Senate says climate change real, disagrees on cause

22 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Follow “Jamie DupreeThe series of votes publicly tested Republicans’ stance on global warming just days after two federal agencies declared 2014 the hottest year on record and hours after President Barack Obama called global warming one of the greatest threats to future generations. 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 Republicans head-faked Democrats on climate change Wednesday, agreeing in a floor vote that the planet’s climate was changing, but blocking language that would have blamed human activity.

United States senators are now on the record on the question of whether climate change is “a hoax.” But a majority of the Senate, including 15 Republicans, are also on record stating that human activity contributes to climate change. 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. The Braves drove us to distraction and brought “termination” to Frank Wren, the general manager who built them, by swinging big, missing big and spitting the bit in September. 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. Jim Inhofe, their most vocal denier of humans’ effect on the climate, joining a leading liberal in a symbolic vote on whether global warming is “real and not a hoax.” “There is archeological evidence of that, there’s Biblical evidence of” the climate changing, Inhofe, the chairman of the Environment and Public Works panel, said on the floor before signing onto a proposal from Sen.

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 climate science squabble broke out during debate over amendments to the bill to approve the Keystone XL pipeline that is all but certain to draw a presidential veto once it passes the Senate, which could happen as soon as next week. But “there are some people who are so arrogant to think they are so powerful they can change climate.” Many other Republicans were also unwilling to back measures Wednesday that said human activities — primarily the burning of fossil fuels in vehicles, power plants and factories — contributed to the warming of the planet. The vast majority of scientists have cited pollution from fossil fuels, chiefly emissions of carbon dioxide, as the main culprit in the Earth’s temperature rise.

Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, said that “climate change is real and human activity significantly contributes to it.” The amendment needed 60 votes to pass. Democrats have repeatedly needled the Kentucky Republican over his promise to hold an “open” debate on the pipeline bill, accusing McConnell of breaking his vow by not allowing open-ended amendments from any senator. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, who chairs the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, objected to the word “significantly” — even though her state is feeling greater impacts from climate change than anyplace else. Many Republicans have either denied the science of climate change or distanced themselves from it, saying they don’t have the expertise to issue an opinion.

Still, even Schatz’s language and the inclusion of phrasing that humans were “significantly” responsible for climate change drew some Republican votes, despite the plea from Alaska Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte (N.H.), Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), Susan Collins (Maine), Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and Mark Kirk (Ill.). “It’s okay with me if they do messaging if it makes them feel better,” Sen. The question is what you do about it.” Besides McCain and Paul, Senate Republicans who voted for Hoeven’s proposal were Murkowski, Jeff Flake (Ariz.), Graham, Alexander, Collins, Pat Toomey (Pa.), Mike Rounds (S.D.), Rob Portman (Ohio), Dean Heller (Nev.), Orrin Hatch (Utah), Ayotte, Kirk, and Bob Corker (Tenn.). Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., backed both amendments.) The Senate is fast-tracking Keystone XL at a moment when oil prices are falling, and oil companies are scaling back investments in Alberta’s vast tar sands project.

Barbara Boxer (Calif.), said she had asked Hoeven about opposing his own amendment. ”He said, ‘Because I was threatened that this [Keystone] bill would fail if this was on it.’ So that’s what happened,” she told reporters. The climate tussle “is unfolding exactly the way a lot of us wanted because we wanted to have finally a debate and see where the chips fall,” Boxer added. “And where the chips fall is we’re making progress.”

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