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Senate on Climate Change? Yes, But Humans Not to Blame

Disagrees with half of America's Republicans As part of the vote on the Keystone XL pipeline, Democrats forced Senate members to state their beliefs for the record on climate change. Senators were first asked to vote on the amendment "It is the sense of the Senate that climate change is real and not a hoax" put forth by Rhode Island Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse, who has lectured the Senate weekly 84 times on the subject.

The vote was 98-to-1 in agreement, "a historic shift for many of my Republican colleagues", says Whitehouse. You are probably assuming that the lone vote against was from Oklahoma Republican James Inhofe, famous for saying that global warming is "the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people". But it wasn't. The lone vote was from Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi. Inhofe voted "aye", saying the true "hoax" is that climate change is the result of human activity.

A second vote on "climate change is real (and) human activity contributes to climate change" failed 59-40 to overcome a filibuster. That says a full 40% of the Senate doesn't think humans have had anything to do with the changing climate.

When "significantly" was added ("...human activity significantly contributes...") in a third vote, nine of the 59 fell away. Only 50 thought the human impact significant.

america disagrees

The votes against human contribution to climate change came from Republicans. No surprise there, as even the climate change issue is bafflingly politicized. But to illustrate just how behind the curve are the folks we send to the Senate, out came a poll at the same time that said half of American Republicans support government action to curb global warming and would vote for a candidate who campaigned on fighting climate change. The poll was conducted by a research organization for the New York Times, Stanford University and environmental group, Resources for the Future.

It will be interesting to see whether candidates for the 2016 Republican nomination take note of these findings. In the run-up to the 2012 election, all save Jon Huntsman denied the science and opposed any remedial action.

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