I watched the Senate debate something that virtually the entire world has accepted as un-debatable.

time 1974

Senator Inhofe deploys 1970’s era graphics of a 1970’s era magazine article to renounce climate change.

Peter Dykstra in Environmental Health News:

The day after President Obama dropped some snark on climate deniers in the State of the Union Address, I made a terrible mistake. I watched the Senate debate something that virtually the entire world has accepted as un-debatable.

The Senate voted on whether or not climate change is human-caused. According to the Senate, it is, by a plurality of one. Forty-nine senators formally went on the record as climate deniers.

All day Wednesday and into Thursday, the Great Deliberative Body pored over pros and cons of the Keystone XL Pipeline. Jobs!! Thousands of them!! (or dozens of them according to the State Department’s count of permanent jobs).

Keystone’s impact on climate change also was prominent in the debate. In what at the moment seemed a masterful parliamentary move, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) tagged a simple amendment onto bill S-1, the Keystone XL Pipeline Act. Whitehouse, the Senate’s most outspoken advocate for climate action, proposed a one-sentence, non-binding statement: “It is the sense of the Senate that climate change is real and not a hoax.”

Astoundingly, it passed 98 votes to 1. Among the positive votes was Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), author of the book “The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future.” Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) was the lone dissenter.

One by one, Republicans took to the Senate floor and asserted that the climate is changing, it’s always changing, and humans have nothing to do with it. The out-parliamented Whitehouse suddenly looked like the Distinguished Senator from Wile E. Coyote.

Enter Democrat Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) with another amendment: Climate change is real and significantly caused by human activity. For all but five Republican Senators, that was going too far.

Five Republicans crossed over to reality and voted for Schatz’s amendment. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) sided with 45 Democrats, whose leader, Harry Reid, sat this one out due to a recent injury. The 50-49 plurality for the amendment is actually a defeat, though, since Senate rules require 60 votes on a “non-germane” amendment.

In the Great Deliberative Body, it’s not good enough for 49 senators to ignore the virtual scientific consensus and growing body of on-the-ground evidence, you need to double down – especially with dozens of American citizens like me following your every word on C-SPAN 2.

John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) blamed the media. Despite voting for the Schatz amendment, Lindsey Graham accused Democrats of using “gimmicks” and “tricks” to call attention to climate change. He tossed in the “I am not a scientist” meme for good measure. New Senator Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) stumped to bring offshore oil drilling to his home state.

Then came Inhofe. He took to the floor at about 6pm Wednesday, and again Thursday morning, performing virtually the entire climate denial songbook. Deploying the Senate’s less than state-of-the-art AV system of posterboards on an easel, Inhofe displayed a Heartland Institute climate science poster (You may recall that Heartland is the group that bought an ill-advised freeway billboard likening climate change advocates to the Unabomber). Then came another poster showing the 1974 Time Magazine piece on global cooling.

Can you name another science issue where a back-page magazine piece from more than forty years ago becomes a cornerstone argument?

Inhofe also came perilously close to denying that he’d ever called climate change a hoax. Denying science can be really harmful, but if you deny the title of your own book, you may have some unresolved issues. And in fairness, after watching the Senate twist its own drawers over this for a day and a half, I may have some of my own.



10 thoughts on “I watched the Senate debate something that virtually the entire world has accepted as un-debatable.

  1. I wonder what caused the great dust bowl, Must have been all the horses crapping i guess. Just look through history climate does change. Maybe can see that climate does change all on it own. But please someone tell me how Keystone pipeline effects climate?The oil will still get where it is going either through u.s or not. But hey cheap gas is a direct result of private land oil production.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Actually, it had a lot to do with mono-culture, which is caused by man. But keep listening to bible-thumping morons…how could that go wrong?

      Liked by 1 person

    • The oil that will flow thru the KeystonePipeline is currently transported by trucks and trains. They both spew pollutants into the air. Therefore, the pipeline will immediately begin reducing pollution.


    • GetAClue:

      Bible thumping morons? I thought we were Godless Heathen Morons. You guys need to consult with each other about this sort of stuff… it confuses us morons.

      But I’ll give you credit where credit is due… it wasn’t Climate Change that caused the Dust Bowl. Score one for your side.

      However… the Dust Bowl is an excellent example of how humanity’s thoughtless tampering with the environment can leave to catastrophe’s of Biblical proportions (I’m trying to keep with your religious theme, hope that makes you feel more at home).

      In that sense the Dust Bowl is a very good argument against those who claim Humankind’s activities could never lead to a global holocaust.

      Because it can. Because it has.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. If these guys were on the Dukes of Hazard I’d laugh.

    But these guys are running the country (or trying to, anyway). That inspires a different kind of laughter where you laugh and laugh and then you can’t breath but you still laugh and laugh and you can’t stop although you want to and then you throw up and faint dead away so your relatives call an ambulance and take you to the emergency room and you wind up with a $5000 medical bill and the advice to “take it easy next time”.

    I don’t feel so good…

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Mario Molina is an atmospheric chemist who won the Nobel Prize for work that led to the discovery and reduction of the atmospheric ozone hole. Al Gore is the man who received the most votes in the American Presidential election which ended with the Supreme Court installing Mr. Bush in the Oval Office. Gore interviews Molina about global warming.

    It’s interesting. I find it impossible to watch without wondering what my country would be like today if the man who got the most votes for President had become President, instead of the guy the Supreme Court voted for.


    Liked by 3 people

  4. I find it impossible to travel without wondering why the residents of so many city’s fail to go downtown to address their glaring social, environmental, or economic problems.

    When I return home, it all becomes so clear.

    Liked by 1 person

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