Capitol Hill Bureau Chief
Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), the famous global warming skeptic and top Republican on the Senate's Environment and Public Works Committee, took a moment to warm relations with EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson at an EPW hearing on the EPA's budget Tuesday.
"I'm going to say in front of all these people: I really do like you," Inhofe said to Jackson, who smiled at the apparently sincere compliment. "We've spent time in my office, we've talked about our kids and all that, and I just say that from my heart and I want you to know that that's true."
Inhofe also praised Jackson for her work cleaning up a dangerous Superfund site in his state, but then quickly got down to business, calling the concept of climate change a "hoax" and releasing a Republican report
that questioned the science used to support global warming legislation in Congress.
Specifically, Inhofe pointed to the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which came under fire recently for e-mails between scientists that suggested research was selectively presented to make the case that the Earth's climate is changing because of man-made carbon emissions.
"They cooked the science," Inhofe said. "Now we know there's no objective basis for all this stuff." The senator said that the scandal known as Climategate proved that "there's no consensus" on global warming and called it an example of "leading scientists acting like political scientists."
Finally, Inhofe slammed the EPA's move to regulate greenhouse-gas emissions outside of the legislative process. The Senate has only 20 votes for climate change legislation with a cap-and-trade mechanism, Inhofe said, "and the last time I checked they need 60, so it's not going to happen."
Later in the hearing, Jackson disagreed with Inhofe's assertions that such legislation would kill jobs, or that climate change science has been totally discredited. There is "a mountain of evidence that says that the climate is changing and that there are man-made causes," she said.