The Senate Actually Just Acknowledged Climate Change Is Real

22 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Keystone Debate: Senate Votes on Dueling Climate Change Amendments.

The 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.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. 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. 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.

But “there are some people who are so arrogant to think they are so powerful they can change climate.” Many in his party 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. 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. The vast majority of scientists have cited pollution from fossil fuels, chiefly emissions of carbon dioxide, as the chief culprit in the Earth’s temperature rise. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.), said on the Senate floor, later criticizing ideas by Democrats for addressing the issue. “The solutions coming from our Democratic friends about how to deal with greenhouse gas emissions turn our economy upside down.” Five Republicans—Mr.

Man can’t change climate.” “I almost hate to use my minute because I am so eager to hear what is said during the minute that our Energy Chairman will follow me with,” said Whitehouse before the vote. “But I’m hoping that after many years of darkness and blockade that this can be a first little vote 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 to our oceans. In a surprise, he actually voted for Wednesday’s amendment, “but he made clear he doesn’t believe humans are the primary driver of climate change” said The Hill. 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. 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.” The amendments would not have substantively changed the bill or any other aspect of federal policy—they merely stated what “the sense of the Senate” was on the topic.

Schatz’s amendment was the most controversial because it explicitly stated human activity “significantly” contributes to climate change. “I think this is a significant step forward,” Sen. 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. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), said. “I think in the months and years to come more and more Republicans will accept that position.” Republicans responded with an amendment by Sen. That the Senate wasn’t able to do the same on Wednesday is telling of how increasingly political the question of human-caused climate change has become in the last decade.

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. The amendments are part of the Senate’s underlying debate over legislation to authorize the Keystone XL oil pipeline, which President Obama has threatened to veto in part because a State Department review of the project is still underway. In his speech, Obama said “no challenge poses a greater threat to future generations.” Because the votes are non-binding, there are no real implications beyond the political. 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. James Inhofe (R., Okla.) wrote in 2012 denying climate-change science, titled “The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future.” Mr.

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