WASHINGTON -- Denying climate change isn't new for Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Inhofe. But in a Senate floor speech Wednesday night, Inhofe added a conspiratorial wrinkle -- proposed new carbon dioxide regulations are meant not to curb greenhouse gases, but to curb people's freedom.
Inhofe was reacting to President Barack Obama's recent speech detailing his administration's intention to restrict emissions from coal-powered power plants. Inhofe pointed the language that officials were using as evidence they're trying to hide their true intentions, noting that environmental advocates and the administration are using the phrase "carbon pollution" rather than manmade global warming, which Inhofe said he doesn't believe in.
"Their goal is not to protect the American people, it is to control them," Inhofe said. "They want top-down control, and carbon dioxide regulations will give this to them."
Inhofe argued that the administration is furthering its ends by giving talking points to "alarmists" who, he explained, are "people who believe the world is coming to an end, and it's all man's fault."
For evidence of the ultimate goal, the senator cited controversial climate-change critic Richard Lindzen, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology scientist at odds with most of his colleagues on the prospects of warming, including experts at NASA.
Citing Lindzen, Inhofe argued that bureaucrats want to control carbon dioxide because "if you regulate carbon, you regulate life -- you control life, and that's what bureaucrats want to do."
He also questioned the idea that carbon dioxide is pollution. If it's pollution, he argued, people are polluting the air by breathing.
Nearly all scientists consider excess carbon dioxide to be pollution, and have grown increasingly concerned with levels in the atmosphere that have recently passed an alarming milestone of 400 parts per million.
Obama argued in his speech that the nation has a moral obligation to lead the world in reducing carbon pollution.
Michael McAuliff covers Congress and politics for The Huffington Post. Talk to him on Facebook.