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March 15, 2017

Inhofe Speaks on Senate Floor on Undoing Obama's Climate Legacy

WASHINGTON—U.S. Sen Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), senior member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) committee, today spoke on the Senate floor on the actions President Trump and the Republican-led Congress are taking to undo President Obama’s climate legacy.

Floor speech 3.14

Click here to watch the video

Remarks as prepared for delivery:

Mr. President, in the coming days, President Trump is going to sign an executive order rolling back the President’s Clean Power Plan. I will have more to say on that, but I think this is an appropriate time to discuss the history of this issue. It’s been going on a long time.                                    

At the start of the 114th Congress the Senate voted 98 to 1 in support of the Inhofe-Whitehouse amendment stating that “climate change is real and not a hoax.” The climate has been changing since the beginning of time and it will continue to do so.

 The hoax is that some in the far left believe man controls changes in the climate and we’ve endured eight years of an administration that buys into the alarmists’ mentality that the world is coming to an end due to man-made gases. That’s the hoax.

 The Obama administration has used climate change as a justification for taking unauthorized actions, such as the so-called Clean Power Plan, or as a scapegoat for failed policies, especially in the international realm.

 Every administrative entity under Obama was forced to embrace his climate change agenda as a top priority and used as a convenient sounding board. We’ve seen agencies such as the Department of Defense divert resources away from core responsibilities and instead spent on finding ways to justify statements from the president that “climate change is a greater threat than terrorism.” Other agencies have spared no taxpayer expense supporting outcome-driven “science” in an attempt to bolster their claims. In fact, the Congressional Research Service has reported that the Obama administration spent $120 billion on climate change issues. This was a total waste of money. Money we need to defend America.

 Despite the administration’s efforts, as research and data around climate change continues to improve, the results do not support their claims, but instead call them into question. This is especially true for all of the “Hottest Month, Season and Year” claims from NASA and NOAA.

 2014 was previously ‘the warmest year on record’ until a reporter pressed NOAA and NASA on the claim and the agencies were forced to admit that they were only 38 percent sure the claim was even accurate. A December 2015 study from the American Geophysical Union concluded that after analyzing over 1,200 ground-based weather stations said this: Warmest ever claims by government scientists are inflated due to compromised U.S. temperature stations impacted by “encroachment of artificial surfaces like concrete, asphalt, and heat sources like air conditioner exhausts.”  Because NOAA’s methods fail to account for these artificial impacts, their results make it look like the US is warming.

 Additionally, surface thermometers continue to be at odds with Satellite data, which shows essentially no warming for the past 18 years—continuing the hiatus that the Economist originally wrote about in 2013.

 In fact, just a few weeks ago, a whistleblower alleged that a June 2015 NOAA report manipulated data in an attempt to discredit this 18 year pause to influence the public debate surrounding the Clean Power Plan and the Paris climate conference.  Conveniently, the computer with the data “suffered a complete failure” and none of the data was saved, so this report that is now under scrutiny can’t be replicated or verified.

 It’s not just the inflated temperature claims that can be called into question:

 A growing body of scientific study suggest variations in solar radiation and natural climate variability have a leading role in climate change. A number of independent studies assessing the impact of clouds have even suggested that “water vapor feedback” is entirely cancelled out by cloud processes.

 Global data shows no increase in the number or intensity of hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts or floods. The IPCC’s 2013 Fifth Assessment Report, concluded that “current data sets indicate no significant observed trends in global tropical cyclone frequency over the past century. . . . No robust trends in annual numbers of tropical storms, hurricanes and major hurricane counts have been identified over the past 100 years in the North Atlantic basin.”

 When it comes to droughts, the Fifth Assessment report indicated that previous “conclusions regarding global increasing trend in drought since the 1970s were probably overstated.”

 Increasing observations, from scientists such as Dr. Craig Idso, suggest a much reduced and practically harmless climate response to increased amounts of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Further, there are benefits from increased carbon that has led to a “greening” of the planet and contributed to increased agricultural productivity.

 But these points were kept out of the Obama administration’s press releases and the media has been more than willing to go along. None of this is surprising as I’ve given a lot of speeches on climate change and my message tends to be one that the skeptics, the far left, do not want to hear and do not want to believe, but they have been proven wrong time and again.

 Despite millions of dollars from the Tom Steyer’s of the world, Americans do not care about climate change and they do not support associated policies that place a price, tax, fee or cap on carbon domestically or internationally.

 Polls have completely changed in the last 15 years:

 A FOX News Poll revealed that 97 percent of Americans don’t care about global warming when stacked against terrorism, immigration, healthcare, and the economy.

 An ABC News/Washington Post Poll from last November found that the number of Americans who believe climate change is a serious problem is declining.

 According to Gallup from March of 2015, global warming came in dead last of Americans’ concerns for national problems.

 And then another Gallup poll also from March of 2015 had global warming coming in dead last of environmental issues Americans are concerned about.

 At the EPW Committee last congress, we held 10 hearings assessing the president’s climate agenda where we heard from a diverse group of expert witnesses that testified to the enormous costs, especially for low-income and minority communities, the economic consequences, legal vulnerabilities and miniscule environmental impacts. One of the most telling witnesses was  the President of the Black Chamber of Commerce.

 Taking committee actions a step further, Republicans and Democrats in both houses of Congress rejected Obama and the radical left’s key climate regulations. Then in February of last year, the U.S. Supreme Court put a stay on the so-called Clean Power Plan, because they too have significant legal questions surrounding the validity of his climate actions. Needless to say, there was a well-documented, substantive rejection to Obama’s climate actions across the institutions designed to keep the executive branch in check.

 I have not attended one of the United Nation’s climate conferences since 2009 when I was a “one man truth squad” in Copenhagen, but the message I carried to the international bureaucrats then is exactly what happened.  Congress did not then, and does not now, support radical climate change actions and the United States role in any associated international agreement will be limited accordingly.

 The outlook for environmental activists and climate change alarmists is grim. With significant losses in the White House, Congress, the Supreme Court and a persistently skeptical public, their political leverage and relevance has dwindled.

For the past eight years of the Obama administration, the American economy suffered under the effects of his climate agenda. That era is over, and President Trump is already delivering on his campaign promises.

Just a few weeks ago I was at the White House when President Trump signed an executive order instructing the EPA to roll back the Waters of the United States rule. This is the rule that would have allowed the EPA to regulate just about all land and water uses. Repealing it will provide crucial relief for farmers, ranchers, and developers of all stripes.

As I previously mentioned, President Trump is also committed to rolling back the Clean Power Plan and its $300 billion price tag. This rule would lead to a dramatic increase in energy prices and reduce the reliability of the grid. These two rules are examples of major expansions of federal power and a departure from the core functions and responsibilities provided by Congress to the EPA.

The steps being taken by the Trump administration will return the roles of these agencies to their statutory intent. We’ve seen great successes in our air and water quality based on the EPA operating within its statutory limits. In fact, since the 1990 Clean Air Amendments, air pollutants have dropped significantly, while vehicle miles driven have doubled.

It will take time to rebuild the trust between states, industries, and the federal government and I look forward to working with President Trump, administration officials and EPW Chairman Barrasso to restore credibility and balance in the context of environmental policies that will strengthen public health and result in tangible environmental protections alongside robust economic growth. 

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