Tuesday, February 09, 2010
By Christopher Neefus
‘Al Gore’s New Home,’ an igloo built by the family of Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) near the U.S. Capitol in snow-laden Washington, D.C. (Photo courtesy of office of Sen. Jim Inhofe.)
The family spent Saturday and Sunday building an igloo near the U.S. Capitol building, and the Oklahoma senator posted photos of their handiwork on his Facebook page. They added signs to the snow dwelling that read, “AL GORE’S NEW HOME!” and “HONK IF YOU (LOVE) GLOBAL WARMING.”
Inhofe, the ranking Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, is one of the foremost skeptics of anthropomorphic or man-caused global warming (AGW). Gore, on the other hand, produced the film “An Inconvenient Truth,” which helped to mainstream the issue of global climate change, and is a prominent proponent of curbing carbon emissions to try to halt it.
The Inhofe family, including the senator’s daughter and grandchildren, built the igloo after a large storm system dumped more than two feet of snow on the Washington, D.C. metro area on Friday and Saturday. The National Weather Service measured a record 32.4 inches at Dulles International Airport. Another 6 to 16 inches are predicted to fall on the capital on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Roll Call’s “Heard on the Hill” blog first reported on the igloo Tuesday morning.
Inhofe’s press secretary, Matt Dempsey, told CNSNews.com that the senator had known what his family planned to do. “Absolutely, I think the senator was out there with them,” said Dempsey. “I would have to double check. But no, he was happy to have them do that.”
Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.)
Brad Johnson, who blogs for the liberal Center American Progress criticized the prank and tagged it in the category of “Radical Right-Wing Agenda.”
“In reality, winter snows do not invalidate the reality that the planet just experienced the hottest decade on record,” Johnson wrote. “Scientists have been warning for decades that global warming would increase the severity of winter storms.”
Inhofe has often sparred with Gore in the past over his stance that global climate change is an emergency caused by humans and that legislation to curb carbon emissions is required.
In December, Inhofe told Fox News anchor Sean Hannity that Gore should give back the Oscar and Nobel Prize that he won for his work on “An Inconvenient Truth” and for spreading the message on climate change. “Oh, yeah, I think it’d be great to give it back, but that’s not going to happen—you know that and I know that,” said Inhofe.
Former Vice President Al Gore, seen here at the climate summit in Copenhagen on Monday, Dec. 14, 2009, says new computer modeling suggests the Arctic Ocean may be nearly ice-free in the summertime as early as 2014. (AP Photo)
In March 2007, when Gore testified on global warming before the Environment and Public Works Committee, Inhofe confronted Gore with the allegation that his large home in Tennessee consumes nearly 20 times as much energy as the average American household, and challenged him to take a pledge to reduce that number. (See Chart.)
“There are hundreds of thousands of people who adore you and would follow your example by reducing their energy usage if you did,” Inhofe told Gore. “Don’t give us the run-around on carbon offsets or the gimmicks the wealthy do.”
“Are you willing to make a commitment here today by taking this pledge to consume no more energy for use in your residence than the average American household by one year from today?” said Inhofe.
The Web page for the minority on the committee keeps track of how long it has been since Gore refused the pledge: the total stands at 1,056 days, or nearly three years