During a stroll around the capital, I sweated through two shirts, drained a liter of water, asked a guy who was hosing his dog to give me a spray. The humidity stung, like fevered hornets on the skin. As a lifelong West Coast weather wimp, I kept thinking: how does anyone live here in summer?After registering that Inhofe's home state of Oklahoma has seen a lot of extreme weather, the liberal Egan invoked God's judgment by proxy:
Around Capitol Hill, I could not find what I was looking for: agitprop from the number one global warming denier, Senator James Inhofe, Republican of Oklahoma. In February, remember, during a record snowstorm, Inhofe's family constructed a primitive igloo.
Egan admitted that
Extreme weather. Perfect for an extreme politician, a man who won his senate seat in 1994 by using, as his slogan, the actual words of a cynical strategy to get people to think about anything but real issues: "God, guns, and gays." Maybe, with this weather, God is trying to tell the senator something.
In Washington, I expected to see a homemade greenhouse constructed by Inhofe, complete with pithy remarks about the heat. No?
This is how he acts in his official capacity: when it snows, he makes fun of the consensus scientific view that the trend to a more inhospitable earth is incontrovertible. But during this heat wave, nothing. On his Web site, he's still been highlighting a winter week when 49 of the 50 states had snow on the ground. There's another reference to his much-quoted remark that global warming "is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people." (Wait a minute: what about the Nigerian e-mail scam?)
Few things are more inane than trying to conduct public policy based on news of the moment, especially the weather. But that's what we have with one side of the "debate" on climate change. I bring up the heat records to show that, if they were consistent with their calls for attention whenever it snows, Republicans would be alarmed during thermal meltdowns.
Egan is reacting as if only the "denialist" side plays that game. But climate alarmists like Al Gore have long claimed weather news indicates long-term warming trends. The Times itself does this, at least when the weather is unusually warm. Here's a headline from December 16, 2006, based on a single warmer-than-average winter: "Global Warming Poses Threat to Ski Resorts in the Alps ." So did the Times, to be consistent, portray record snowfall  as a sign of global cooling? Not so much.
Senator Inhofe should be a harmless diversion, the kind of laughable fool that any state can kick back to the capital, where hard-earned ignorance is supported by a well-paid staff. But he is one of the lead Republican senators on climate change, and he doesn't even believe the climate is changing. He gets his science from a dead fiction author, Michael Crichton, who wrote a fantasy thriller about climate alarmists. If Inhofe's party wins control of the Senate, the igloo man will steer a significant part of American policy on this issue.