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April 22, 2009
Earth Day Surprise: Inhofe Joins Boxer and Kerry on Global Warming Bill?
Today, outspoken climate skeptic Sen. James Inhofe co-introduced legislation to direct the EPA to research how reducing the emission of “a dangerous pollutant” might “improve public health and reduce global warming.” What’s more -- the Oklahoma Republican’s partners in the bill include two of the Senate’s most alarming carbo-chondriacs -- Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and John Kerry (D-MA).
No, it’s not a belated April Fools’ Day -- although you're close. It’s Earth Day, and the pollutant isn’t CO2 or even a gas for that matter -- although it is a form of carbon. It’s black carbon, an aerosol produced predominantly by the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels and biomass. And it’s been on the Warmists’ radar ever since a paper released in March of last year reported that soot and other forms of black carbon cause more global warming than any greenhouse gas besides CO2. Worse still, it supposedly has a particularly detrimental impact on the polar caps as after the dark particulates absorb sunlight and emit it as heat, they fall back to Earth and coat the reflective snow and ice, leading to further warming.
Granted, soot remains airborne for only a few weeks and certainly represents a genuine human health threat, so mitigating it sounds like a workable and righteous plan. But given the loony climate beliefs of all but one of its co-sponsors, it’s difficult to categorize the proposed law as anything other than a climate change Bill.
And Inhofe stood alone in not implying it was during this morning’s announcement, suggesting merely that we “continue to research the effects of black carbon.” Tom Carper (D-DE) – on the other hand -- stated its reduction “will lessen the threat of global warming and improve global public health” and Boxer called it “the second largest cause of global warming.” Kerry whined “we can’t escape reality” and that “additional findings from the EPA on the effects of soot emissions are needed so we can craft the best policy response to combat the climate crisis.”
So why would a man who once called the threat of catastrophic global warming the "greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people" put his name on such legislation? And not for the first time, mind you. Last September he joined Kerry, Carper and Hillary Clinton (D-NY) in crafting S.3489 which was an essentially identical Bill that never got out of Boxer’s committee.
A head-fake to temporarily take the EPA off the scent of the scentless gas they’re senselessly moving to regulate as a pollutant? Perhaps.
Or maybe something more inspired.
The announcement described black carbon as “a dangerous pollutant emitted by old, dirty diesel engines like school buses,” as though to imply it a strictly American problem.
Of course, it’s not. According to the Nature Geoscience paper:
Perchance the failure to scrub a particulate “pollutant” of short airborne duration in the absence of similar steps by China and India will emphasize the futility of such attempts with gases of a much much longer hang-time? After all, neither country is about to abandon its primary household energy source.
If such is indeed Inhofe’s plan, then it sounds like a good one. On the other hand, as its lesson requires critical thinking on the part of eco-maniacs, it might prove to be a naïve one.
Either way, he’s the last man in the Senate willing to stand up and dispute the junk science of global warming, rather than just its junk economics.
As such, I sure hope he has something up his sleeve.