Members of the Senate have gone on record on the topic of whether or not climate change is occurring as the result of human activity. As Wired‘s Victoria Tang observed, “United States Senators stood up for what they believed in today – the results aren’t pretty.” What she meant was that of the folks to whom we have entrusted the leadership of what is arguably the most powerful nation in the world, almost fully half made it clear that, in Tang’s words, they “think climate change is some other species’ problem”:
The Senate, by a 50-49 vote with 60 required, rejected the amendment to a Republican bill approving TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone XL oil pipeline. Republicans control the Senate 54-46.
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.
It’s no big surprise, I’m sure, that Missouri Republican Senator Roy Blunt is on the list of those voting against the amendment that affirmed the overwhelming scientific consensus that climate change is man made. As long as the fossil fuel industry shows him an adequate amount of love, he will always love them right back. Besides, doesn’t he stand up with the GOPers who claim they can’t legitimately have such an opinion because they’re not scientists? And unlike our President who has made it clear that he understands what goes into creating a scientific consensus, he’s part of that group of policy makers who want us to think that their lack of credentials excuses them from listening to any inconvenient scientific facts. As David Shiffman argues in Slate:
When politicians say “I’m not a scientist,” it is an exasperating evasion. It’s a cowardly way to avoid answering basic and important policy questions. This response raises lots of other important questions about their decision-making processes. Do they have opinions on how to best maintain our nation’s highways, bridges, and tunnels-or do they not because they’re not civil engineers? Do they refuse to talk about agriculture policy on the grounds that they’re not farmers? How do they think we should be addressing the threat of ISIS? They wouldn’t know, of course; they’re not military generals.
I’d like to hear Roy Blunt answer those questions.
Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill, on the other hand, voted with the “yeas.” She accepts the scientific verdict about anthropogenic climate change although, to judge by her past performance, she also thinks that it’s okay to ignore inconvenient facts. Or maybe, do you think, the fact that she went on the record this week might prompt more responsible action in the future? After all, McCaskill is one of those folks who goes on interminably about the rather iffy threat posed to our children by our federal debt. Maybe she’s finally getting equally worked up over the incontrovertible threat to their future well-being posed by climate change?
This is not to say that there’s not been progress on the topic. The Senators did vote 59-1 to affirm that climate change is not a hoax. We can take comfort from the fact that it’s now so obviously ridiculous to deny the fact of climate change that all but one of the Senate’s highly-motivated Republican fossil fuel champions would have been embarrassed to
affirm support that position in a public vote.
ADDENDUM: Digby explains why the vote to affirm the fact of a changing climate was a total joke. Hint: “The leaders of the free world are cretinous imbeciles.”
*1st sentence edited slightly for clarity.