(Correction: Fixes year Kyoto protocol was implemented in 13th paragraph.)
(CNSNews.com) - Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), ranking member on the Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW), told approximately 400 conservative students Thursday morning that despite attempts to silence global warming critics, the ground of the climate change debate is starting to shift their way, giving their views more exposure and effect.
In his speech at the 29th National Conservative Student Conference in Washington, D.C., sponsored by the Young America's Foundation, Inhofe accused liberals of trying to silence the dissenting voices.
He then named a host of scientists from around the world who are critical of global warming, including MIT's professor of meteorology Richard Lindzen who calls the fear of man-made global warming "silly."
Referring to the most recent global warming report released by the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, EPW Communications Director Marc Morano told Cybercast News Service, "There are 2,000 scientists affiliated with the U.N., and only 52 wrote the last summary for policymakers. Of those 2,000, they include prominent skeptics [of global warming] like Richard Lindzen and Pat Michaels."
Inhofe also referred to a letter 60 prominent scientists sent to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in 2006, in which they claimed the Kyoto Protocol of the 1990s was a regulatory measure written out of ignorance and which is now unnecessary based on modern scientific discoveries.
After his speech, Inhofe spoke with reporters about his criticism of the Environmental Protection Agency's membership in the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE), which reportedly has engaged in blackmail and threats to advance its agenda and silence global warming critics.
Specifically, Inhofe cited an e-mail sent by ACORE President Martin Eckhart to the prominent global warming critic Marlo Lewis, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C.
In the e-mail, Eckhart vowed to Lewis: "It is my intention to destroy your career as a liar. If you produce one more editorial against climate change, I will launch a campaign against your professional integrity. I will call you a liar and charlatan to the Harvard community of which you and I are members. I will call you out as a man who has been bought by Corporate America."
Inhofe said he has written four letters challenging the EPA, Department of Energy, Department of Agriculture, and Department of Commerce to withdraw their memberships from ACORE.
"With anyone who is threatening like that, something has to be done," said Inhofe. "If you don't have the truth, if you don't have logic, if you don't have science, you call names and you threaten."
EPA Director Stephen Johnson reportedly is looking into the matter, but Inhofe said he does not yet know the extent of Johnson's actions.
Inhofe admitted his stance on global warming is unpopular, even with some in his own party. And he himself used to tow the global warming line until a few years ago, he said, when he began researching the Kyoto Protocol and its potential economic effects.
The $300 billion tax needed to implement the treaty in 1997 would have been the largest tax increase in two decades, Inhofe said.
In his research, Inhofe discovered there were many scientists who criticized the entire premise on which the Kyoto Protocol was based.
"We're going through a warming period," Inhofe said, adding that the Earth's atmosphere is dynamic and has undergone many recorded changes in the past.
He said he has seen too many scientists disagree with the claims that man-induced CO2 emissions are primarily responsible for the phenomenon and that the results are going to be catastrophic.
Inhofe attributed what he calls the "myth" of global warming to an ulterior power-driven motive, described by former European Union Environment Minister Margo Wallstrom. She asserted that "Kyoto is about the economy, about leveling the playing field for big business worldwide," said Inhofe.
Daniel Lashof, science director of the Natural Resources Defense Council's Climate Center, told Cybercast News Service he suspects that quotation was taken out of context.
"That should be a goal of climate policy," Lashof said. "It needs to harness market forces to drive down pollution that causes global warming."
Lashof said he has no doubt there are many scientists who support some of Inhofe's argument about global warming.
But "there are no credible scientists who would support the overall conclusion that Sen. Inhofe is propounding," said Lashof. "He tends to suggest that [climate change] is not about the environment. I think that is a misinterpretation."
Lashof said he suspects Inhofe's harsh criticism of the apparent global warming problem is driven by an aversion to adopting the policies that would be necessary to solve the problem.
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