Written by James Inhofe, U.S. News & World Report | 23 March 2010
James Inhofe is an Oklahoma Republican and ranking member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.
Call it the global warming crackup, an unfolding process of contradictory claims about glaciers, weather, and scientists asserting a consensus when none exists. Global warming alarmists can’t make up their minds because the entire basis for their energy rationing project has collapsed into a mess of errors, exaggerations, and deceit. Let me explain.
The Obama administration said the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is the “gold standard” for climate science, yet now the Environmental Protection Agency administrator won’t defend it. The IPCC and Al Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize. Now the IPCC has retracted several false claims concerning, among other things, rain forests shrinking, crops dying, and sea levels rising. We’ve been told weather is not to be confused with climate, except when you have heat waves or blizzards. We’ve been told cap-and-trade would create thousands of green jobs, yet the Congressional Budget Office, Department of Energy, National Black Chamber of Commerce, and others say it would mean a net loss of jobs.
We are told that increasing levels of CO2 will increase temperature, yet the key scientist in the climategate scandal says there’s been “no statistically significant warming” in the past 15 years—all while CO2 levels have increased. We’ve been told that there is an “indisputable consensus” that human-caused global warming is happening and pushing the planet to certain disaster. Yet that same scientist—Phil Jones, former director of Britain’s Climatic Research Unit, the foremost such center—now says that the vast majority of climate scientists don’t agree on what the data are telling us.
What’s going on here? When thousands of E-mails were released from the Climatic Research Unit in November, we finally were able to pull back the veil of the so-called climate consensus. As ranking member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, I have released a minority staff report that uses these E-mails to show that the world’s leading climate scientists apparently discussed manipulating data to fit preconceived conclusions and pressuring journal editors not to publish scientific work contrary to their own. This would violate fundamental ethical principles guiding scientific (and taxpayer-funded) research and, our report points out, may violate federal laws.
The E-mail controversy has been airily dismissed by the Obama administration as nothing more than scientists “lacking interpersonal skills.” One Democratic senator called it a “little E-mail squabble.” The evidence proves otherwise. At the center of the controversy were the same scientists who wrote and edited the IPCC’s reports—the reports alarmists claim form the climate science “consensus.” Moreover, those reports provide the critical basis for cap-and-trade legislation and the EPA’s endangerment finding regarding greenhouse gases. Yet climategate shows what I’ve asserted all along: The basis for those disastrous policies is flawed and should be thrown out.
Unfortunately, that’s not what EPA is doing. It wants $43.5 million in new funding to regulate greenhouse gases. This is seed money for the most economically destructive regulatory initiative in this nation’s history.
Back in 2005, I gave a speech urging reforms at the IPCC, trying to get the United Nations body to produce reliable, objective science. But the IPCC ignored my recommendations. And now, after several embarrassing gaffes—for example, stating falsely that Himalayan glaciers would melt by 2035—the calls for reform are deafening.
My minority report shows the world’s leading climate scientists acting like political scientists, with an agenda disconnected from the principles of good science. And it shows that there is no consensus—except agreement there are significant gaps in what scientists know about the climate system. It’s time for the administration to recognize this. Its endangerment finding rests on bad science. It should throw out that finding and abandon greenhouse gas regulation under the Clean Air Act—a policy that will mean fewer jobs, higher taxes, and economic decline.