No one enjoys debating global warming more than U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe. Yet the sledding ahead looks to be decidedly tougher for the Tulsa Republican, given the environmental team President-elect Barack Obama is assembling and Democrats' strengthened majorities in Congress.
Inhofe has led the charge against Al Gore, the United Nations' climate panel, celebrity activists and others who argue human activity is the chief cause of warming. Last week he publicized a report that some 650 scientists disagree with the idea that people are causing global warming.
But the balance of power in Washington will change in January. Obama will be sworn in, and with him will come experienced proponents of global warming countermeasures.
The New York Times reports Carol Browner, a Gore disciple and Bill Clinton's Environmental Protection Agency administrator, will lead climate and energy policy at the White House.
Lisa Jackson, formerly New Jersey's top environmental official, will be nominated to lead the EPA, the Times reports, while physicist Steven Chu a leading proponent of biofuels and solar energy, will be Obama's pick to run the Energy Department.
That team will be bolstered by familiar Inhofe adversaries in Congress: Sen. Barbara Boxer, chairwoman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman - all backed by larger Democratic majorities. With at least 58 Democratic senators, will Obama try to ratify the job-killing Kyoto global warming treaty?
He might, which makes it good to know Jim Inhofe will be waiting and ready.