about a $3,000 tax increase for each family in my State of Oklahoma that files a tax return. So, fine, if they want to do that, they can try to do it, but let's not say something good will come from it when the director of the EPA herself said no, it is not going to reduce emissions.

The other thing too that my friend from Vermont mentioned was the heat. Yes, it is hot. In fact, it was kind of funny--during the remarks of my friend from Vermont, my wife called me from Oklahoma and said: Do you think I should call in and say today it is 109 degrees?

I said: No, it wouldn't be a good idea. Let me say it.

So it is true. Now and then we have some very hot summers, and in the case of my State of Oklahoma, it is hot almost every summer. We have had a lot of heat. However, the people who try to say there is proof that global warming is taking place are the same ones who--back when we had the most severe winter 2 years ago, when my kids built the famous igloo, that was one of the most severe winters. In fact, all the airports were closed at that time. It was kind of funny. I have 20 kids and grandkids. One family is headed up by Jimmy and Molly Rapert. She is a professor at the University of Arkansas. She has a little girl we helped find in Ethiopia many years ago. Zagita Marie was just a few days old when we found her and not in very good shape. We nursed her back to health. Molly and her husband, who have three boys, decided they wanted a girl, and they adopted her. She is now 12 years old. She reads at college level. Every year I have the Africa dinner in February, and she has been the keynote speaker at that.

Anyway, 2 years ago in February, she had given her keynote speech and they were getting ready to leave and go back home, but they couldn't get out because all the airports were closed. What do you do with a family of six? You go out and build an igloo. This wasn't just an igloo the kids built; it slept four people, right next to the Library of Congress, and on top of it they had a little sign saying ``Al Gore's New Home.''

Anyway, they were talking about that single weather event at that time--or some were; not me; I know better than to do that--saying global warming can't take place because we have had the most severe winters. Anyway, a lot of people have tried to use--and I don't blame them for doing it--the idea that, oh, it is really hot out there; therefore, this must be global warming.

I would suggest that--oh, yeah, the one weather event. Roger Pielke, Jr., professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado, said:

 

Over the long run, there is no evidence that disasters are getting worse because of climate change.

 

Judith Curry, chair of the Georgia Institute of Technology School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, said:

 

I have been completely unconvinced by any of the arguments that attribute a single extreme weather event or a cluster of extreme weather events or statistics of extreme weather events to an anthropogenic forcing.

 

Myles Allen, the head of the Climate Dynamics Group at the University of Oxford's Atmospheric, Oceanic and Planetary Physics Department, said:

 

When Al Gore said that scientists now have clear proof that climate change is directly responsible for the extreme and devastating floods, storms and droughts, my heart sank.

 

The other day, I was on the ``Rachel Maddow Show.'' I watch Rachel Maddow. She is one of my three favorite--let me just declare today that I have four favorite liberals, and the Senator from Vermont is one of them. He just graduated to that today, I say to my friend from Vermont.

Anyway, I have been on her show before--and I always like doing it because they are on the other side of these issues--but her own guy, called Bill Nye the Science Guy, agrees, one, it is wrong to try to attribute climate to a weather event. There is a big difference between weather and climate. So we have an awful lot of people who are talking about that.

My good friend from Vermont talked about the global cooling predictions. Let me correct him in saying that I did not say that. I said that quoting scientists. I try to do that because I do not want anyone to think I know that much about science because I do not.

A prominent Russian scientist, Dr. Abdussamatov, said:

 

We should fear a deep temperature drop--not catastrophic global warming. ..... It follows that [global] warming had a natural origin, the contribution of CO2 to it was insignificant. .....

 

This second thing: ``UN Fears (More) Global Cooling Commeth!'' This is the IPCC. This is the United Nations, the same people who, in my opinion--I do say this--are trying to profit from this issue. When I say that, let me clarify that because when the United Nations comes up with something that is not in the best interests of this country--I have often said we ought to correct this. I have written letters, signed by Members of this Senate, and before that by Members of the House when I was in the House, saying: You guys are going to have to come to the meeting and talk about this because it is going to be a serious problem.

When you talk about all these things that are going on, it is something that is not actually taking place.

So they said--and I am quoting now. This would be palaeoclimate scientist Dr. Bob Carter from James Cook University in Australia, who has testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on EPW. I was there at that testimony. He noted on June 18, 2007: The accepted global average temperature statistics used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change show that no ground-based warming has occurred since 1998. Oddly, this is 8-year long temperature stability that occurred, despite an increase over the same period of 15 parts per million of atmospheric CO2. So, again, these are scientists. I know there are scientists with varying views, but there sure are a lot of them here.

