Oklahoma Tornado: Senator Inhofe: ‘Liberal Media Is Trying To Exploit A Tragedy’

Senator James Inhofe - Republican, Oklahoma - photo by CSISSenator James Inhofe, perennial climate change denier, says it is a “great disservice to those who have experienced this tragedy” to link climate change to last week’s deadly tornado in Moore, Oklahoma. While I do not think it is disservice to the victims, I do think it is a disservice to climate scientists, who would never make such a claim.

“The liberal media is trying to exploit a tragedy to advance and expand its own agenda,” said Inhofe. Everyone wants to help the victims. We don’t need to have an ideological fight over which side cares more. And from that perspective Inhofe is, well, an ass. But — and you probably weren’t expecting this — Inhofe does have a point, even if the way he delivered that point was misguided.

Newsmax — Shortly after the tornado hit, Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island delivered an impassioned speech on the Senate floor saying climate change should be given part of the blame.

“Is Climate Change to Blame for the Oklahoma Tornado?” blared the headline in Mother Jones that was sympathetic to that opinion.

Climate scientists aren’t even ready to link a super storm like Hurricane Sandy to climate change, at most saying that storms of this size are more likely with a warmer planet (and more specifically a warmer ocean) as fuel. So if climate scientists can’t definitely link Hurricane Sandy with climate change, there’s no hope of linking last week’s tornado in Oklahoma.

I don’t think it’s unreasonable to call attention to climate change in the aftermath of violent weather events, since a warmer and wetter climate is the fuel needed for such storms. But I’d like to make a clear distinction between (a) calling attention to events likely to increase in both frequency and strength, and (b) directly linking such events, at a local level, to climate change. The science simply is not there to assert (b). And because of that, I think it is a disservice to climate scientists and the work they do when the media tries to link a singular and localized weather event in a tornado-prone state to climate change.

Remember, we are not supposed to be the people accepting things on faith alone. We are not supposed to be the people cherry-picking evidence to suit a pre-existing narrative. We are not supposed to be the people blind to new evidence. And even when a perceived “enemy” calls out one of our own, we should not immediately defend our side without having a good argument, backed up by evidence. After all, why are there even “sides” in the first place? I prefer to have a political ideology that is informed by facts and evidence, not the reverse.

So while Senator Inhofe is wrong most of the time, including his opposition to disaster funding without spending cut offsets, he is not wrong to call out liberal pundits who attempted to directly link a tornado to climate change.

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