Inhofe throws snowball on Senate floor, trying to hit Obama agenda 

Source: Jean Chemnick, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, February 27, 2015

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) yesterday lobbed a snowball at a Senate page on the chamber floor to illustrate his point that far from unprecedented warmness, this winter has actually been quite cold, as part of his speech trying to debunk global warming.

“It’s a snowball from just outside here, so it’s very, very cold,” the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee chairman told Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), who was presiding at the time. “Very unseasonable. So, Mr. President, catch this.”

But the freshman Republican was saved from having an icy orb hurled at him when Inhofe instead threw it to the page.

Yesterday was not the first time Inhofe used accumulation on the Senate lawn to attempt to poke holes in the notion that human-caused emissions are driving global warming. In 2010, his daughter and her family built an igloo on the White House lawn during a weather event that became known as “Snowmageddon,” offering it to former Vice President and climate change advocate Al Gore as a “new home.”

Scientists caution that weather and climate are two different things. Weather — including the “Siberian Express” much of the country is experiencing now — has no place in a discussion of climatic trends, which are measured over years and decades. Environmentalists as well as climate skeptics have sometimes pointed to individual events or groups of events over a short time horizon to prove their points about global warming.

Inhofe yesterday derided NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for their joint announcement in January that 2014 had been the warmest year on record. He pointed out that NASA and NOAA acknowledged that last year only beat the two previous record holders — 2005 and 2010 — by an amount within its margin of error. Thus, it is possible that one of them might have been warmer.

The prominent climate skeptic also referenced newspaper photos of a frozen Niagara Falls and iced-over Great Lakes to argue that man-made emissions are not bringing about a future of unprecedented heat, as environmentalists and most climate scientists say.

“And despite a long list of unsubstantiated global warming claims, climate activists and environmental groups will cling to any extreme weather-related headline to support their case for global warming and to instill the fear of global warming in the American people,” Inhofe said.

Inhofe said the Obama administration and its agencies were engaged in a “power struggle.” Congress has not passed cap-and-trade legislation, and so the president has now prioritized using his office to address global warming rather than more serious threats — especially terrorists, Inhofe said.

He pointed to this month’s statement by Obama that the media promote the notion that terrorism is a more important threat than warming. White House spokesman Josh Ernest followed that statement by asserting that “there are many more people on an annual basis who have to confront the impact, the direct impact on their lives of climate change or on the spread of a disease, than on terrorism” (Greenwire, Feb. 11).

Inhofe, who is also a senior member on the Armed Services Committee, said that was further evidence Obama is out of touch with the true threats to national security. It is especially troubling, he said, in the face of violent acts by the Islamic State group and other terrorist organizations, which have targeted civilians, including Americans.

“These are the biggest threats facing our nation today,” he said. “It is decidedly not global warming.”

Issues like climate change will come and go, he predicted, but “the threat of war has plagued the Earth for centuries.” He accused Obama of not taking “serious steps” to “secure our freedom.”

David DiMartino of the Climate Action Campaign said in a statement that Inhofe’s “antics put into freeze frame that he has no real solutions to address climate change and energy security, despite Americans’ overwhelming desire for action.”