Senator Sees Momentum Shifting Toward Global Warming Skepticism

By Kevin Mooney | July 7, 2008 | 8:23pm EDT

( - Politicians who build campaigns around "alarmist" global warming claims are themselves becoming quite alarmed because of growing skepticism, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) said.

Momentum is shifting away from scientific theories bolstering "anthropocentric" (human-centered) models of global warming and toward skeptics who do not see a link between human activity and rising temperatures, Inhofe told the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).

"Politicians who are using this to run for office are panicking because the scientists have totally reversed themselves on this issue," he asserted.

Inhofe provided a handout giving examples of what he called "scientific reversals." He characterized global warming as the "most misunderstood subject" and encouraged listeners to carefully evaluate what they hear.

At issue is not global warming per se, Inhofe explained, but the notion that man-made gases are driving climate change. A "truth squad" is vitally important, he added, because environmental extremists are working to "shut down the machine we call America."

"Science is always changing and the climate is always changing," Inhofe argued. He urged the audience to take a hard look at the economic effect that the 1997 Kyoto Protocol and other "schemes" aimed at reducing CO2 emissions would have on the American economy.

The largest tax increases in recent history, as damaging as they were, would pale in comparison to the economic impact that would be caused by Kyoto-mandated industry restrictions, he said.

A study by Wharton Econometrics Forecasting Associates says complying with the Kyoto Protocol would cost the U.S. economy $300 billion annually -- ten times more than the Clinton tax increase of 1993.

Some of the most recent "scientific reversals" Inhofe discussed in his talk involve the Kyoto Treaty. Sixty scientists wrotea letter to the Canadian prime minister in 2006 and said "Kyoto would almost certainly not exist" had they been aware of information in the 1990s that has come to light in recent years, the senator said.

Claude Allegre, a top French geophysicist, became a skeptic in 2006 after initially embracing "alarmist" views on climate change. According to information provided by Inhofe's office, Allegre now accuses the advocates of human-induced global warming of "being motivated by money" rather than sound science.

Inhofe also pointed to recent scientific studies which he said indicated that the sun may itself be largely responsible for the planet's warming period. Climate scientist Henrik Svensmark released a report showing that the Earth is experiencing a natural period of low-cloud cover as consequence of fewer cosmic rays entering the atmosphere.

The subject of polar bears also figured into the senator's talk.

Contrary to what has been widely reported, he said, the polar bear population is on increase, and has risen to 25,000 in comparison with 10,000 50 years ago.

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