A display of cheeky ignorance in the “world’s greatest deliberative body”
Screenshot of C-Span Senate coverage
Now, he may not be some big shot, New York City scientist, with your fancy degrees, and book learnin’, but Oklahoma Senator and late-age prairie bumpkin James Inhofe knows when someone’s trying to pull the wool over his eyes. On Thursday, Inhofe, author of the 2012 book, The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future, brought a snowball in a plastic bag onto the Senate floor. During a long-winded speech, Inhofe brandished the ball of slush as evidence that this so-called “global warming” chicanery is a bunch of ungodly hoo-ha, obviously disproven by the presence of snow. Because while those pencil-neck nerds at NASA and the NOAA are blabbing on with their numbers and such about how 2014 was the hottest year on record, as anyone can plainly see, it’s cold out there! Cold enough for snow, even! Explain that, you four-eyed brainwads.
“I ask the chair: do you know what this is? It’s a snowball,” said Inhofe smugly, confident in the icy trump card he held in his hand. In an age when even the fossil fuel industry is slowly backing off from denying the existence of man-made climate change, the Senator has been one of the loudest, most stubborn voices in the fray, calling global warming a “hoax” perpetrated by greedy, arrogant scientists out for a taste of that sweet, sweet grant money. And while long-term trends that contribute to epic droughts, raging superstorms, and bloated sea levels obviously don’t change the fact that it’s winter, and yeah, duh, it’s still going to snow in some places, Inhofe seemed powerful sure that he had made a bold, simple point. He’s just a regular guy, noticing regular things like the snow on the ground, plain as day. He’s doing God’s work. “God’s still up there,” Inhofe told Voice of Christian Youth America radio in 2013. “The arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous.”
“I think it’s lovely that Senator Inhofe enjoys the winter weather so much,” Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies told the Guardian. “I’m a winter sports fan myself. But there’s a big difference between people playing with the snow, and global climate change.” As chucklesome as it might seem that in this day and age, a man of his authority might bring a snowball into the legislative body of a major nation, intending to make a point about a topic he clearly knows nothing about, the real punchline is that Inhofe is the Chairman of the Senate’s Environment and Public Works committee. Which actually, come to think of it, might not be all that funny.