Inhofe’s “Hoax”: foolish and dangerous

I decided to take a look at Senator Inhofe’s newly published book The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future, thinking I might get a better understanding of what impels a politician like him into aggressive denial of climate science and opposition to any moves to tackle the climate crisis. It wasn’t difficult to find out. He is a virulent opponent of what he regards as government over-regulation.  He describes earlier in life working “long hard hours” as a developer, and finding the chief obstacle to “living out my American dream” was the government. Bureaucrats, “pseudo-intellectuals in Washington who think they know best”, are holding back the enterprising spirit on which the American economy depends.

It’s not my purpose in this post to discuss Inhofe’s politics per se. It’s how they impinge on the challenge of climate change that concerns me. So far as I could see in reading his book climate change is denied in the name of free enterprise, the lifeblood of the American economy.

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The bad news, and the good

Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway have an interesting article in Yale Environment developing ideas from their book Merchants of Doubt. Some of it summarises the findings of the book concerning the organised campaigns of denial of science, but there are some new expressions of anxiety which are deserving of notice.

They draw attention to the fostering of a public image of climate science as a criminal conspiracy by a group called Cooler Heads Coalition, a creation of the Washington-based Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI). The CEI itself has accused NASA, the largest funder of climate science, of faking important climate data sets. And earlier this year Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma, whose positions are frequently cited and promoted by CEI, called for a criminal investigation of 17 climate scientists from a variety of institutions for allegedly falsifying or distorting data used in taxpayer-funded research.
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