Sen. James Inhofe's 'Snowball' speech, annotated


In honor of Earth Day and #ClimateChangeIsReal,, here is the text of Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.)'s famous "Snowball" speech — with a twist: annotations have been added by award-winning broadcaster, writer, and distinguished conservation biologist Dr. Reese Halter. See what Dr. Halter has to say about Inhofe's denial of man-made climate change.

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Sen. Inhofe: Mr. President, first of all, let me kind of address what happened today, because I think it’s significant. I know a lot of people are a little bit confused over what did happen, and it was somewhat of a surprise. We have, I think, as the president knows, I have been kind of leading the opposition of this whole idea of cap and trade that originated. It was way back in two thousand one.

And since that time, we’ve had, we’ve voted on it many, many times. And I always will remember back in those days, Mr. President, that most people believed that man-made, gases were and contributed to to global warming. And that if the world was going to come to an end, it’s because of man-made gases and C-O-two emissions. And at that time, real early on, I was on the Environment and Public Works committee, I think at that time I was not chairman, but I was a chairman of one of the subcommittees. And I thought, ‘must be true. Everybody says it is.’

Well, as some time went by, and we got a report -- the first one came from the Wharton school -- where they, they talked about the fact that if we are to pass cap and trade. At that time, there were two bills that were up for the United States Senate. It was not in the House, it was just in the Senate. And those bills would have been a cap, been cap and trade types of bills. So, they calculated, what would this cost if we, in the United States, passed cap and trade. And this is way back in two thousand two, two thousand three. And they said the range of the cost to the American people would be between three hundred billion dollars and four hundred billion dollars a year.

Now, I to do something -- I don’t think very many people do this, but I always do it -- every time I hear a large number, I go back and get the latest figures for my state of Oklahoma, as to how many families file a federal tax return. Then I do the math to determine how much it’s going to cost my average family who pays taxes. And it came back three, an excess of three thousand dollars a year. And I thought, ‘that is a lot of money. Let’s be sure that there is science behind this idea, knowing that it all came from the United Nations.’ That’s what, that’s what started this whole thing, by the way, this I-P-C-C is an intergovernmental panel on climate change.

That’s the United Nations. So that’s where it all started. If you might remember, that was when during the Clinton Gore administration, when Al Gore went down to South America and he came back with this idea that they had the Kyoto Treaty and we’re all going to sign it and if we don’t do this, then the world will all come to an end and we’re all going to die because of man-made gases. Well, we started looking at it to see if the science really was there, because the only science we had heard from was the United Nations science, which is I-P-C-C. Well, sure enough, we started getting phone calls from scientists all over the country. Put that chart up there, on the scientists.

And, and, and, and so I came down to the floor, this is a long time ago, and I’d start naming the scientists who were calling in and groups of scientists, and we got up to a hundred, then up to a thousand, then up to four thousand. This is all in my website, and even though it’s a long time ago. And you look at all these renown scientists, all of ’em. Here’s one right here. Richard Lindzen is with M-I-T. Richard Lindzen is one who is considered by a lot of people to be the foremost authority on this, and he’s the one who came out adamantly and said, ‘No, the science is not there, it is not settled,’ and so several others started calling in.

In fact, I will quote him, if I have it here. What Richard Lindzen actually said at that time. He said: ‘Controlling carbon is a bureaucrat's dream.’ He said, ‘If you control carbon, you control life.’ This is what bureaucrats would like to do, you understand that, I say to the Chair, because he has served in the other house, is new here in the Senate. Lindzen also said, talking about Al Gore. Al Gore at that time was Vice President of the United States. He was the one that was really, really pushing this. He says, ‘To treat all change as something to fear is bad enough. To do so in order to exploit that fear is much worse.’ What he was talking about, Richard Lindzen, M-I-T, was the fact that Al Gore, at that time, they had speculated that he would be the first environmental billionaire, that was speculated in the New York Times.

So, anyway, after that happened, all the other scientists started checking in. These are scientists that cannot be challenged. These individuals, we have hundreds more. But I have a, a, a, a make on each one of these that I’d be glad to discuss or debate with anyone. But at the same time, other things were happening. One of the universities here in Virginia commissioned a poll to be done of all the weathercasters of, of, in, on T-V. They came back that sixty three percent of the weathercasters said that any global warming that occurs is a result of natural variation and not human activities.

So, when I hear people, and I know, I have good friends on the other side, that really believe this, and I think that, you know, sometimes you have to open it up and realize there is another side to this story. So when they say that ninety seven, ninety eight percent of the scientists agree, it just isn’t true. And, and, and we have the names, and the things that have actually been said. I think one thing that people are going to have to remember, well let me first of all, say what happened today, because I know that they’ve been told that I would explain what happened today. My good friend Senator Whitehouse had an amendment. The amendment was one sentence. It says that global warming, no, I’m sorry, climate change is real, and, and what was it? [from aside, aide says ‘It is not a hoax.’] And it is not a hoax.

Well, there’s a rule against talking about your own books on the Senate floor, so I can’t do that, but that, that hoax came from a totally different interpretation. Hoax was the idea that this is happening -- climate change -- but it’s due to man-made gases. In other words, man is causing that. And so what I said on the Senate floor today, I said how arrogant is it for people to say that man can do something about changing climate. Climate has always changed. And I, I quoted this morning, I said it’s change, you go back and read the look at the archaeological findings. They talk about climate from the beginning of time has changed and changed both ways. They talk about it, scriptures talk about it. And, so this is something that everyone has agreed and no one would debate that it has always happened. The debate is whether man is causing that to happen.

