3 Years Ago, We All Laughed at James Inhofe’s Snowball. The Joke Was on Us.

After all, we elected a snowflake.


February 26, 2015 is a day that will live in Internet infamy for a few reasons. It gave us the great dress debate and the runaway llamas. But in the annals of science, let’s not forget it also gave us the snowball on the floor of the Senate.

On this day, three years ago, Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, appeared with a snowball on the Senate floor to demonstrate, once and for all, that climate change is a hoax.

“You know what this is?'” asked Inhofe, the author of The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future. “It’s a snowball, from outside here. So it’s very, very cold out. Very unseasonable.” Then he tossed it to a congressional page.

It happened to be very cold in the eastern United States that February, but 2015 overall ranked as the hottest year ever recorded globally (a record we broke again in 2016).

So now as we pause to commemorate the senator’s snowball, we should also look back on this innocent time—before most of us ever imagined that we would have a sitting president who agreed with the Senate’s most notorious climate change denier.


More MotherJones reporting on Climate Desk


Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2019 demands.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.


We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.