The Keystone XL bill that recently passed in the Senate included an amendment acknowledging that climate change is real but subsequent amendments failed to get Senators to endorse the scientific basis of its anthropocentric origins.
Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) introduced an amendment to the Keystone bill that acknowledged that climate change is “real and not a hoax.” With the exception of Roger Wicker (R-MS), the motion was unanimously approved.
Although Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) was added as a co-sponsor on the Whitehouse amendment, he revealed his true climate denying identity when he said “The hoax is that there are some people who are so arrogant to think that they can change climate, Man cannot change climate.”
Inhofe repeatedly embarrasses himself and the nation with statements like man-made climate change is a Liberal tax grab that “was cooked up by the United Nations.”
Immediately before the vote on his amendment Whitehouse said, “I’m hoping that after many years of darkness and blockade that this vote can be a first little beam of light through the wall that will at least allow us to start having an honest conversation about what carbon pollution is doing to our climate and to our oceans.”
Amendments that attribute climate change to man-man causes failed to secure the necessary votes. One such amendment was brought forth by Bernie Sanders (I–VT). His amendment
had the support of the majority of Senators but a final vote of 56 to 42 vote, was 4 votes shy of the 60 needed to be adopted.
Other anthropogenic climate change amendments also failed to secure the necessary votes. One by Republican John Hoeven (R-ND) failed with a vote of 59 for and 40 against. Another by Democrat Brian Schatz (D-H) received 50 yea votes to 49 nays.
It is hard to understand how elected officials can flout good science the way Republicans do. Some like political analyst Jonathan Chait have argued that such ignorance should disqualify someone from their right to hold public office.
However, some Senators have a different take on recent events in the Senate. Sanders appeared optimistic after the amendments on anthropocentric climate change were defeated, “I think this is a significant step forward, and I think in the months and years to come more and more Republicans will accept that position,” he said.
Whitehouse said, “It starts by admitting you have a problem, just like many other areas of human life.”