Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) tossed a snowball at a colleague on the Senate floor late last week as a visual rebuttal to claims of global warming, the Washington journal The Hill reported.
Senator Bill Cassidy (R-La.) was presiding over the Senate on Thursday when Inhofe approached the rostrum. A YouTube video taken from the C-SPAN telecast of the proceedings shows the Oklahoma senator removing a large round snowball from a plastic bag before directing both the snowball and his remarks toward Cassidy.
“In case we have forgotten, because we keep hearing that 2014 has been the warmest year on record, I ask the chair, do you know what this is?” Inhofe said. “It’s a snowball. And it’s just from outside here. So it’s very, very cold out. Very unseasonable. So here, Mr. President, catch this,” he said as he lobbed the snowball with an underhand toss in Cassidy’s direction. A Senate page caught the ball, an Inhofe aide told The Hill.
Cassidy himself is not known to be a proponent of climate-change legislation or regulation, having argued in debate last fall with his Democratic opponent, Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, that “global temperatures have not risen in 15 years.”
When Inhofe realized that unanimous consent is required for the use of props on the Senate floor, he requested it retroactively and Cassidy promptly granted it.
Snow is not altogether rare, but neither is it common in Washington, D.C., a city bordering on the southern state of Virginia. This winter has featured an unusual amount of cold, snow, and ice in Washington and much of the rest of the nation, from Alabama, where some cities have seen record snowfalls, to Boston, where more than eight feet of snow has fallen.
“We hear the perpetual headline that 2014 has been the warmest year on record,” Inhofe said, referring to a January report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). “But now the script has flipped,” he said. “This is something that has been happening over a long period of time,” the Oklahoma senator said about changes in the climate.
“And every time it does, everyone tries to say that the world’s coming to an end and somehow man is important and so powerful that he can change that.”
Inhofe also voiced his contempt for last month’s White House report of national security strategy, citing climate change as "an urgent and growing threat" that is contributing to “increased natural disasters, refugee flows, and conflicts over basic resources like food and water." The report listed climate change as one of eight “top strategic risks” to the United States, along with a catastrophic attack on the country, attacks on U.S. citizens abroad and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
“It’s just another illustration that the president and his administration are detached from the realities that we are facing today and into the future,” Inhofe said. “His repeated failure to understand the real threat to our national security and his inability to establish a coherent national security strategy has put this nation at a level of risk that has been unknown for decades.”
Last May, the Obama administration issued a National Climate Assessment blaming rising carbon dioxide levels for a rise in temperatures and, among other things, droughts, wildfires, and 2012’s Superstorm Sandy. A coalition of 15 independent scientists and climatologists — including experts who had worked for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Environment Canada, and the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — promptly issued a rebuttal, calling the White House assessment “grossly flawed” and a virtual “house of cards.”
“We are asked to believe that humans are drastically changing the earth’s climate by burning fossil fuels,” the scientists noted. “The problem with their theory is very simple: It is NOT true.... Our climate is constantly changing for perfectly natural reasons that have nothing to do with carbon dioxide.” (Emphasis in the original.)
The coalition of independent scientists added that the National Climate Assessment is “a masterpiece of marketing” that shows “the full capabilities of the Obama Administration to spin a scientific topic as they see fit, without regard to the underlying facts. With hundreds of pages written by hundreds of captive scientists and marketing specialists, the administration presents their case for extreme climate alarm.”