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U.S. Senator Calls U.N. Climate Meeting 'Brainwashing'

Nov 16, 2006

Senator James Inhofe testifies at a committee meeting while Rep. Jim Gibbons (L)listens. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON—The U.S. Senate's most vocal global warming skeptic, James Inhofe, Thursday dismissed a U.N. meeting on climate change as "a brainwashing session."

Inhofe, an Oklahoma Republican who will step down as chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee in January, told a news conference, "The idea that the science (on global warming) is settled is altogether wrong."

A majority of scientists, many in the U.S. government, accept that global warming is spurred by human actions and the emission of greenhouse gases. President Bush said as much in July at a summit of industrialized nations.

Inhofe said he acknowledged that the planet is warming but disputed those who attribute it to human activity and the emission of greenhouse gases. Instead, he blamed climate change on natural cycles.

As an example of U.N. brainwashing at this week's climate change meeting in Nairobi, Inhofe held up a children's book he said was distributed at the gathering, called "Tore and the Town on Thin Ice."

He said the book, the tale of a fictional young Arctic villager who becomes aware of global warming when his dogsled crashes through thinning ice, relies on disputed science.

"This is paid for by the United Nations and it's brainwashing little kids," Inhofe said.

Inhofe did not attend the Nairobi meeting but said some of his staff did.

"What we learned in Nairobi is... that the real focus has little to do with the fate of the planet and more to do with money—who has it and who wants it," he said.

Inhofe will be the ranking Republican on the environment committee when the newly elected Democratic majority takes power in January. Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat with long-standing environmental credentials, will chair the committee.

Boxer and two other Democrats wrote a letter to Bush Wednesday urging him to fight global warming by putting mandatory limits on greenhouse gas emissions.