Republican Sen. James Inhofe (OK) has served in the U.S. Senate since 1994. He currently serves as chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee and is the senior member of the Armed Services Committee. Environment & Climate News Managing Editor H. Sterling Burnett spoke with Inhofe, who received the 2015 Political Leadership on Climate Change Award at the Tenth International Conference on Climate Change in June 2015.
Burnett: Senator, you’ve been a leader on sound science and climate issues for many years. Why did this become such an important cause for you?
Inhofe: I’ve never been afraid of being a one-man truth squad. It was very evident early on in my time in Congress that environmental extremists were turning global warming into a religion. They want Americans to accept their theory as absolute truth that man is the driving force of global warming. If they can convince one of the richest nations of this, these alarmists here at home and overseas stand to profit quite a bit.
But global warming still remains just that—a theory which is based on monitoring Earth for a short century in the face of millennia[-long] natural climate cycles. This is also the same science that was exposed in the 2009 Climategate scandal for being hidden, manipulated, and flawed. But it’s this type of science that is being used to advocate for excessive regulations and endless attempts to impose the largest tax increase on Americans through cap-and-trade.
Any action our federal government takes on the environment should be based on science that is sound, transparent, and reproducible, and that is not what is happening at the EPA when it comes to climate policy.
Burnett: Do you believe Earth is undergoing human-caused climate change, and what informs your view on that?
Inhofe: The climate is changing, just as it always has been changing and always will. There is archaeological evidence of an ever-changing climate, and there is historic evidence of it. In the past 2000 years, there was the Medieval Warm Period, followed immediately by the Little Ice Age.
In December 2008, Al Gore said, “The entire North Polar ice cap will disappear in five years.” It is now past the deadline, December 2013, and the Arctic ice is actually doing pretty well. As Dr. Thomas Burke, [the Environmental Protection Agency’s] science advisor, told my committee this summer, science is never settled. Climate science isn’t settled. There is not a consensus that humans are the driving factor [behind changes to] global temperature. Whether warming or cooling, the reality is that the climate has been changing since the beginning of time.
Burnett: In your speech at Heartland’s 2015 climate change conference, you said the push for climate legislation, regulations, and treaties is all about the money. Please explain what you mean by that.
Inhofe: In my book The Greatest Hoax, I outline how the likes of Tom Steyer, Al Gore, and others stand to benefit from green profiteering. Mr. Gore is actually poised to become the world’s first carbon billionaire, profiteering from government policies he supports that would direct billions of dollars to the business ventures he has invested in that support alternative energy.
Green entrepreneurs, like Al Gore, have accumulated immense wealth largely due to shameless and incessant promotion of their global warming agenda. They often fundraise and receive millions of dollars of investment from promoting global warming, so it comes as no surprise that these green profiteers often view policies supporting green business investing as “good news.”
Burnett: Under your leadership, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee has uncovered e-mails and documents detailing Obama administration collusion with environmental groups to push climate policy. How did you uncover that evidence, and what was wrong with how they worked in unison?
Inhofe: Our committee conducted an investigation to compile a report exposing how the Obama administration collaborated with outside environmental groups through sue-and-settle tactics that shut Americans out of the rulemaking process. We took an unprecedented look into the inner workings of EPA’s rulemaking process and were able to bring to light for the first time the depth at which the settlement process was abused and kept the public in the dark.
I firmly believe that rulemaking and the development of expensive regulations impacting taxpayer dollars should not be done behind closed doors. We uncovered scathing e-mails that show how EPA played politics with deadlines and misled the public on the timing of the rules to avoid election consequences. The correspondence records we obtained reveal unredacted communications between EPA and [the Natural Resources Defense Council], including e-mails exchanged over personal e-mail accounts to avoid [Freedom of Information Act] requests. We uncovered evidence of secret meetings between senior EPA staff and leaders of environmental lobbying groups, held off site in order to avoid having the environmentalists sign in at EPA headquarters[, which would have made] the meeting public.
Undoubtedly, this puts the final nail in the coffin of President Obama’s broken campaign promise for a new era of government transparency. My committee continues to investigate and will continue to expose the culture of arrogance and lack of transparency that exists within the walls of the Obama administration’s EPA.
H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D. ([email protected]) is a research fellow with The Heartland Institute.