In a speech to the Senate on Thursday, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) addressed what he calls the "major environmental crisis of our time," and took aim at the "myths" of Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Ok.) and other legislators who ignore or actively deny the existence of anthropogenic climate change.
"The bottom line," Sanders said, "is that when Senator Inhofe says global warming is a hoax, he is just dead wrong, according to the vast majority of climate scientists."
Sanders also expressed his concern that Inhofe's outsider view on climate change also influences his Republican colleagues. “For better or worse, when Sen. Inhofe speaks, the Republican Party follows," Sanders claimed. "And when the Republican Party follows, it is impossible to get real work done in the Congress." Inhofe is currently the most senior Republican on the Senate's Committee on Environment and Public Works.
According to the Burlington Free Press, Senator Inhofe has said, "It has become something of a religion to say that the world is coming to an end. The world is not coming to an end. We're going through a cycle. We've had these cycles before. It gets colder and warmer and colder and warmer. God is still up there."
Inhofe, who has represented Oklahoma in the U.S. Senate since 1994, is known for receiving significant campaign contributions from oil, gas and electric utility companies. Between 2007 and 2012 Inhofe received just over $500,00 from oil and gas companies -- including $44,600 from Koch Industries -- and nearly $200,000 from electric utilities, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Richard Muller, a University of California, Berkeley professor known for his Charles G. Koch-backed Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project and skepticism toward climate change's human origin, recently penned an op-ed for The New York Times entitled "The Conversion of a Climate-Change Skeptic." Following an "intensive research effort involving a dozen scientists," he wrote, Muller now accepts that climate change is "real" and "humans are almost entirely the cause."
Despite decisive acknowledgment from the world's premier scientific academies that climate change is in fact happening, Inhofe remains resolute. Earlier this year, he authored a book entitled "The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future," which was published by the conservative news site WorldNetDaily. In a review which says Inhofe "claims he is winning in his fight to debunk global warming," American Geophysical Union member and retired chemistry professor J.C. Moore, says "Inhofe's greatest adversary is nature itself."
While promoting his book in March, Inhofe denied the possibility of human-induced climate change, saying on a Christian radio program, "The arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what [God] is doing in the climate is to me outrageous."
Author and environmentalist Bill McKibben recently wrote for Rolling Stone, "When we think about global warming at all, the arguments tend to be ideological, theological and economic. But to grasp the seriousness of our predicament, you just need to do a little math."
Top 10 Most Polluting Countries
We look at which 10 countries have the most CO2 emissions. Figure are preliminary 2010 numbers from the U.S. government's <a href="http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/emis/perlim_2009_2010_estimates.html" target="_hplink">Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center. </a> (Photo Getty Images)
#10 - Saudia Arabia
Estimated CO2 Emissions in 2010 (in thousands of metric tonnes): 493,726 (Photo MARWAN NAAMANI/AFP/Getty Images)
#9 - Canada
Estimated CO2 Emissions in 2010 (in thousands of metric tonnes): 518,475 (Photo MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
#8 - Korea
Estimated CO2 Emissions in 2010 (in thousands of metric tonnes): 563,126 (Photo CHOI JAE-KU/AFP/Getty Images)
#7 - Iran
Estimated CO2 Emissions in 2010 (in thousands of metric tonnes): 574,667 (Photo FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images)
#6 - Germany
Estimated CO2 Emissions in 2010 (in thousands of metric tonnes): 762,543 (Photo JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)
#5 - Japan
Estimated CO2 Emissions in 2010 (in thousands of metric tonnes): 1,138,432 (Photo YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images)
#4 - Russia
Estimated CO2 Emissions in 2010 (in thousands of metric tonnes): 1,688,688 (Photo KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images)
#3 - India
Estimated CO2 Emissions in 2010 (in thousands of metric tonnes): 2,069,738 (Photo ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)
#2 - USA
Estimated CO2 Emissions in 2010 (in thousands of metric tonnes): 5,492,170 (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
#1 - China
Estimated CO2 Emissions in 2010 (in thousands of metric tonnes): 8,240,958 (Photo PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images)