Thursday, November 19, 2009

2009 "The Year of the Skeptic"

U.S. Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, yesterday delivered a Senate Floor speech in which he declared 2009 the "Year of the Skeptic," noting that the "tide has turned" against global warming alarmism.

Senator Inhofe's Floor remarks follow President Obama's announcement earlier this week that no climate agreement will be reached at the United Nations Global Warming Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark in December.

Here are excerpts from his speech:

Next month, thousands of UN delegates from over 190 nations, members of the press, and eco-activists from around the world will descend upon Copenhagen, Denmark as part of the United Nations Conference on Global Warming. Yet, even before it begins, the UN conference is being called a "disaster." Just this morning, the Telegraph, a UK newspaper, noted, ‘The worst kept secret in the world is finally out-the climate change summit in Copenhagen is going to be little more than a photo opportunity for world leaders.'

Not too long ago, however, the Copenhagen meeting was hailed as the time when an international agreement with binding limits on carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases would finally be agreed to. Eco-activists believed a Democratic President and a Democratic Congress would push through mandatory cap-and-trade legislation and that the United States would finally be ready to succumb to the demands of the United Nations. The reality, of course, is that Copenhagen will be a disaster. The failure comes at a high cost. Despite the millions of dollars spent by Al Gore, the Hollywood Elites, and the United Nations, climate alarmism has failed.

"Mr. President, through my position as the Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee since 2003, I have been the lead Senator standing up and exposing the science, the costs, and the hysteria behind global warming alarmism. And I will be travelling to Copenhagen, leading what I call the "Truth Squad," to say exactly what I said six years ago in Milan, Italy: The United States will not support a global warming treaty that will significantly damage the American economy, cost American jobs, and impose the largest tax increase in American history. Further, as I stated in 2003, unless developing nations are part of the binding agreement, the US will not go along. Given the unemployment rate of 10 percent, and given all of the out of control spending in Washington, the last thing we need is another thousand-page bill that increases costs and ships jobs overseas, all with no impact on climate change. I also said in Milan that the science is not settled. That was an unpopular view back then. But now, since Al Gore's science fiction movie, more and more scientists, reporters, and politicians are questioning global warming alarmism. I proudly declare 2009 as the "Year of the Skeptic"-the year in which scientists who question the so-called global warming consensus are being heard. Rather than continue down a road that will harm the US economy, the international community should forge a new path forward that builds on international trade, new and innovative technology, jobs, development, and economic growth.

Mr. President, over the last several years, we've seen a growing number of Democrats-yes, Democrats-agreeing with my position. Today, with a Democratic Congress and a Democratic President, some may be surprised by the number of Democrats who want nothing to do with cap-and-trade...Perhaps the biggest blow to any Senate climate bill came last week from 14 Senate Democrats, primarily from the Midwest, who, in a letter, challenged the allocation formula of Kerry-Boxer and Waxman-Markey. The letter was signed by Senators Al Franken, Amy Klobuchar, Mark Udall, Michael Bennet, Robert Byrd, Carl Levin, Debbie Stabenow, and Sherrod Brown...By now the message should be clear: it's not just Republicans, but Democrats, who are blocking passage of cap-and-trade in the United States Senate. The sooner we are honest with the international community of the impossibility of the Senate moving forward with cap-and-trade, the sooner we can begin work on an all-of-the-above energy bill to develop domestic energy resources, create jobs, and provide consumers with affordable, reliable energy.

Of course, from the most memorable tidbit from my two-hour global warming speech in July of 2003 were my comments about the science behind global warming. Now, six years later, and as I head to the next UN global warming conference, I am pleased by the vast and growing number of scientists, politicians, and reporters all over the world who are publicly rejecting climate alarmism. When I made those comments on the Senate Floor, few people were there to stand with me. Today, I have been vindicated, and I am proud to share the stage with all those who now dare to question Al Gore, Hollywood elites, and the United Nations...What do I credit for the reversal? You might be surprised my answer: it's none other than the winner of a Nobel Peace Prize and an Oscar. It's Al Gore.

Yet, it will be 2009 that will be best remembered as the "Year of the Skeptic." Until this year, any scientist, reporter, or politician who dared raise even the slightest suspicion about the science behind global warming was dismissed and repeatedly mocked...Aside from the distasteful and derogatory ridicule by such alarmists, a major statement by a man-made global warming believer severely undercut their claims. Just this year, one UN IPCC climate scientist told more than 1,500 climate scientists gathered at the UN's World Climate Conference in Geneva, Switzerland: "People will say this is global warming disappearing. I am not one of the sceptics. However, we have to ask the nasty questions ourselves or other people will do it."And remember, this quote comes from Mojib Latif, who Andrew Revkin of the New York Times describes as 'a prize-winning climate and ocean scientist from the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences at the University of Kiel, in Germany.' This remarkable admission of the need to "ask nasty questions," comes nearly two years after I first pointed out these very facts on the Senate Floor. In my October 26, 2007 Senate Floor speech, I noted: "It is important to point out that the phase of global warming that started in 1979 has itself been halted since 1998. You can almost hear my critics skeptical of that assertion. Well, it turns out not to be an assertion, but an irrefutable fact, according to the temperature data that the UN relies on. Paleoclimate scientist Dr. Bob Carter, who has testified before the US Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works, noted on June 18 of this year: ‘The accepted global average temperature statistics used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) show that no ground-based warming has occurred since 1998. Oddly, this eight-year-long temperature stability has occurred despite an increase over the same period of 15 parts per million (or 4 per cent) in atmospheric CO2. Second, lower atmosphere satellite-based temperature measurements, if corrected for non-greenhouse influences such as El Nino events and large volcanic eruptions, show little if any global warming since 1979, a period over which atmospheric CO2 has increased by 55 parts per million (17 %)." The very people that had long called the science settled, and those that went so far as to say the science behind global warming was "unequivocal," are now admitting that "nasty questions" must be raised.

Mr. President, let me conclude by saying just how encouraged I am to say that the tide has turned. The skeptics' challenge has been heard, and I am glad to see that more and more journalists are no longer reporting the hyped fears that many want the American public to believe. Media outlets around the world are more skeptical today of man-made climate fears, and they are also more aware of the enormous costs of climate legislation. And more importantly, polls are showing that the people are no longer buying the hype either. The bottom line is that efforts to pass the largest tax increase in American history have clearly failed, handing the American people a tremendous victory.

The entire hour long Senate Floor speech is here.

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