Republican Senator Jim Inhofe does not believe in climate change. How could the world be getting warmer when it still snows in Washington D.C.? To drive that point home, Inhofe threw (or rather gently tossed) a snowball in the Senate.
Climate science debunked — or is it? Something of a backlash has started to form on the internet, with some people even asking if the congressman is the right man to chair the Environment and Public Works Committee.
Inhofe started his speech by claiming it was unseasonably cold outside. Nobody listening in the building doubted him, but just in case, the chairman brought proof: a snowball.
“We keep hearing that 2014 has been the warmest year on record. I ask the chair, ‘you know what this is?’ it’s a snowball. And that’s just from outside here. So it’s very very cold out, very unseasonable.”
Then he tossed the snowball to the Senate President (most likely so the Chairman could make sure that’s real snow and not just an elaborate scheme to convince everyone there’s snow outside).
Despite the compelling argument, many media outlets are unconvinced. Time Magazine was quick to point out that although it might be unseasonably cold in Washington D.C., it was unseasonably hot in Opa Loca, Florida. Hot even for Florida. So if Washington D.C.’s cold weather were proof climate change is a hoax, Florida’s warm weather must serve as equal proof that climate change isn’t.
The Washington Post was also dismissive of Inhofe’s argument, as was the Huffington Post and many others. Still, those news sites may have skipped over the first part of the Senator’s argument, when he used an igloo (also made of real snow) to prove climate change was a hoax.
He explained the igloo was made on another unseasonably cold winter, and that was just a few years ago — well into the climate change “hysteria.” He ended the presentation by slamming the “warmest year on record” cliche.
“We hear the perpetual headline that 2014 has been the warmest year on record, but now the script has flipped.”
Unexpectedly, the Senator is somewhat correct about 2014 not being the hottest year on record. According to climate change researchers, the temperatures for the top three hottest years are in a statistical tie, meaning their averages all fall within the 0.1 margin of uncertainty. A fact affirmed by World Meteorological Organization Secretary-General Michel Jarraud.
“Analysis of the datasets indicates that 2014 was nominally the warmest on record, although there is very little difference between the three hottest years.”
Point for Inhofe and his snowball.
Calling 2014 the hottest year on record is more of a way draw attention to climate change than a 100 percent accurate claim. Nevertheless, the snowball argument is far more misleading.
Fortunately, NASA and other organizations are not concerned with setting records or ball-shaped red herrings. They’re interested in long-term trends, which do continue to show a gradually warming Earth. Until Inhofe can put together a comparably-persuasive scientific argument, or at least something more than a snowball, climate change science will continue to influence global policy.
[Image via CSpan]