Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., says he’s “disappointed” that though he was very willing to engage in a nationally televised debate on global warming, the man who challenged him to the debate has now backed out.
Late last year, political activist and former Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader challenged Inhofe, the ranking Republican of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works and a leading skeptic of allegedly man-made global warming, to debate the topic with climate-change champion Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass.
“For the past decade, I have been reading about your description of the global warming assertions by scientists as ‘one of the greatest hoaxes’ ever perpetrated,” Nader wrote in a Dec. 12 letter to Inhofe. “Clearly you are a man of your convictions on this subject. Just as clearly, Rep. Ed Markey is a man of his convictions on this topic.
“So, what about your first real public debate with a fellow member of Congress on this topic?” Nader suggested. “People I know in Oklahoma say that you do not run away from challenges and challengers to your beliefs.”
Indeed, Inhofe did not run away from the debate challenge, but accepted it almost immediately, offering dates that might fit into his schedule.
Rep. Markey accepted the challenge as well.
But earlier this week, Nader sent Inhofe a letter backing out of any involvement in the debate itself.
“The rest is up to you, Representative Markey, and your respective staffs to work out the details,” Nader wrote.
Katherine Raymond, an assistant to the veteran activist, told Oklahoma’s Tulsa World, “Ralph won’t be doing anything further on this, it appears.”
In his original acceptance letter, Inhofe reiterated his criticism of the science and politics behind the international global warming scare.
“You were right to say in your letter that just as I remain committed to fighting against ‘the greatest hoax,’ Representative Markey is ‘a man of his convictions,’” Inhofe wrote to Nader. “This debate is most welcome.”
He continued, “We need to be talking about global warming because President Obama is moving full speed ahead to implement the largest tax increase in American history through global warming regulations by the Environmental Protection Agency. This is despite the fact that these regulations are based on the now thoroughly discredited science of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and both the president and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson have warned that EPA regulations would be even worse economically than cap-and-trade legislation.”
Inhofe concluded, “We handily won the debate on cap-and-trade legislation, so now our fight is to stop President Obama from achieving through regulations what he could not achieve through legislation. This debate will be a great opportunity to shine the light on the president’s job-killing global warming agenda.”
Rep. Markey spokesperson Eben Burnham-Snyder also offered a preview to the debate by telling Politico, “Congressman Markey would gladly discuss with Sen. Inhofe the over 100 years of science that proves carbon dioxide and other global warming pollutants are raising the temperature of the earth and changing the chemistry of the oceans.”
And even though Nader has stepped out of involvement, Inhofe is still working to schedule the debate, with or without Nader’s help, though the activist is still welcome to attend.
“I really appreciate your suggestion that Representative Markey and I debate,” Inhofe wrote to Nader. “Under the radar, [President Obama's] global warming agenda is alive and well – he is working aggressively to destroy oil, gas and coal as his administration goes full speed ahead enacting the most extreme, job-killing regulatory agenda in American history. Anyone who takes him at his word that he wants an ‘all-of-the-above’ approach to energy development need look no farther than his Keystone pipeline decision, in which he sided with his radical environmental friends instead of the majority of the American people who want the tens of thousands of jobs and the energy security that the pipeline would bring. One of the global warming movement’s main leaders said that the president’s Keystone decision was the biggest climate ‘victory’ in years.
“This debate will be an excellent opportunity to sound the alarm about President Obama’s destructive global warming agenda,” Inhofe concluded.