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Our brave and noble Senate

Big news, everyone: The Senate did a thing! But wait, there’s even bigger news than that. The Senate did a thing on climate change. Kind of. Sort of. In a way. A symbolic non-binding basically meaningless way. But still!

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Are you confused? Confounded? Downright what-the-effed? Laughing so hard because this might some kind of, well, hoax? It is not a hoax. On Wednesday, the Senate voted on an amendment introduced by Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse, the purpose and full text of which is:

To express the sense of the Senate that climate change is real and not a hoax.

Ready for even bigger news? The amendment was co-sponsored by Republican James Inhofe. Yes, that James Inhofe. The senator from Oklahoma who is quite possibly the most anti-science member of his distinguished chamber, in an absurdly over-populated crowd of “I’m not a scientist” senators who are blatantly anti-science. The very same Inhofe who has given us such memorable insights as: “MoveOn.org, Michael Moore, and George Soros are responsible for the global warming hoax,” and “Climate alarmists see an opportunity here to tax the American people,” and this greatest of classics, connecting the hoax that is climate change to the uselessness that is unemployment benefits (and also Obama sucks, because that’s mandatory):

“It is a little bit humorous to me that we are talking about extending unemployment benefits in the midst of one of the most intense cold fronts in American history,” he said on the Senate floor. “I saw one newscaster yesterday who said: If you are under 40, you have not seen this stuff before. It has to make everyone question — and I am going to tie this together — whether global warming was ever real.” […]

“That is what makes global warming so important to mention as we debate the extension of unemployment benefits. If we want to improve our employment figures, what we need to do is stop the onslaught of environmental regulations that have come out during this Obama presidency.”

Yes, children, that James Inhofe. And yet:

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So is James Inhofe so stupid that he didn’t understand the entire 16 words of the bill that one might understandably think was specifically intended to make fun of him? Well, yes, he is that stupid, generally speaking. But on this particular amendment, he knew what he was doing. Or at least he seems to think so:

When offered the chance to speak on the amendment, Inhofe — did we detect a twinkle in his eye? — explained his unexpected argument. The climate changes all the time, he said, citing both scientific and “Biblical evidence.” There was a hoax: the idea that man was responsible. Such a position was “arrogant,” in his formulation, the idea that people could affect the mechanisms that controlled the globe. With that distinction drawn — the climate changes, and that change isn’t a hoax, even if the role of humans is — the vote was held.

Oh, zing, snap, gotcha, BURN! Inhofe tricked Democrats, and the rest of the Senate — except for the lone “no” voter, Mississippi Republican Roger Wicker, who couldn’t even go that far — into acknowledging that climate change is a real thing, but from the Bible (but not really; it says so in the Bible), but it is NOT caused by human beings doing stuff, therefore Inhofe wins! A first-class two-week vacation to whatever beach isn’t covered by God’s rising sea levels for you, Jim.

There were other similar amendments, not co-sponsored by Inhofe, that failed to pass in the Senate. For example, Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz proposed an amendment that not only stated “climate change is real,” but added “human activity significantly contributes to climate change.” That did not receive near-unanimous consensus. Only five Republicans — Lamar Alexander, Kelly Ayotte, Mark Kirk, Susan Collins, and Lindsey Graham — were willing to join all of the Democrats on that one. Gee, wonder why.

The passage of the amendment means absolutely nothing, in case you were wondering. Though the new majority leader, not-a-scientist Mitch McConnell, might well pat himself on the back for the Senate Doing A Thing! under his brave leadership. But this amendment does not compel Congress to act on climate change, on account of how, as its co-sponsor Inhofe gleefully explained, it merely acknowledges the existence of climate change but not the cause.

So we can all go about our lives now, knowing that even non-scientist climate-denying Senate Republicans are willing to admit climate change is not a hoax. That’s at least more than we can say for their Republican pals in the House, who maintain that so-called “climatologists” are just greedy bastards totally faking it to protect their get-rich-quick racket of publishing “studies” on “climate change” that is most definitely not real. Oh well. Baby steps.

[WaPo/Vox]

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