Yet Another Letter to Sen. James Inhofe

Dear Senator Inhofe:

You are famously a denier of anthropogenic climate change. You’re the author of The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future, a title that is perhaps unintentionally ironic. The greatest hoax, as things have developed since, is your claim of a giant conspiracy.

I’m writing to make certain you have heard about the large thermokarst that has developed in Siberia.

What? Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to use big words. Let’s try again.

Credit: Alexander Gabyshev, Research Institute of Applied Ecology of the North

Credit: Alexander Gabyshev, Research Institute of Applied Ecology of the North

This is a giant hole in the ground. It wasn’t there 20 years ago. The hole is about .6 miles long and 300 feet deep. The hole has happened because the frozen dirt and ice there have all melted. And it keeps getting bigger. In fact, it’s the biggest hole of this kind in the world. And it keeps getting bigger. Some years only 30 feet; other years more than 90 feet bigger. Year after year..

What has happened is the air temperatures there have warmed up enough that all that frozen stuff is melting. As it melts and the ground collapses, it exposes stuff that was buried in the ice and frozen mud. Some of that exposed stuff is 200,000 years old. So this is the first time in 2,000 centuries that it has been warm enough for this much of the frozen stuff to thaw.

Credit: Alexander Gabyshev, Research Institute of Applied Ecology of the North

Credit: Alexander Gabyshev, Research Institute of Applied Ecology of the North

Siberia is famously very, very cold, Senator. Remember the Commies used to send the liberals there to punish them for being liberals. So if that permanently frozen ground is melting there it must be pretty serious. It must be getting warmer, don’t you think? Otherwise all those tons and tons of frozen ground wouldn’t be melting.

It’s happening in the United States, too. WC assumes you know Alaska is part of the United States, right? There aren’t any really gigantic features like the one in Siberia. Yet. But the rate at which smaller ones are appearing has more than doubled.1 And there are some pretty big holes appearing even in Alaska.


CredIt: David Swanson, National Park Service

Here’s a photo of another big hole. This one is in Alaska. It’s on the north bank of the Noatak River, in Noatak National Park. It’s about 900 feet from the river edge to the cliff. The cliff is about 50 feet tall. It’s gotten about 300 feet bigger in the last two years. It’s not as big as the one in Siberia, but it’s still pretty big. It wasn’t there 20 years ago, either.

WC understands that the fossil fuel industry gives you lots of money so you can get re-elected. And WC understands how that might . . . influence . . . your opinions. WC almost said “thinking” there, but that wouldn’t be the right word now, would it? But these big holes appearing where they hadn’t ever been before shows something is changing in the Arctic, and what’s changed is the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. Not mystic cycles of the sun; not the orbit of Alpha Centauri; not epicycles, whatever the hell they are supposed to be. Not any of those other silly things that the fossil fuel industry has told you to say. Just the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.

And you know where all that CO2 is coming from, don’t you? From fossil fuels.

If you didn’t know that, now you do. If you didn’t believe it, then you need to have those big campaign donors explain all these giant holes that have appeared in the arctic. If you’ve known it all along, and WC would bet a dozen doughnuts you have known all along, then you’re a miserable, lying. sorry son of a bitch and your grandchildren are going to spit every time they hear your name.

If WC has used any big words you don’t understand, just pass along a note and WC will try to explain.


/Wickersham’s Conscience

  1.  Balser, A.W., Gooseff, M.N., Jones, J.B., and Bowden, W.B., 2009, Thermokarst distribution and relationships to landscape characteristics in the Feniak Lake region, Noatak National Preserve, Alaska: Final Report to the National Park Service, Arctic Network, Fairbanks, Alaska, December 31, 2009, p. 1-12.