Amid Heat Wave, Senator Talks 'Global Cooling'

Sen. Inhofe used snowstorms as evidence of warming 'hoax.'

July 23, 2010, 1:37 PM

July 23, 2010 -- Back in February, when Washington D.C. was buried under record-breaking snowfall and the capital was paralyzed, the nation's chief climate change doubter made much of a small igloo down the street from the Capitol building as he took to the Senate floor to refute climate change.

Sen. Jim Inhofe has for years repeated his charge that climate change is "the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people."

He pointed to the apocalyptic-seeming snow storm in February as evidence of the deception.

"If, in fact, global warming is taking place, its kind of hard on a day like today and the last few days to be talking about global warming," Inhofe declared on the Senate floor, on that snowy February day. "I often say, where is it when you need it?"

Inhofe's grandchildren built the igloo down the street from the Capitol and the family attached a sign, which jokingly called it Al Gore's new home. On his website is his "Minority Report" on why he says climate change is a hoax.

The igloo, however, melted long ago. And the seasons changed. And now Washington is sweating under record heat. Earlier this month, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that, globally, 2010 is the hottest year on record since record-keeping began in 1880.

Inhofe was still not deterred when ABC's Jon Karl invited the Oklahoma Republican to talk about the issue outside the Capitol building, in 95-degree, humid July heat.

"I say the same thing we said back in January and February when we had the coldest winter in a long time," said Inhofe, from a shady spot in front of the Capitol Building. He is of the opinion that the world is headed into a period of global cooling.

Read more about that at Inhofe's "Minority Report.".

"People on the other side of this argument back in January, they said, 'Inhofe, it has nothing to do with today's or this month or next month. We're looking at a long period of time. We go into twenty year periods.'"

"We're in a cycle now that all the scientists agree is going into a cooling period," he said.

Thomas Peterson, chief scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Climatic Data Center, says that while some people may believe that the planet is not getting warmer, data measuring a broad spectrum of indicators proves "far and away" that the planet is not in a cooling period, but is actually still in the process of heating up. Peterson pointed to data showing each of the past five decades reaching hotter temperatures than the preceding decade.

"What I don't understand is when you see evidence, that looks at all those indicators in one place, on one figure, decrease in glaciers, I don't see how any reasonable person can look at that and not agree that the globe is warming," Peterson said. "The indicators are irrefutable."

Inhofe may not have many supporters for his cooling theory on Capitol Hill. But it is not likely he will have to vote on any legislation to deal with global warming any time soon. Democrats in the Senate this week abandoned plans to pursue a bill that would have put a price on carbon emissions, which most scientists who believe in climate change, say contributes to changes in the weather.

"Some people believe the science is there and that global warming is going to come from anthropogenic gases and CO2. I don't believe that," Inhofe said. "But even if they're right and I'm wrong, the Obama Administration themselves and Lisa Jackson, the administrator of the EPA, says if we pass any of these bills, it is not going to reduce the emissions. That's just not going to happen."

For the majority report, consult NASA's page of climate change evidence.

ABC's Cullen Dirner, John Parkinson, Matthew Jaffe, Alexander Pepper and Robin Gradison contributed to this report.

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