With Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell promising an open debate on the Keystone XL pipeline bill, Senator Bernie Sanders, the maverick Independent from Vermont, has crafted a beauty of an amendment. He plans to offer a “sense of Congress” resolution in the debate asking each senator if he or she agrees with “the opinion of virtually the entire worldwide scientific community” that climate change is a factually proven problem resulting in “devastating problems in the United States and around the world.”And here's the resolution:
It is the sense of Congress that Congress is in agreement with the opinion of virtually the entire worldwide scientific community that—Given that, according to Thinkprogress, 38 Republican Senators are climate science deniers the resolution has little chance of passing. However it'll get all of them on the record - either agreeing with the science or disagreeing with it.
(1) climate change is real;
(2) climate change is caused by human activities;
(3) climate change has already caused devastating problems in the United States and around the world;
(4) a brief window of opportunity exists before the United States and the entire planet suffer irreparable harm; and
(5) it is imperative that the United States transform its energy system away from fossil fuels and toward energy efficiency and sustainable energy as rapidly as possible.
So how would Pennsylvania's two senators do with such a vote? Of course, until it happens, one can only guess. But there are some tantalizing clues.
For example this Senate resolution from 2007. It starts with this:
Expressing the sense of the Senate regarding the need for the United States to address global climate change through the negotiation of fair and effective international commitments.As Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey was a cosponsor of the resolution, it's probably safe to guess that he'd vote in favor of the Sanders resolution.
Whereas there is a scientific consensus, as established by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and confirmed by the National Academy of Sciences, that the continued buildup of anthropogenic greenhouse gases in the atmosphere threatens the stability of the global climate;
Then there's Senator Pat Toomey. Take a look at this from Huffingtonpost:
Pennsylvania Senate candidate Pat Toomey drew headlines when he said in a local radio interview on Friday, that the degree to which human activity is to blame for global warming is being "very much disputed" and "debated."Now I realize this was waaay back in 2010, but even back then there definitely was not "much debate in the scientific community" regarding climate science.
It's not the first time he's made the argument.
"There is much debate in the scientific community as to the precise sources of global warming," Toomey claimed in June.
However, if you go to the P-G for the rest of the quotation you'll find this:
The candidates also differ on the core issue of global warming, and whether climate legislation would do anything to alleviate it. Unlike some conservative figures, Mr. Toomey acknowledges that global warming exists but he is an agnostic on the crucial question of whether it is a product of human activity.At least he gets it right when he recognizes that the planet is warming up. He's just wrong in not recognizing the causes.
"There's no question that the Earth's surface temperature has increased," he said in a statement. "There is much debate in the scientific community as to the precise sources of global warming. There is no doubt that the proposed cap-and-trade 'solution' would do nothing to stop global warming but would be devastating to jobs and the economy in Pennsylvania."
I'm not a scientist and even I can see that.
We'll see how the former president of the pro-business Club For Growth votes on the science.
My guess is that it'll be a no. But I want it on the record anyway. For the world to see. Everyone. Everywhere. I want everyone to know whether Pat Toomey recognizes the validity of Climate Science.