For more than 10 years, Sen. Jim Inhofe has figuratively written the book on skepticism about human-induced global warming. Now, he's actually finished a book, to be called “Hoax,” a reference to his famous — or infamous, depending on the viewpoint — description of global warming.
“You'll be the first to receive an autographed copy,” Inhofe, R-Tulsa, told California Rep. Henry Waxman on Wednesday at a House subcommittee hearing about whether the Environmental Protection Agency should be able to regulate greenhouse gases.
Inhofe — who doesn't have a publisher or a target release date for his book — was the leading witness at the Energy and Power subcommittee hearing, which, at least for the first couple of hours, was little more than a forum for Republicans and Democrats to air well-established positions on the EPA's role and the larger issue of global warming.
Inhofe told Waxman that he still believes human-induced global warming is a hoax. And he told the subcommittee that, even if it weren't, regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions would have almost no effect on global temperatures but cost the U.S. economy between $300 billion and $400 billion a year.
Waxman, a Democrat, cited numerous scientific panels and government agencies that had concluded climate change posed a hazard to human health and said it was “quite amazing” that Inhofe wouldn't want to do anything about it.
“Saying there's no problem, it's all a hoax, is not a responsible answer,'' Waxman said.
Waxman authored legislation to limit greenhouse gas emissions, which was approved by the House when it was under Democratic control. However, the Senate never considered climate change legislation in the last Congress.
The concern of Republicans, who now control the House, is that the EPA is setting out to curb carbon emissions through a series of regulations, both for vehicles and stationary sources, such as power plants.
The U.S. Supreme Court effectively gave the EPA the authority to regulate carbon under the Clean Air Act, and the EPA took a major step toward that regulation with a finding that carbon, like the pollutants already regulated, poses a danger to human health.
Inhofe and two House Republicans, including the chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, have drafted legislation that would effectively bar the EPA from issuing regulations to reduce carbon emissions.
Michigan Rep. Fred Upton, the Energy and Commerce Committee chairman, said regulations would raise energy prices and kill jobs.
But Democrats on the panel and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson countered that the U.S. economy boomed in the 1990s after more stringent Clean Air Act amendments were approved.
The history of the Clean Air Act shows, Jackson said, that “our economy can grow and thrive while we reduce pollution and increase energy efficiency.”
Republicans invited representatives from several industries to testify about the harm EPA regulations would do. Jackson said agriculture wouldn't be affected, but a witness for the American Farm Bureau Federation countered in written testimony that farmers and ranchers would be affected by anyway by increased energy costs.
Rep. John Sullivan, R-Tulsa, a member of the subcommittee, said in his statement that compliance costs would “trickle down to the farming and ranching community, resulting in higher costs of production and food costs for American families, exactly what we don't need in a struggling economy.”