In response to a question during an ABC News / Washington Post
interview today about recent heat waves and record temperatures, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) said, "I don't think that anyone disagrees with the fact that we actually are in a cold period that started about nine years ago." Cold period? Not quite. "In fact, climate scientists disagree with Senator Inhofe's statement," said Brenda Ekwurzel, a climate scientist with the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). According to NASA, the past 10 year average was the hottest on record, Ekwurzel pointed out. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, meanwhile, concluded that the first six months of this year are the hottest on record globally. Scientists project that 2010 is on track to be the hottest year on record, unless Pacific ocean conditions drive down surface temperatures.
Sen. Inhofe, who has long questioned the evidence of human-induced climate change, receives a large portion of his campaign funding from the oil and gas industry, which donated $437,000 to his campaign this cycle. The electric utility industry, meanwhile, donated $208,000. Koch Industries, which funds front groups that also deny the reality of climate change, is Inhofe's top contributor. It has donated $40,000 to his campaign.
Climate contrarians have been losing traction lately. Their baseless conspiracy theories about climate scientists have been contradicted by a number of independent reviews and average global temperatures continue to remain high. Last week, advocates for addressing climate change assembled a symbolic ice sculpture depicting a globe and the phrase "climate deniers" near the Senate. It quickly melted.
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