Former Sen. James Inhofe, proud climate science denier, dies

By Timothy Cama | 07/09/2024 01:38 PM EDT

The Oklahoma Republican also worked across the aisle on infrastructure and chemicals legislation.

James Inhofe on Capitol Hill.

Then-Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) during a hearing in 2021. Inhofe died Tuesday at 89. Tasos Katopodis/AP

Former Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Inhofe — a major figure in Republican environmental policy — died Tuesday. He was 89.

Inhofe led the Environment and Public Works Committee twice over the last two decades and was its ranking member at other points, playing a major role in climate change, air pollution, water, chemical regulation and other policy areas — often working across the aisle.

But he was known internationally for his denial of mainstream climate change science. Inhofe called climate change “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people” in a 2012 book and once tossed a snowball on the Senate floor to mock worries about global warming.


The “hoax” argument on climate had significant staying power and has been picked up by other Republicans, including former President Donald Trump.