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Saturday, January 24, 2015

Promoting common sense in a chamber of fools

By Bob Plain in Rhode Island’s Future
Charts Charts Charts Climate Change animated GIF

The United States Senate is now on record, 98 to 1, that “climate change is real and not a hoax.”

That’s the language of an amendment Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse squeezed into a bill on the Keystone Pipeline, which was overwhelmingly approved – and even co-sponsored by Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe. No small feat, considering Inhofe, an infamous climate change denier, once wrote a book called, “The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future.”

Whitehouse chalked it up as a victory. “This resolution marks a historic shift for many of my Republican colleagues,” he said in a statement. “While a number of Republicans have long acknowledged that climate change is real, including Senator Graham who spoke once again today, many others either denied the science or refused to discuss it.”

But the beltway media suggests the idea may have backfired.

“Senate Republicans head-faked Democrats on climate change Wednesday, agreeing in a floor vote that the planet’s climate was changing, but blocking language that would have blamed human activity,” wrote Politico.

Inhofe countered that there exists “Biblical evidence” of climate change and blocked a vote on whether or not humans are contributing.

“It was a nifty, if insincere, bit of politics,” wrote the Washington Post. “There’s no question that a vote against a flat statement that climate change is real could have been problematic for candidates down the road — especially for those various Republican senators quietly preparing for the big election in 2016. With Inhofe’s re-framing the question, the Democrats, trying to engineer a gotcha moment, ended up empty-handed on the vote, with neither the satisfaction of nailing down opposition to scientific consensus and without a point of leverage for future discussions of addressing the warming planet.”

Whitehouse was pleased to have at least gained some consensus. “I was glad to see almost every Republican, including Senator Inhofe, acknowledge the reality of climate change today,” he said, “and I hope this means we can move on to discussing not just whether climate change is real, but what we should do about it.”

Bob Plain is the editor/publisher of Rhode Island's Future. Previously, he's worked as a reporter for several different news organizations both in Rhode Island and across the country.