As everyone in Oklahoma enjoys the cooler weather today and tomorrow this summer, it might be a good time to note that both May and June were the hottest months on records for the planet.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently reported this information, which has fueled speculation that 2014 may be the hottest year on record, according to a recent story in The Washington Post.
The record-breaking heat, which NOAA says has been caused by hotter ocean temperatures, is yet even more evidence that the planet is getting warmer and that the planet needs to take collective action to reduce manmade carbon emissions.
This should be noted in Oklahoma this rather unusual cool summer because it’s home to U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, one of the planet’s most well known climate-science deniers. Inhofe calls global warming fears a “hoax” or a worldwide conspiracy generated by liberal scientists.
Inhofe just recently stopped a Senate resolution that basically argued climate change is, in fact, a reality. One of those Senators who supported the resolution, Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, said Inhofe’s views were an “alternate reality.” According to ThinkProgress, Whitehouse went on to say this about Inhofe arguments: “To say that we have no warming is just not factual.” He also said, “. . . Republicans, they are losing their young voters on this . . .” (See the above video in which Whitehouse responds to Inhofe.)
Inhofe has received $368,500 in campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry since 2009. The burning of fossil fuels, such as gasoline, produces the carbon emissions that have been blamed for manmade global warming. Inhofe’s claim that climate science is a ruse has always been overshadowed by his close connection to the energy industry, which, of course, has a strong political lobby here.
For the most part, the corporate media here has failed to adequately connect Inhofe’s views on climate science with his financial ties to the oil and gas industry. That would be called unbiased journalism, which is rarely practiced here when it comes to the energy industry, especially at the state’s largest newspaper, The Oklahoman.
Inhofe’s views have a trickle-down effect here in Oklahoma and make the issue a political one when it’s really a planetary one. I’m sure some teachers in certain districts are afraid to deal with the issue with students in classrooms in fear of reprisal from conservative administrators. The legislature, for example, often tries to pass bills that claim climate science is “controversial.” Local weather forecasters on television stations in Oklahoma City have consistently failed to address the reality of climate change. The television advertising dollars from the energy industry that support the news stations seal the issue. It’s the ignorance that Inhofe has wrought in this place.
So here’s what Oklahomans need to know today: Just because it’s cool for a few days in the summer in our state doesn’t mean it’s not terribly hot in other parts of the world or that the oceans are not warming.
Inhofe, who is expected to coast to reelection against his Democratic opponent Matt Silverstein, can continue to serve in the Senate perhaps because a majority of voters here can’t accept the idea that the world doesn’t revolve around them.
The fluctuations in the Oklahoma weather don’t disprove global warming. Climate science is based on years of data and on a planetary basis. It’s also based on ocean temperatures and visible, recorded evidence, such as the melting of the arctic ice cap.
A new study published this week predicts a grim future for the planet because of climate change caused by carbon emissions, but here in Oklahoma legislators are trying to penalize people who use solar panels on their homes.
The far-reaching and massive study, conducted by the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), warns of the catastrophic consequences posed by global warming, including future famines, population displacement, mass migrations and violent conflict over resources. Poorer countries will likely fare the worst.
The evidence of climate change and global warming, according to the study, is all around us, from melting arctic ice to dying wildlife to droughts to severe weather events. The main cause for global warming remains manmade carbon dioxide emissions produced by the burning of fossil fuels.
The dire scenarios outlined by the report will hopefully bolster efforts throughout the world to create cleaner, renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind and hydropower.
Oklahoma legislators, however, aren’t going to let the planet’s survival get in the way of protecting the status quo.
A bill that has passed in the Oklahoma Senate on a 41 to 0 vote would charge people who send electricity back to the grid by the use of solar panels or wind turbines a tariff or surcharge for doing so. Senate Bill 1456 has also passed a House committee on a 7 to 0 vote.
Supporters of the bill claim the extra charges would help utility companies build and maintain the necessary infrastructure to handle the incoming electricity, but it seems terribly counter intuitive to penalize people for using renewable energy given the dire impact of climate change. If anything, utility companies should be rewarding solar users for lessening demand during peak usage times and helping the environment.
The bottom line is that homes and buildings using solar and wind energy threaten the current business model of utility companies, which must change to become both a sole provider and a distributor of electricity. Part of that change is embracing renewable energy.
The bill has it exactly backwards. Solar and wind power users contributing to the grid should get more incentives, not tariffs.
The news from a large group of scientists warning of the dire effects of global warming and showing the impact of human activity on climate change didn’t create much of a stir here in Oklahoma.
That’s because this is an epicenter of global warming denial, which includes among its adherents U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe and the state’s largest newspaper, The Oklahoman. The main basis of the denial is simple, reckless subterfuge: The science behind climate change is actually a global, leftist conspiracy targeting the fossil-fuel industry for extinction. This is nonsense, and it puts us all at risk.
A draft of a report created by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, as reported by The New York Times, shows that global warming would push sea levels three feet higher by the end of the century, a catastrophe of epic proportions for the world’s populated coastlines. The draft report also claimed that there’s a 95 percent certainty that carbon emissions produced by human activity are the main cause for the warming, The Times reported.
Scientists have long argued that carbon emissions or greenhouse gases trap heat, which is then radiated back to the earth’s surface. The extra heat leads to the melting of the Arctic ice cap, which raises sea levels. It also causes weather extremes in the form of intensified severe events, such as hurricanes and flooding, that can be highly destructive and expensive. The extra heat also impacts wildlife and the world’s overall eco-systems. It creates new health issues for humans.
The final report, created with the input of more than 800 scientists throughout the world, will be released after an IPCC session in late September, and it’s sure to garner the ire of Inhofe and The Oklahoman. They dismiss climate-change science as alarmist and detrimental to the oil and gas industry. The IPCC won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, along with former Vice President Al Gore, but its critics, such as Inhofe, are relentlessly dismissive of its findings.
Inhofe, who has written a book titled The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future, just recently criticized President Barack Obama’s so-called “climate change agenda.” In a somewhat rambling media release, Inhofe said:
I also find it quite interesting that to end this week of coincidental events on climate change alarmism, certain liberal media is showing a climate change special with reportedly no interviews from those challenging the theory. There seems to be a coincidental coordination between the White House, the President’s campaign, and the liberal media that is weaving a false and potentially harmful narrative of alarmism. This agenda will leave our nation less secure, less prosperous and less informed.
In other words, Inhofe, who is running for re-election in 2014, has no intention of backing down anytime soon in the face of growing global-warming evidence. He has been supported consistently in his denial efforts by the editorial page of The Oklahoman, which shares with Inhofe the use of the words “alarmists” or “alarmism” when it comes to climate-change science
The anti-environmental efforts of Inhofe and The Oklahoman are only a blip in the waning decades of The Oil Age. Inhofe’s large campaign contributions from the oil and gas and utility industries show the main reason behind his political motivation. The Oklahoman is now owned by a Colorado billionaire oilman. But how much damage and destruction will humanity have to endure before it wakes up?