Inhofe Can't Budge an Admiral Who Says Climate Change Matters

Photographer: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Navy Adm. Samuel Locklear testifies during a Senate Armed Services hearing on Capitol Hill, April 9, 2013 in Washington, DC. The committee is hearing testimony from the U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander on the 2013 Defense budget request and a review of U.S. forces in Korea. Close

Navy Adm. Samuel Locklear testifies during a Senate Armed Services hearing on Capitol... Read More

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Photographer: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Navy Adm. Samuel Locklear testifies during a Senate Armed Services hearing on Capitol Hill, April 9, 2013 in Washington, DC. The committee is hearing testimony from the U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander on the 2013 Defense budget request and a review of U.S. forces in Korea.

Cross-posted from Bloomberg.com's Political Capital blog.

North Korea’s threat to wage war was the No. 1 topic today when senators quizzed the head of the U.S. Pacific Command. Still, Sen. James Inhofe wouldn’t let the morning pass without a chance to attack those who think human activity is warming the planet.

The Oklahoma Republican, who passionately rejects the notion of global warming, quizzed Admiral Samuel Locklear on a report in the Boston Globe. The newspaper quoted Locklear as having said the biggest long-term security threat in the Pacific region is climate change.

Inhofe pressed Locklear to say his view has been misrepresented by “environmental extremists” who “think we’re spending too much money on defense.” The admiral did anything but that.

About 280,000 people died in natural disasters in his Pacific area of responsibility from 2008 to 2012, Locklear said.

“Now, they weren’t all climate change or weather-related, but a lot of them were,” he said. And that will only get worse as the population soars and even more people move toward “the economic centers, which are near the ports and facilities that support globalization,” according to the admiral.

“Okay, sorry, I’m going to interrupt you here, because you’ve now used up half my time,” Inhofe said.

Inhofe settled for an acknowledgment from Locklear that the world would be more secure if the U.S. could become energy independent. “Absolutely,” Locklear said.

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