Column: It’s time we call science deniers what they are

Robert Downen, Opinions Editor

Yesterday, the New York Times released a report in which they detailed the state of global carbon emissions that said this:

“…it now may be impossible to prevent the temperature of the planet’s atmosphere from rising by 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. According to a large body of scientific research, that is the tipping point at which the world will be locked into a near-term future of drought, food and water shortages, melting ice sheets, shrinking glaciers, rising sea levels and widespread flooding—events that could harm the world’s population and economy.”

The report, which came ahead of a weeks-long summit  in Lima, Peru to curtail global warming, continued:

“Even with a deal to stop the current rate of greenhouse emissions, scientists warn, the world will become increasingly unpleasant. Without a deal, they say, the world could eventually become inhabitable for humans.”

There it is, in black and white, everyone: global warming is very, very real. And it’s almost beyond repair.

But have faith, America (and, really, the other 6 billion people on Earth)—because Rep. Jim Inhofe has got our backs. Inhofe is slated to take control of the Senate’s subcommittee on Environmental and Public Works Committee in January, and has already announced his intentions to strip bare any regulations on carbon emissions.

In 2012, Inhofe penned a book called “The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future.” In it, he accused the United Nations of fabricating global warming to “shut down the machine called America.”

The same year, Inhofe doubled-down on his lunacy, citing a passage from Genesis as proof that global warming simply can’t exist:

“Well actually the Genesis 8:22 that I use in there is that ‘as long as the earth remains there will be seen time and harvest, cold and heat, winder and summer, day and night.’ My point is, God’s still up there. The arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing to the climate is to me outrageous.

The 80-year-old Oklahoma Republican, who prides himself as a “one-man truth squad” on climate change, has compared the Environmental Protection Agency to the German Gestapo.

He previously touted the benefits of global warming for comfortable living, and has continually vilified “Hollywood elitists” and the Weather Channel for manufacturing climate change (which—and this should go without saying—has been proven time and time again, by an overwhelming scientific consensus, to be real).

Oh, and he also received a half-million dollars in campaign contributions from the fossil fuels industry. But that’s neither here nor there.

But this begs an important question: at what point can we discard all the buzzwords of American discourse and call cretins like Inhofe what they are? Which is delusional, stupid, detached, corrupt, moronic, cancerous, etc.

As the gap in partisan affiliation in America widens, I’ve largely refrained from dealing in platitudes or finger pointing, but if ever there was a time, it’s now.

For years now, the Republican Party has been at the forefront of bastardizing climate science, bending it at their will to line the pocketbooks of the same oil profiteers who, coincidentally, finance GOP campaigns. It’s a beautiful reciprocity, provided you don’t care for clean air, mass extinction or, well, life after 2100.

It’s what happens when a large portion of the electorate is either too complacent or wholly misinformed to realize what they’re voting for.

Sadly, though, the Times’ report will likely fall on deaf ears. The writing has long-since been on the wall, we’re all just too stupid to read it.

Sadly, come this January, Inhofe and his cohorts will take control of the environment of the world’s largest emitter of carbon emissions.

And when they do, let’s all pray that stubborn faith Inhofe has in God pays off. Because it’ll take divine intervention to keep us from the Hell that we’ve created. 

Robert Downen is a senior political science and journalism major. He can be reached at 581-7912 or [email protected]