The Most Dangerous Snowball Ever Thrown

About five years ago, Senator Jim Inhofe tossed a snowball-curveball in Congress. Now we need a different kind of snowball to save the planet.

December 9, 2019

9:04 am

It was just about five years ago that a U.S. Senator showed all of us science-friendly dimwits that climate change is just a bunch of malarkey.

In February 2015, Senator Jim Inhofe, a Republican from Oklahoma, tossed a snowball on the Senate floor, proving once and for all that global warming cannot possibly be happening, because — duh — it's cold outside.

Isn’t it great when regular folks like Senator Jim prove egghead scientists wrong — especially with frozen balls of facts?

Okay, the joke’s over. Inhofe is still, somehow, a Senator, and he is one of the U.S.’ leading political climate skeptics. He has been one of the most vocal critics of the Paris Agreement, and was one of 22 U.S. Senators to send President Donald Trump a letter urging him to withdraw the United States from that accord, signed in Paris in 2015 — an accord signed just 10 months after his Senatorial snowball.

And Inhofe, it should be noted, is one of the “dirtiest” politicians on the Hill, if by “dirty” we refer to donations from companies that generate "dirty" energy from coal and fossil fuels. Inhofe is one of the major beneficiaries of dirty fossil-fuel money, a combined $529,550 from oil, gas, and coal donors in the 2012, 2014, and 2016 election cycles, according to the Guardian. The group of 22 collectively were on the receiving end of more than $10 million in such dirty funds.

Inhofe’s snowball comes to mind now because 1) it is getting close to snowball season and 2) we’re coming up on the four-year anniversary of the signing of the Paris Agreement. The Paris Agreement was developed and signed during the UN’s annual climate change conference, known as the COP (Conference of the Parties). Paris was also known as COP21, and now we’re in the middle of COP25, in Madrid.

One would assume we’ve made considerable progress since COP21, right? The Paris Agreement was a major alarm that sounded loudly around the world, in which 196 nations unanimously agreed that action needed to be taken to keep the planet’s temperature from rising another 2 degrees Celsius. So we’re all on the same page, right?

Sadly, that is mistaken.

This past July was the warmest month ever on record, and polar sea ice melted to new lows, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA). The year itself, 2019, is set to be tied with 2017 as the second-hottest year ever, according to the same NOAA data. And the UN’s IPCC report in October 2018 noted we have just 10 years to make dramatic progress on fighting the climate emergency or we face irreversible consequences.

Young people, like Sweden’s Greta Thunberg, started to apply pressure in the form of weekly school strikes every Friday for the last 16 months or so. But while in Madrid this past week, Thunberg admitted that the strikes were not having the impact that she hoped they would have. The strikes, she said rather bluntly, have “achieved nothing.”

As the Guardian reported, her statement was made because, “In the four years since the landmark  agreement was signed, greenhouse gas emissions have risen by 4% and the talks this year are not expected to produce new commitments on carbon from the world’s biggest emitters.”

Thunberg added, quite sensibly, that students should not have to strike to wake up public and private sector leaders. “We can’t go on like this,” she said in Madrid. “It is not sustainable that children skip school and we don’t want to continue — we would love some action from the people in power. People are suffering and dying today. We can’t wait any longer.

What we really need, she added, is more protesters. We need the movement to, well, snowball. And not in the way that can be manipulated by fossil-fuel-supported Senators.

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