So here we have a chart that shows the... Do you remember the hockey stick? The hockey stick was one of the concepts that the guys with the I-P-P-C came out and he said that it’s like a hockey stick. We had this length, this weather going like this for a long period of time and all of the sudden it shot up like this and resembled a hockey stick. But what they forgot was to put these two things in the hockey stick, wasn’t supposed to be level. One is the Medieval Warming Period between one thousand and about fifteen hundred A-D. We’re talking about recently. And that went into the Little Ice Age. Well those were kind of left off the chart. So we have looked back. Everything you look at talks about how many years in the past we have had this change that’s taken place in climate.

Now I’ll go, and I’m going to do this from memory, but there are, in addition to these major changes like you’re seeing on this chart, which is a chart that no one -- this, actually, is the I-P-C-C’s chart, so no one’s going to argue with that, because they’re the ones who dreamed up this whole idea. That’s the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change. But within that, I can remember when I first heard the terms ‘global warming’ and ‘ice age.’ It was when they looked back and they started tracing not long term trends in climate change, in weather, but short term. Starting in eighteen ninety five. From eighteen ninety five to nineteen eighteen, they had what they referred to as a cooling spell -- another, possibly, another Little Ice Age.

And in nineteen eighteen, it started getting warm again, and so from nineteen eighteen to nineteen forty five, was a little warming period, and so that, that took place. Every kind of thirty years. Then, in nineteen ninety five, from that period until nineteen ninety-s... seventy five, a period of thirty years, again, it went into a cooling period. Here, Mr. President, is the key. No one will argue with the fact that nineteen forty five was the year that we had the maximum increase surge in C-O-two emissions, and that precipitated not a warming period, but a cooling period. Then, of course, seventy five came along. Where are those charts that showed in nineteen seventy four? Time magazine? Or one of those?

Yeah, here it is. This is Time Magazine. This is the front. And they said ‘Is another Ice Age Coming?’ This is nineteen seventy four. This is making my case. Everybody believed it. And they talked about global warming before that, and then another Ice Age. But we’re all gonna die one way or, or another. And I put up the other chart, which is also Time Magazine, and this is when they said, ‘Oh, no, there’s the last polar bear and all the ice is, is… so we have another global warming period.’ Both of them Time Magazine, both of them thirty years apart. This is what has been happening for a long period of time.

So, recognizing this, we had a little experience that and getting back, and so I made a determination that I would not only support the Whitehouse amendment since it was just one sentence and it said that the climate is changing, and it’s not a hoax. I could clarify that by becoming a co-sponsor to his amendment. I did that, on the floor, just a few minutes ago. And I said on the floor that yes, it is changing, no one questions about that, but the hoax, the hoax is that there are people who are so arrogant that they think they have the power to change climate. Now that’s the hoax.

And that, not the fact that it’s, that climate is changing. So that is what has been happening, and when some of the scientists came out and they started changing back and forth and all of the sudden people realized that this whole thing was cooked up by the United Nations -- I-P-C-C was part of that group -- then they found out that some of the scientists that were behind this were starting were, it was discovered that they had some emails that were sent out saying and proving conclusively that they were cooking in the science. That these scientists were lying. That they, that they were and one of the things that was discovered, that came out was an email from one of these scientists to another. And that was nineteen ninety nine. And it read, and I’m quoting now, ‘I’ve just completed Mike’s nature trick, adding in the real temperatures in each of the series for the last twenty years.’ In other words, he was, they were cooking the science at that time.

This was such a scandal, that throughout the world, we didn’t hear nearly as much in the United States, but we did throughout the world. The U-K Telegraph, that’s one of the, maybe the largest communication in the U-K, they said, ‘It’s the worst scientific scandal of our generation.’ What they’re talking about, the scientific scandal, is that they’re trying to make it sound like man is responsible for all these things. The Financial Times came out, they said, ‘the close-mindedness of these supposed men of science is surprising even to me. The stink of the intellectual corruption is overpowering.’ One of the I-P-C-C physicists said that ClimateGate was a ‘fraud on a scale I’ve never seen before.’ And this went on and on and we could quote Newsweek, the Guardian, all the rest of them. So it was known worldwide as a scandal.

What was a scandal? It was that they had a bunch of scientists that were saying, ‘We’re going to have to pass something like, like cap and trade, and, and because man is causing the world to come to an end. So that is really what that was all about. Now, we’re going to have the debate, and we want to do that. I chair the committee called the Environment and Public Works Committee, and I did not, I chaired it eight years ago, and then when the Democrats got control of the Senate, and now, I’m back in that position. So we’ll have the chance to have hearings and Mr. President, we’re going to have hearings with prominent scientists to come in and talk about this thing. Because all they say now is, ‘Oh, the science is settled, the science is settled.’ The science is not settled. And that’s the reason my good friend Senator Wyden wants to make some remarks, but that’s the reason that I made that statement today. And I think that we will have that very healthy debate.

But let’s keep in mind what the president was suggesting last night. And it would cost the American people four hundred and seventy nine billion dollars a year and that would constitute the largest tax increase in the history of America. And that’s one of his legacies that he’s trying, at the very last part of his presidency, that he announced last night that he was going to put as a top priority. So we’ll be there to be the Truth Squad in that, and we’re going to make sure that my kids and grandkids -- and I’ve got twenty of those -- are not going to be encumbered with the largest tax increase in the world. Particularly when their own director said, if you pass it, it will not reduce C-O-two emissions. And with that, I yield the floor.

Sen. James Inhofe's 'Snowball' speech, annotated