Just months before the Copenhagen matter took place--by the way, I kind of enjoyed that trip to Copenhagen because when I got over there--this, again, was the meeting where they invite all the people who believe in global warming and make all these countries--192 countries--believe if they will go along with this, they will get great rewards for doing something about global warming. So, anyway, I enjoyed that very much because I was able to go over and show the people what the truth was in this country.

But Andrew Revkin, just before Copenhagen, on September 23, 2009, in the New York Times, acknowledged:

 

The world leaders who met at the United Nations to discuss climate change ..... are faced with an intricate challenge: building momentum for an international climate treaty at a time when global temperatures have been relatively stable for a decade and may even drop for the next few years.

 

I look at some of the things--incidentally, I kind of wish I had known my good friend from Vermont was going to be talking about this because I would have been delighted to join in and get a little bit better prepared. But I would say this as to the cost: When you talk about where this cost comes from, the $300 to $400 billion, the Kyoto Protocol and cap-and-trade cost--this is from the Wharton Econometrics Forecasting Associates I mentioned just a minute ago--Kyoto would cost 2.4 million U.S. jobs and reduce GDP by 3.2 percent or about $300 billion annually, an amount greater than the total expenditure on primary and secondary education.

Oh, yes, let's talk about polar bears. I am not sure my friend mentioned the polar bears, so I will skip that part. Anyway, let me just say this: It has become something that has been somewhat of a religion to talk about what is happening and the world is coming to an end. I would just suggest they are not winning that battle.

In March 2010, in a Gallup poll, Americans ranked global warming dead last--8 out of 8--on environmental issues. That was not true 10 years ago. Ten years ago, it was No. 1, and everyone thought that. The more people sit back and look at it and study it, they decide: Well, maybe it is not true after all.

In March 2010, a Rasmussen poll: 72 percent of American voters do not believe global warming is a very serious problem. In a Rasmussen poll at the same time as to the Democrat base: Only 35 percent now think climate change is manmade.

The global warmist Robert Socolow laments: We are losing the argument with the general public, big time ..... I think the climate change activists, myself included, have lost the American middle.

 

In a way, I am kind of pleased it is coming back up and surfacing now. I thank my good friend, and he is my good friend. People do not understand--they really do not understand--what the Senate is all about. The House was not that way when I was in the House. But in the Senate, you can love someone and disagree with them philosophically and come out and talk about it.

I have no doubt in my mind that my friend from Vermont is sincere in what he believes. I believe he would say he knows I am sincere with what I believe. That is what makes this a great body.

But I will just say this: It is popular to say the world is coming to an end. When we look historically, I could go back and talk about what has happened over the years--over the centuries really--and going through these periods of time, and it is always that the world is coming to an end.

Well, I am here to announce--and I feel very good being able to do it with 20 kids and grandkids; I am happy to tell them all right now--the world is not coming to an end, and global warming--we are going through a cycle. We have gone through these cycles before, and every time we go through--in part of my book I talk about the hysterical things people are saying.

Back during that period of time, I mentioned between 1895 and 1930 about how the world was coming to an end, and the same thing from 1930 to the end of the war. Then, of course, getting into the little ice age, all these things that were taking place, the little ice age from 1945--not the ice age but this cooling period--the cooling period that started in 1945 and lasted for 30 years was the time in our history where we had the greatest increase in carbon in the air, the greatest use of that. So it is inconsistent with what reality was.

So I would say to my good friend, I have no doubt in my mind that the Senator from Vermont is sincere in what he says. While he and I are ranked at the extreme sides of the philosophical pendulum, I would say I know he is sincere. But I will also say this is a tough world we are in right now. When we look at the problems we have in this country and the problems we are having in the world and the cost that it has, I am very thankful those who are trying to pass the cap and trade, all the way from the Kyoto Treaty--which was never brought to the Senate, never brought because they knew they were not going to be able to pass it--up until the time when that ended in about 2009, I would say a lot of activists were out there, but I think people have now realized: Just look at the patterns. It gets colder, it gets warmer, it gets colder, it gets warmer. God is still up there. And I think that will continue in the future.

I thank the Chair and yield the remainder of my time.




Majority Office
410 Dirksen Senate Office Bldg.Washington, DC 20510-6175
phone: 202-224-6176
Minority Office
456 Dirksen Senate Office Bldg.Washington, DC 20510-6175
phone: 202-224-8832