Thursday, October 16, 2008

Inhofe and Rice on the environment



By John Sutter

Oklahoma's U.S. Senate race between Republican Jim Inhofe and Democratic challenger Andrew Rice has gotten attention for its implications for the country's environmental policy.

Inhofe famously has said global warming is the "greatest hoax ever perpetuated" on people. The high-ranking Tulsan has defended that comment this campaign season, despite a scientific consensus that the planet is warming and human emission of heat-trapping gases are at least partly to blame.

In an Associated Press article about cap-and-trade legislation to curb climate change, Inhofe said the country can't afford to tackle climate change in these hard economic times:
Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe, the senior Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, in a blog entry this month criticized 152 House members for releasing a set of principles to tackle global warming in the midst of the economic turmoil.

"The current economic crisis only reinforces the public's wariness about any climate bill that attempts to increase the costs of energy and jeopardizes jobs," Inhofe said.

Grist.org, a national environmental magazine online, pulled an October quote in which Inhofe defended his position that climate change is a farce:
"I think I was right on that ... It's not whether or not we're going into a global warming period. We were. We're not now. You know, God's still up there. We're now going through a cooling spell."
There are legitimate disagreements about what, if anything, should be done about climate change, but climatologists say it's misleading and inaccurate to inject doubt into the science on the subject. Three-thousand scientists from around the world released a major report in 2007 that said climate change is "unequivocal" and is very likely caused by human industry, which has been pumping carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere at unprecedented rates.

Rice told Grist that the election on Nov. 4 will be a referendum on Inhofe's stances on climate change. Rice has been behind in the polls, and his campaign has raised only a third of what Inhofe's campaign has, according to newsok.com. In his Grist interview, Rice said sounds unsure that climate change is an issue that average Oklahomans are willing to take up:
"The general public, local private interests, are already transitioning into meeting the needs of climate change. A lot of policy makers are slow to catch up. When I go travel, talking to people to find out what's going on, people are generally concerned about it. Does that mean your average Oklahoman readily agrees with all the measures an ardent environmentalist would suggest? Maybe not."

2 comments:

David Glover said...

It seems like Rice could highlight this for the last few weeks of the race. "Inhofe wants to dystroy the world - I will help save it."

Maria said...

Business can't afford to tackle it in tough times, but the environment can't afford it ever.