With Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) at the controls of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee over the next two years, climate change will enter into an even more annoying, frightening and bizarrely hilarious era.
For the uninitiated, here are some quotations from the most aggressive climate change denier in the Senate:
- “Climate change isn’t real because the Bible says it ain’t.”
- "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 in the climate is to me outrageous."
- He claimed that global warming might help humanity. “It's also important to question whether global warming is even a problem for human existence. Thus far no one has seriously demonstrated any scientific proof that increased global temperatures would lead to the catastrophes predicted by alarmists. In fact, it appears that just the opposite is true: that increases in global temperatures may have a beneficial effect on how we live our lives.”
- On the International Panel on Climate Change's Synthesis Report released last week, he said:
“The idea that our advanced industrialized economy would ever have zero carbon emissions is beyond extreme and further proof that the IPCC is nothing more than a front for the environmental left. It comes as no surprise that the IPCC is again advocating for the implementation of extreme climate change regulations that will cripple the global economy and send energy prices skyrocketing. The United States is in the midst of an energy renaissance that has the potential to bring about American energy independence, which would strengthen our national security and energy reliability for generations into the future. At a time of economic instability and increased threats to American interests, the IPCC’s report is little more than high hopes from the environmental left.”
For anyone still uncertain about where he stands, Inhofe laid out his positions in his 2012 book, "The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future."
Okay, so he’s a whacko, but unfortunately the rare breed of whacko that can’t be ignored or laughed off the stage. He’s the bane of every scientist who dares to uphold a century’s worth of climate measurements against the word of God.
And he chairs the Senate panel on the environment!
If one repeats absurdity often enough — as in most of the Republican talking points about almost anything, in my opinion—they take hold in the national psyche, or at least in what people talk about and then must spend precious time refuting. From a marketing standpoint it’s brilliant. As Benny Thomas writes in a recent MediaPost article: “Even the most absurd ideas can take off when marketed well.”
Thomas continues that it’s time for counter-measures: “Because make no mistake, it’s game time for climate change activists. Time to step up to the plate and fight for the truth. Most importantly, find new ways to fight. The old ones aren’t working as well as they need to.”
- Stop being so alarmist and be a little more entertaining. “Whoever said ‘fight fire with fire’ clearly did not understand physics. You fight fire with water: and nothing douses inflammatory rhetoric faster than a splash of satire.”
- Simplify the message. “How about a simple chart that shows the accelerated pace of oceans rising, glaciers melting and coastlines disappearing?
- Find a way to stay top of mind. “Scientists have posited that if average surface temperatures rise by 2 degrees Celsius, the effects are irreversible. How about a ‘heat clock’ that shows how close we are getting to that and what the effects are?”
Let’s take a page from the Inhofe and the climate-denier playbook by being insightful, passionate and singular — to use three words beloved by the advertising community — and focus the conspiracy/hoax lens on the activities of the “dark side.”
Image credit: Cover from Inhofe’s Greatest Hoax.