When debating climate change, he quotes Genesis 8:22: “‘As long as the Earth remains there will be seed time and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, day and night.’ My point is, God’s still up there. 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.”
Above is a quote from an article on Republican Senator James Inhofe that appeared in the Nov. 22 Leader-Post. The article examined changes in store for the Senate environment and public works committee following the U.S. mid-term elections earlier this month. With Republicans set to take control of both the Senate and Congress in January, Inhofe will be appointed chair of the Senate committee.
Inhofe, 80, is a notorious climate change denier. In 2012, he published a book called The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future. As the Leader-Post article notes, even in the Republican party there’s a sharp division between moderates who accept the scientific consensus that through our carbon-intensive lifestyles we are altering the climate on a global scale and conservatives like Inhofe who reject that idea.
Inhofe represents the state of Oklahoma, and receives significant funding from the fossil fuel industry. Combine that with his hardcore religious beliefs, and there’s likely to be further roadblocks put in front of any initiatives that the White House might take in the final two years of the Obama presidency to reduce U.S. carbon emissions and move toward clean energy.
As for Inhofe’s Genesis argument, back in Biblical times it’s true that people had virtually no capacity to impact the planet on a global scale. But in the intervening 2000 plus years our population has grown from maybe 200 million to 7.3 billion (and counting), we’ve industrialized on a massive scale that sees us burn billions of tons/cubic metres of coal, oil and natural gas annually, and we have ample evidence through the extinction/extirpation of formerly plentiful animal species (passenger pigeon, Atlantic cod, plains Bison ), previous environmental problems such as acid rain and depletion of the ozone layer, catastrophes such as Chernobyl and Fukushima, and huge infrastructure projects such as the Three Gorges Dam in China, that we do have the ability to impact on Earth and alter the environment on a “god-like” scale.
Too bad Inhofe didn’t get that memo. If you want to read more, here’s a Washington Post report.