Last week, Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe delivered the keynote address at the Heartland Institute’s tenth annual International Conference on Climate Change.
The Chicago-based Heartland Institute is a free-market think tank with an annual budget of $6 million and a serious yen for climate change denial (the Institute once paid to put up billboards across Chicago comparing climate change believers to the Unabomber and Charles Manson). Sen. Inhofe, who literally wrote the book on why global warming is a hoax, delivers the address almost every year.
At the conference, Sen. Inhofe explained that spreading belief in global warming “is the first component of authentic global governance” for the United Nations.
“The United Nations is the reason that this all came along,” the Senator said. “We all know that. They want independence. They don’t want to be accountable to anybody, to the United States or any other country.”
Inhofe has long vowed that his disbelief in climate change stems from his religious faith. “God’s still up there,” Inhofe wrote in his 2012 book, The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future. “The arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous.”
In his address, Inhofe repeated his “God’s still up there” line and added that the Institute’s members “are on the right side of the Lord on all of these things” and that said Lord “will richly bless you for it.”
It should be noted, however, that despite Inhofe’s heavenly benefactor, his earthly career has been largely supported by the oil and gas industry. Since the late ‘90s, the industry has donated nearly $1.8 million to the Senator’s election campaigns.
Inhofe had special words for Pope Francis, who has not benefited from the Senator’s corporate sponsorship but apparently has overstepped his bounds in writing an encyclical on the planet’s need to face and combat climate change. “The Pope ought to stay with his job, and we’ll stay with ours,” said Inhofe.
In a leaked draft of the encyclical, the Pope calls for humanity “to take note of the need for changes in lifestyle and changes in methods of production and consumption to combat this warming, or at least the human causes that produce and accentuate it.” He also condemned those who contribute to the problem “or hid[e] the symptoms.”
“Everyone is going to ride the Pope now,” said Inhofe.“Isn’t that wonderful.”
Sen. Inhofe was one of five individuals to receive the Heartland Institute’s Climate Change Award for his decades “fighting the politicization and misinterpretation of climate science.” According to the Institute, the awards “serve to increase public awareness of the global warming realism movement and send a signal to the academy and other elite institutions saying if they won’t recognize these genuine heroes, then the sponsors of these awards will.”
Also giving a presentation that day was Dr. Wei-Hock “Willie” Soon, one of the scientific community’s few remaining deniers of man-made climate change. Dr. Soon was embroiled in scandal earlier this year when it was revealed that his research has been funded by $1.25 million of fossil fuel industry money, an undisclosed fact that has put Soon under investigation by several of the journals in which his work has been published.
At the conference, Sen. Inhofe claimed that the warnings of experts and environmentalists “have been refuted again and again,” such as the popular belief that polar bears are in trouble.
“There is a problem with polar bears right now: It’s overpopulation,” he said. “If you look at the alarmists, [they say] the polar bears are disappearing. Well, that’s not quite true.”
But, of course, it is. True, the bears have been enjoying an unprecedented treat now that warming ocean waters have driven dolphins farther north and onto the polar bear menu, but in the last decade most populations of polar bears have been significantly dropping. Between 2001 and 2010, for example, the polar bear numbers dropped 40 percent in the southern Beaufort Sea.
Looking on the bright side, Sen. Inhofe was able to joke to his audience about his snowball-throwing stunt back in February. In an effort to disprove global warming, Inhofe brought a snowball to the Senate floor, suggesting it was somehow proof that 2014 was not the hottest year on record (and it was, at least according to NASA). The stunt was lambasted across media outlets, but the Senator brushed it all aside.
“You can’t take these things too seriously,” he said. “You’ve got to have fun in life.”
And there Mr. Inhofe is absolutely right. No honest person takes him seriously, but where Inhofe’s coming from, honesty is in short supply.