What Fresh Hell Is This?

January 24, 2015

Senator Pat Toomey - A Science Denier, Still

Let's start at PennLive:
One of the thorniest issues pestering Republicans these days - climate change - was front and center in the U.S. Senate this week, but if you try to make sense of what happened, you might get a headache.

On the surface, it might seem as if Republicans, after long being reticent about the issue, finally came out on the side of most Americans and voted to affirm that climate change is real and not a hoax. But beyond the surface little has changed.

Sen. Pat Toomey is a good example. Long non-committed on his views about the scientific basis for climate change, the Lehigh Valley Republican this week voted in favor of the so-called "hoax" amendment.
This is absolutely true.  There were three amendments to the Keystone XL Pipeline Act voted on by the US Senate this week - and Toomey's changing vote tells us where he stands regarding science.

First the amendment he voted for.  This would be the amendment submitted by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and it reads like this (from the Congressional Record):
SA 29. Mr. WHITEHOUSE submitted an amendment intended to be proposed to amendment SA 2 proposed by Ms. MURKOWSKI (for herself, Mr. HOEVEN, Mr. BARRASSO, Mr. RISCH, Mr. LEE, Mr. FLAKE, Mr. DAINES, Mr. MANCHIN, Mr. CASSIDY, Mr. GARDNER, Mr. PORTMAN, Mr. ALEXANDER, and Mrs. CAPITO) to the bill S. 1, to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline; which was ordered to lie on the table; as follows:

On page 3, between lines 19 and 20, insert the following:

SEC. __. SENSE OF THE SENATE REGARDING CLIMATE CHANGE.

It is the sense of the Senate that climate change is real and not a hoax.
So Senator Toomey voted for that.

Then a few minutes the Senate voted on another "Sense of Congress" amendment - this one submitted by Senator John Hoeven of North Dakota.  For the sake of this discussion, the important stuff is this:
(1) ``[W]arming of the climate system is unequivocal and each of the last [3] decades has been successively warmer at the Earth's surface than any preceding decade since 1850.'';

(2) ``The [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change], in addition to other institutions, such as the National Research Council and the United States (U.S.) Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), have concluded that it is extremely likely that global increases in atmospheric [greenhouse gas] concentrations and global temperatures are caused by human activities.'';
And this:
(1) climate change is real; and

(2) human activity contributes to climate change.
Senator Toomey voted for that one, too.

But then there was another vote.  For this Sense of Congress amendment.  The important stuff is this:
(1) ``[W]arming of the climate system is unequivocal and each of the last [3] decades has been successively warmer at the Earth's surface than any preceding decade since 1850.'';

(2) ``The [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change], in addition to other institutions, such as the National Research Council and the United States (U.S.) Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), have concluded that it is extremely likely that global increases in atmospheric [greenhouse gas] concentrations and global temperatures are caused by human activities.'';
And this:
(1) climate change is real; and

(2) human activity significantly contributes to climate change.
Senator Pat Toomey voted against that one.

Notice anything different?

The word "significantly."

Let's sum up.  According to his voting record this week, Pennsylvania Senator Toomey agrees with each of these statements:
  • Climate change is real
  • Climate change not a hoax
  • Each of the last 3 decades has been successively warmer
  • The IPCC concluded that it's "extremely likely" that increases in greenhouse gas concentrations and global temperatures are caused by human activities
  • However, human activity does not significantly contribute to climate change.
That last statement is exactly not what scientists have been telling the Senate for almost 30 years:
The earth has been warmer in the first five months of this year than in any comparable period since measurements began 130 years ago, and the higher temperatures can now be attributed to a long-expected global warming trend linked to pollution, a space agency scientist reported today.
Here's the thing.  Senator Toomey is up for reelection in 2016.  He's going to be out on the campaign trail talking about a number of issues for some time.  And presumably someone somewhere is going to ask about his views on climate change.

If he says that he agrees climate change is not a hoax and that human activity contributes to the warming of the planet but fails to mention that he doesn't think that that contribution is significant, we'll know he's lying.  It'll be a straightforward lie by omission.

And if no one in the media calls him on it, we'll know they didn't do their homework.  Or they did and they're giving him a pass on it.

As of right now, he's still a climate science denier, no matter what sort of political cover he thinks those first two votes gave him.

Comments, Senator?

1 comment:

Heir to the Throne said...

You should update them to.
1) catastrophic anthropogenic global warming is real;
(2) catastrophic anthropogenic global warming is [mainly] caused by human activities;
(3) catastrophic anthropogenic global warming 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.
(6) it is imperative that the United States pass a punitive carbon tax to address catastrophic anthropogenic global warming and transfer all revenues received to the poor in the US and abroad.