The Senate's leading climate change skeptic doesn't understand what all the fuss is about when it comes to a federal climate change draft report that the New York Times inaccurately reported on earlier this week.
When it comes to the National Climate Assessment itself, it doesn't say all that much that is urgent, according to Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., in an email to the Washington Examiner.
"The claims in the report aren't new or surprising as we've been hearing similar claims for decades now," Inhofe said. "[B]ut the predictions never seem to become anything more than predictions."
The New York Times reported Monday evening that a draft of the climate report had been leaked to it by federal scientists out of fear that the current administration would suppress it. It turned out that the so-called leak had been available online since January. It printed a correction on Wednesday noting the discrepancy.
"I'm not sure what these scientists are so concerned about," Inhofe said in an email. "This draft report has been available in various forms, open to public comment for a while, so I think their fears are baseless, and they do not appear to be supported by any actual evidence of suppression."
Inhofe had been in the GOP leadership slot on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee for years before giving up the reins to Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wy., who now leads that panel that oversees the Environmental Protection Agency. Inhofe is most noted for making a speech on the Senate floor with a snowball in hand in the winter of 2015 to raise questions about what he considers to be the theory of global warming.
A number of climate skeptics came out on Wednesday to criticize The New York Times and the climate report, including the Heartland Institute and a number of other global warming critics that share a kinship with Inhofe.
The New York Times kefluffle came during the first week of the August recess. With a number of lawmakers out of town, only a few like Inhofe took the time to respond.
But he was beaten by another leading climate science skeptic, Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, who is chairman of the Science, Space and Technology Committee.
"The alarmist climate media is at it again," said Smith in a statement released late Tuesday. "To treat a climate report that has been public for months and is currently undergoing official comment by numerous federal agencies as a final document does a disservice to the American people.
"Moreover, this alarmist reporting attempts to falsely link extreme weather events to climate change, when the data has never suggested this," Smith said. "Making temperature predictions far into the future has proven to be nothing more than speculation, and goes against the principles of scientific integrity. We should treat this document for what it is, an unfinished draft that requires serious revision. To report it in any other way is just fake news."