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?
The latest lawsuit against the federal government filed by Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt shows the state remains the epicenter of anti-environmentalism ideology.
If there’s any place in the world where it’s socially acceptable and even personally beneficial to place neoliberalism, or free market radicalism, above both nature and basic human welfare, it’s Oklahoma, the home of global warming denier, U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe.
Pruitt, pictured right, who has also filed suit against the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, filed a suit this week in federal court in Oklahoma that essentially claims the federal government is favoring environmental groups when it comes to new regulations under a system that has been derogatorily described as “sue and settle.”
Eleven other states have joined Pruitt in this latest protest again the federal government, but his press release on the issue failed to show how Oklahoma has been specifically hurt by the alleged “sue and settle” system.
Here’s what he did say:
The EPA is picking winners and losers, exhibiting favoritism, at the expense of due process and transparency. They are manipulating our legal system to achieve what they cannot through our representative democracy. The outcomes of their actions affect every one of us by sticking states with the bill and unnecessarily raising utility rates by as much as 20 percent.
Note that there’s no specific information about Oklahoma. Note, too, that the 20 percent figure is not attributed. My point is that Pruitt, again, is wasting state resources on an issue that will not be determined by Oklahoma and should not be determined by Oklahoma.
The other 11 states that have joined the lawsuit include Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Kansas, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Wyoming, hardly a diverse or eclectic group showing broad support. All these states have Republican attorneys general. In essence, it’s a Republican rearguard action against the federal government, which is led, of course, by a Democratic president.
The specific complaint is that government agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency, often settle with environmental groups, who file suit against the federal government when it fails to institute a new rule on time or doesn’t implement it appropriately. In other words, environmental groups, such as the Sierra Club, are simply trying to make the federal government do what it has promised to do.
So are these “do what you promised to do” lawsuits or “sue and settle” lawsuits? The language here is important along with the idea that the federal government should live up to its own requirements or standards.
While there’s a lot of heated rhetoric on the side of the Republican attorneys general, the actual cases of “do what you promised to do” lawsuits are difficult to come by. A recent article on the site of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce refers to a case involving the Navajo Generating Station. That station serves electric customers in Arizona, California and Nevada. Some type of consent agreement that apparently resulted from a lawsuit will supposedly raise electric rates by 20 percent to those customers, but that number comes from Ben Quayle, a former U.S. Representative from Arizona, who had sponsored legislation related to the issue. How reliable is that number? Why didn’t California or Nevada join the lawsuit?
Pruitt’s press release makes the point that the federal circumvents “state involvement” when it comes to new environmental regulations, but don’t the states elect Representatives and Senators to protect their interests?
According to Pruitt’s press release, “The agreements between the EPA and environmental groups have led to new rules and regulations for states without allowing attorneys general to enter the process to defend the interest of states, businesses and consumers.” But that concept could apply to any new federal regulation, which in some manner will affect states. Pruitt’s argument is generic and drips with “states’ rights” dogma. How can you ensure clean water or air with individual states in control of the process? What if the polluted air or contaminated water from one state causes illness in other states? Is that just a state right?
In the end, all we have here are environmental groups holding the government accountable to its own commitments and another dubious Republican-manufactured controversy.
Oklahoma is home to a lot of anti-President Barack Obama hysteria, and it remains known as a place where religious extremism wages war against scientific reality on a consistent basis. Even given that, this lawsuit is a waste of Oklahoma taxpayers’ money. Useless, visceral political thrills don’t come cheap when lawsuits are involved.
If you want a quick glimpse into why our political system is broken in this country, just consider Google’s recent decision to host a campaign fundraiser for the infamous climate-change denier U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe.
On Thursday, Google Washington hosted a $250 to $2,500 luncheon for the ultra-conservative Republican who believes global warming is a liberal hoax. Google, one of the main cutting edge technology companies of its era, is known as a company that supports environmental issues and renewable energy sources.
So what gives?
According to a Google spokesman it just came down to basic lobbying and politics. "We regularly host fundraisers for candidates, on both sides of the aisle, but that doesn't mean we endorse all of their positions. And while we disagree on climate change policy, we share an interest with Senator Inhofe in the employees and data center we have in Oklahoma,” the spokesman said.
Let’s follow the logic. A company that supports so-called “green” issues helps a politician who has done more than anyone in the world to cast doubt on the basic science of climate change because it wants to protect its monetary investments in a particular state. It’s not about principles or what’s right. It’s about money, and we’re all supposed to casually accept this as a reality that can’t be changed. It’s just politics. Get over it.
Environmentalists protested the luncheon, but what can anyone really do? Stop using the Google search engine or Gmail?
Meanwhile, on the same day Google feted the world’s most well-known global warming denier, the U.S. Department of Energy issued a report warning of continued disruption of energy supplies because of climate change. The report, titled “U.S. Energy Sector Vulnerabilities to Climate Change and Extreme Weather,” shows how rising temperatures and sea levels, along with an increase in severe weather events, will affect our access to energy and water supplies in the future.
Will Inhofe dismiss the report as just part of the huge “hoax” of climate change? Probably. Is this really someone Google wants to help reelect?