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Climate Skeptic Inhofe Claiming Environment Made Him Ill

July 3, 2011

In a case that can only be appropriately described as ironic, Senator Jim Inhofe–the former Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works and a vocal critic of global warming theory–is blaming the environment for his recent illness.

Specifically, Inhofe, a 76-year-old Republican representing the state of Oklahoma, has told reporters that he believes that he suffered what Tulsa World Washington Bureau Reporter Jim Myers refers to as “a severe upper respiratory illness” after swimming in Grand Lake in the final week of June.

“There is no question,” Inhofe told Myers on Friday, adding that Monday evening, immediately following his swim, he became “deathly sick.” He links the illness to a strange type of algae discovered in the lake where he has lived for more than a dozen years along with his wife Kay.

He told Myers that he had never seen that specific type of Eukaryotes before, but that he “didn’t think anything about it” at the time. The Senator also told the Tulsa World reporter that he tried to get his 13-year-old granddaughter to go for a swim as well, but that she refused, insisting that she “didn’t want to get in that green stuff.”

Inhofe, who was first elected to the Senate in 1994, is currently the ranking member of the United States Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, and served as its chairman from 2003 to 2007. He has long dismissed scientists’ claims that human activity is causing an increase in temperatures worldwide, thus leading to a variety of harmful environmental changes.

In July 2003, while serving as the environmental committee chairman, Inhofe delivered a speech stating that he believed that “much of the debate over global warming is predicated on fear, rather than science,” and that debate on the issue as a whole was “shifting away from those who subscribe to global warming alarmism.”

“Without proper knowledge and understanding, alarmists will scare the country into enacting its ultimate goal: making energy suppression, in the form of harmful mandatory restrictions on carbon dioxide and other greenhouse emissions, the official policy of the United States,” he said during that speech. “I have offered compelling evidence that catastrophic global warming is a hoax. That conclusion is supported by the painstaking work of the nation’s top climate scientists.”

According to Myers, Inhofe has “expressed confidence he has turned the corner on the illness and plans to return to the U.S. Capitol next week.”

Furthermore, in a Washington Post blog, Stephen Stromberg reported that the Senator had been scheduled to deliver the opening keynote address at the Heartland Institute’s sixth International Conference on Climate Change, which Stromberg refers to as “a conclave committed to ‘abandoning the failed hypothesis of man-made climate change.’”

The Tulsa World report also noted that the irony of the situation is not lost on the global warming skeptic. As Myers wrote, “One of the leading Republican voices on such issues, [Inhofe] suggested a few humorous takes from others: ‘The environment strikes back” or ‘Inhofe is attacked by the environment.””

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