Global warming in the world today
Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., throws a snowball on Senate floor while making a point about global warming and climate change in March 2015.(Photo: C-SPAN)
Prominent climate deniers pushed back against the pope's long-awaited environmental encyclical Thursday, claiming the debate over man-made global warming has yet to be settled.
"I disagree with the pope's philosophy on global warming, " Sen. Jim Inhofe, the leading voice of climate denial in the Senate and chairman of its Environment and Public Works Committee, said in a statement to USA TODAY.
"I am concerned that his encyclical will be used by global warming alarmists to advocate for policies that will equate to the largest, most regressive tax increase in our nation's history, " he added.
In his decree, Pope Francis — who said global warming was mostly caused by humans — argued the poor stand to suffer the most from extreme weather events tied to climate change that are already wreaking havoc across the planet.
However, Inhofe — who famously tossed a snowball on the Senate floor earlier this year as his proof global warming is a hoax — said it was the impoverished who would lose the most from any actions taken to combat warming.
"It's the poor that spend the largest portion of their expendable income to heat their homes, and they will be the ones to carry the heaviest burden of such onerous policies" that would increase their taxes, he said.
Inhofe also said he maintained his long-standing belief that climate science isn't settled, despite recent surveys that 97% of climate scientists believe in man-made global warming.
"We have been innovative with our energy supply, and for generations the United States has lifted people out of poverty through the development of our God-given natural resources, most prominently from fossil fuels, " he said.
The pope's decree came as a new report showed May was the warmest on record worldwide. This spring — from March to May — was also the hottest, as were the first five months of 2015, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Reducing Poverty, Protecting Livelihoods, and Building Assets in a Changing Climate: Social Implications of Climate Change for Latin America and the Caribbean (Directions in Development)
Book (World Bank Publications)