Senate Votes 98-1 That Climate Change ‘Is Not A Hoax’

22 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

By 98 to 1, U.S. Senate passes amendment saying climate change is real, not a hoax.

WASHINGTON (AP) — 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. The vote came on an amendment to legislation that aims to force approval of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry oil from the Canadian oil sands to the United States.AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Republicans in the Texas Senate have strengthened their majority power, shrugging off decades of tradition with a rules change that scraps Democrats’ ability to block bills on party-line votes.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has promised an open amendment process on the bill to approve the Keystone pipeline, and on Wednesday the Senate will take up six of those amendments—two of which are Democratic efforts that will put Republicans on the spot: Are you a climate change denier or not? Brian Schatz (D- Hawaii) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) call on Congress to recognize the scientific link between climate change and human activity and seek to make Republicans take tough votes ahead of the 2016 election cycle.

And yes, as mentioned above, James Inhofe, who literally wrote the book on how global warming is a hoax (titled The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future), voted yes. Schatz’s amendment offers a sense of the Senate amendment that the U.S. should take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and encourage other nations to do the same.

Independent Senator Bernie Sanders’s has a third amendment, stating the U.S. has a responsibility to act on pollution, which could be taken up at a later point. The climate amendments come one day after President Barack Obama’s State of the Union, in which he took a swipe at a common conservative excuse for dodging questions about climate change science. “I’m not a scientist, either,” he said. “But you know what I know a lot of really good scientists at NASA, and NOAA, and at our major universities.

The best scientists in the world are all telling us that our activities are changing the climate, and if we do not act forcefully, we’ll continue to see rising oceans, longer, hotter heat waves, dangerous droughts and floods, and massive disruptions that can trigger greater migration, conflict, and hunger around the globe.” As Democrats go on the offensive over climate change, the GOP is starting to wish the issue would just disappear. Earlier Jan. 20, the Senate voted down Democrat amendments to the bill that would have required the pipeline to be built with domestically produced steel and require the that oil and refined products from the pipeline be used in the U.S.

But they share one thing in common: that lawmakers should at least accept climate science, regardless of party affiliation. “We may not agree on the solutions, on the paths forward, or even on some of the details, but I do believe it’s time for us to begin to agree on a basic set of facts,” said Senator Brian Schatz (D–HI), who is offering a climate amendment, on the Senate floor today. Not only did Joni Ernst’s response to Obama’s address not mention climate, she left out her usual charge that Environmental Protection Agency’s regulations harm the economy. Republicans immediately called the Democrats’ efforts a distraction. “If you’re using climate change as a reason not to build this pipeline, you’re kidding yourself or you’re misleading the public,” said Senator Lindsey Graham (R–SC) during the debate. “It has absolutely nothing to do with the issue in this regard.” The Senate is likely to take up at least two Democratic amendments. There is historical evidence of that.” Inhofe added that while the climate is changing, the real hoax is that “there are some people who are so arrogant to think they are so powerful they can change climate.”

The Washington Examiner’s Zack Colman reported Monday that Republicans are regrouping to consider a new strategy on climate. “They’re going to try to drag their feet as long as possible, but there are certain things out there that could bring the predominant GOP position to light,” Ford O’Connell, a GOP strategist and former adviser to John McCain, told Colman. “They want to at least have a unified position and they want to be able to have their ducks in a row. The bill, the The Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2015, includes measures passed in the House in the 113th Congress that would loosen energy efficiency standards for grid-enabled water heaters and promote energy efficiency in commercial buildings.

Hoeven’s amendment is designed as an alternative for moderate Republicans who may be worried about going against a scientific consensus on climate change.” Senator Bernie Sanders (I–VT), a Democratic-aligned independent, has suggested that he would push for a vote on an another amendment of his own, but it wasn’t on the Senate’s agenda for the day. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) would exempt coal waste power plants from portions of two EPA regulations: the Cross State Air Pollution Rule and the Utility MACT Rule. “If the regs go into effect, the plants close, then waste piles remain and continue to degrade water and air quality and event endanger public health,” according to a summary of the amendment provided by Toomey’s office.

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