Earlier this year, Oklahoma Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe promised to lead a “truth squad” to the Copenhagen climate summit to dispel what he believes to be the climate change “hoax.”
The senator’s aides quickly set up an impromptu press conference at the top of a staircase in the Bella Center, where the Republican declared that climate change is a fraud perpetuated by the “Hollywood elite” — a claim so outlandish to the international journalists in attendance that one German reporter editorialized directly to Inhofe’s face and said, “You’re ridiculous.”
A reporter asked: “If there’s a hoax, then who’s putting on this hoax, and what’s the motive?”
“It started in the United Nations,” Inhofe said, “and the ones in the United States who really grab ahold of this is the Hollywood elite.”
One reporter asked Inhofe if he was referring to California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Another reporter — this one from Der Spiegel — told the senator: “You’re ridiculous.”
Inhofe ignored the jab, fielded a few more questions, then raced to the airport for the nine-hour flight back to Washington.
Inhofe’s appearance in Copenhagen appeared designed to undermine the credibility of US negotiators at the summit. The Oklahoma Republican declared that “my stated reason for attending Copenhagen was to make certain the 191 countries attending COP-15 would not be deceived into thinking the US would pass cap-and-trade legislation.”
“Mind you, Inhofe is crowing about this situation, not bemoaning it,” blogs Blake Hounshell at Foreign Policy. Hounshell adds that he believes Inhofe may be wrong that cap-and-trade legislation has no chance of passing the Senate.
“I think there will be a bill at some point next year,” he writes. “That said, it just might get so watered down in the process of getting to 60 votes that it becomes a meaningless exercise.”