Only One Republican Senator Refused to Say “Climate Change Is Real”

22 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Only One Republican Senator Refused to Say ‘Climate Change Is Real’.

Washington • One of Congress’ most vocal skeptics of climate change is backing a measure saying it is real and not a hoax — but says it’s arrogance to believe human beings are causing it.House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) has labeled the immigration reform bill the House is looking to bring to the floor for a vote next week “the most significant and toughest border security bill ever set before Congress,” but members from both sides of the aisle say the legislation doesn’t pass muster. “This is a horror of a bill,” Rep. Senate Democrats are maneuvering to put Republicans on the record as denying that humans cause climate change, laying groundwork on a contentious issue as part of their strategy to retake the majority in 2016.

Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) told The Hill. “The cost is enormous, and it’s just impossible for the Homeland Security Department, I believe, to even engage in some of the responsibilities being asked for.” According to The Hill, McCaul’s bill is “designed to secure the southern border by requiring the Homeland Security Department to block all illegal migrations within five years, or two years for high-traffic regions.” But some lawmakers like Rep. Way back in 1990, the world’s climate scientists had warned that if we kept burning fossil fuels, the planet would get hotter. “Emissions resulting from human activities are substantially increasing the atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases,” those scientists wrote in the first Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report. “These increases will enhance the greenhouse effect, resulting on average in an increase in global warming.” And they said it yet again in 2014.

The Senate on Wednesday, by a vote of 50-49 with 60 votes required, rejected an amendment that would have designated climate change as a man-made event. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.) say that the bill is more than just difficult to implement — it’s also just bad policy. “This needs a big fix, and tinkering on the edges doesn’t solve it,” Becerra said. “And trying to avoid dealing with the tough issues is a wimpy way to make policy in Washington, D.C.” Not all of McCaul’s criticism is coming from the left, though.

In that last big report, in fact, climate scientists said they were now 95 percent sure that human influence was the dominant cause of global warming since 1950. Brian Schatz of Hawaii and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, were non-binding resolutions, but they put lawmakers on record with a rare series of votes on the issue — and with unusual results. “I’m hoping that after many years of darkness and blockade, this vote can be a first little beam of light through the wall that will allow us to at least start having an honest conversation about what carbon pollution is doing to our climate and and to our oceans,” Whitehouse said prior to the votes. Jeff Sessions of Alabama echoed the Democrats’ frustration with the immigration legislation, saying, “We cannot be satisfied with measures that create the appearance of doing something while changing little.” At last, something both sides can agree on. The vote was tacked on as an amendment to a bill aiming to legalize the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would transport oil between Canada and the United States.

Jim Inhofe, the chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, voted for the amendment and asked to be a co-sponsor. “Climate is changing and climate has always changed and always will,” said Inhofe, author of The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future. “There is archaeological evidence of that, there is biblical evidence of that, there is historical evidence of that. Senate really are.” The amendment, offered by Senator Brian Schatz, a Hawaii Democrat, would have deemed that “climate change is real” and that “human activity significantly contributes” to it. “Obviously, it’s a very politically motivated vote,” he said. “They would love to get a bunch of Republicans voting against those amendments.” Five Republicans voted in favor of Schatz’s amendment — Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Susan Collins of Maine, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Mark Kirk of. With most Republicans opposed, an amendment stating so fell a single senator short of the 60-vote threshold (this is the Senate, after all) for passage. Republicans next year must defend 24 Senate seats compared with 10 for Democrats, a reversal from the past two elections when significantly more Senate Democrats were on the ballot.

In short, Democrats were trying to take advantage of a pledge by the new Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, to open up the floor to amendments after years in which Republicans complained that Harry Reid shut down debate, and shut down the minority party. Of those Republican seats, seven are in states that President Barack Obama won in 2008 and 2012, making Democrats optimistic about their prospects of regaining a majority. Before the vote, he explained that while the climate does change, the idea that man is responsible is a “hoax.” It is actually arrogant, said Inhofe, to assume that man has the power to affect the climate.

In the past, Wicker, the new chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, has said that scientific data on rising global temperatures is not conclusive. “President Obama continues to defend his aggressive policies with assertions that global temperatures are on the rise—a notion challenged by scientists and scholars,” he said in a 2013 press release. “The recorded temperatures were much lower than the predictions from climate models often cited by the President and global warming activists.” But from a legislative standpoint, they wanted a baseline vote to see just how far they needed to go to persuade the GOP to support federal policies—a carbon tax, for example—aimed at reversing climate change. In 2009, under then Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, House Democrats narrowly approved a climate change bill to cap carbon emissions, but it never received a vote in the Senate where it did not have the 60 votes it needed to overcome a filibuster that included Democratic opposition.

Lawmakers pointed to the climate change votes as proof that the Senate was making good on that pledge. “This has been a surprisingly productive day in the U.S. The votes came a day after President Obama’s State of the Union address in which he tweaked a popular Republican talking point on global climate change. “I’ve heard some folks try to dodge the evidence by saying they’re not scientists, that we don’t have enough information to act.

But you know what, I know a lot of really good scientists at NASA, and NOAA, and at our major universities,” Obama said, noting that the world scientific community is in broad agreement that man-made activities are contributing to climate change.

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