Planetark.org, Nov. 17, 2006
WASHINGTON - The US Senate's most vocal global warming skeptic, James Inhofe, on Thursday dismissed a UN meeting on climate change as a "brainwashing" session.
Inhofe, an Oklahoma Republican who will step down as chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee in January, told a news conference, "The idea that the science (on global warming) is settled is altogether wrong."
A majority of scientists, many in the US government, accept that global warming is spurred by human actions and the emission of greenhouse gases. President George W. Bush said as much in July at a summit of industrialized nations.
Inhofe said he acknowledged that the planet is warming but disputed those who attribute it to human activity and the emission of greenhouse gases. Instead, he blamed climate change on natural cycles.
That puts him at odds with some in his own party, including Arizona Sen. John McCain, who on Thursday took the first step toward a White House run in 2008.
McCain said he and Sen. Joe Lieberman, a Connecticut Democrat, plan to re-introduce a bill on climate change on the first day of the new Congress.
"I think we've reached a tipping point in this debate, long overdue," McCain said at a forum on energy and the environment. "I think there's great urgency ... and the scientific evidence continues to accumulate."
'STATE OF DENIAL'
McCain said the US refusal to take action to mitigate global warming makes the United States unpopular with Europeans. he said some in the Bush administration "still believe incredibly that it's a myth ... who simply are in a state of denial."
In accusing the UN of environmental brainwashing at the Nairobi conference, Inhofe held up a of "Tore and the Town on Thin Ice," a children's book he said was distributed at the gathering.
He said the book, the tale of a fictional young Arctic villager who becomes aware of global warming when his dogsled crashes through thinning ice, relies on disputed science.
"This is paid for by the United Nations and it's brainwashing little kids," Inhofe said.
Inhofe did not attend the Nairobi meeting but said some of his staff did.
"What we learned in Nairobi is ... that the real focus has little to do with the fate of the planet and more to do with money -- who has it and who wants it," he said.
Inhofe will be the ranking Republican on the environment committee when the newly elected Democratic majority takes power in January. Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat with long-standing environmental credentials, will chair the committee.
Boxer and two other Democrats wrote a letter to Bush on Wednesday urging him to fight global warming by putting mandatory limits on greenhouse gas emissions.