Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Climate Change Debate Heats up between U.S. Senators

Climate
Climate Change Debate Heats up between U.S. Senators

Sen. Bernie Sanders

Photo by Joe Chung via Flickr.

In a summer of record heat, severe drought, extreme storms, melting glaciers and raging wildfires, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) today challenged claims by a leading Republican senator who dismisses global warming as a "hoax."

Sanders, in a  speech prepared for delivery to the Senate today, rebutted what he called "myths" espoused by Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), the ranking Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. "Many who take climate science seriously dismiss Sen. Inhofe. I believe that is a huge mistake," Sanders said of the Senate panel's former chairman. "For better or worse, when Sen. Inhofe speaks, the Republican Party follows. And when the Republican Party follows, it is impossible to get real work done in the Congress."

Inhofe's No. 1 myth, according to Sanders, is that "real scientists" say global warming is a hoax. In fact, the scientific consensus is nearly unanimous. "Global warming is unequivocal and primarily human-induced," according to the U.S. Global Change Research Program, which is made up of scientists at NASA, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the departments of defense, agriculture, energy, state, health, transportation, commerce and interior.

The U.S. National Academy of Sciences and academies in Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Africa and the United Kingdom all say "the need for urgent action to address climate change is now indisputable." Moreover, 18 scientific professional societies including the American Geophysical Union, the American Chemical Society and others say "climate change is occurring, and rigorous scientific research demonstrates that the greenhouse gases emitted by human activities are the primary driver."

"The bottom line,' Sanders said, "is that when Senator Inhofe says global warming is a hoax, he is just dead wrong according to the vast majority of climate scientists."

Another Inhofe myth is that the planet is cooling. Studies by NASA, based on records dating back a century, found that nine of the 10 warmest years on record occurred since 2000. Numerous other studies back up that conclusion.

Sanders said strong action to cut emissions would generate substantial energy savings, create good-paying jobs and help the economy grow. The cost of doing nothing, Sanders added, is already mounting. According to the insurance industry, property damage from extreme weather increased in the U.S. from $3 billion a year in the 1980's to $20 billion a year today.

"Unlike Sen. Inhofe, most Americans are seeing the evidence of global warming with their own eyes," Sanders said. So far this year, 2.1 million acres in the western U.S. have burned in wildfires, two-thirds of the country is experiencing drought, extreme summer storms have flooded parts of the Midwest and Atlantic seaboard and the last 12 months were the warmest 12-month period on record in the U.S.. Since last Jan. 1, cities and regions in the U.S. have set 40,000 records for high temperatures, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

"The bad news is if we do nothing, the science is clear that temperatures will continue to increase, sea levels will continue to rise and extreme weather will become more frequent and devastating," Sanders said. "The good news is we have the technology to cut emissions today through efficiency and solar, wind, geothermal and biomass.

"It is time for Congress to get serious about global warming, and to work to transform our energy system. That starts by making sure that in this, the so-called greatest deliberative body, we deliberate with facts not myths," Sanders concluded.

Visit EcoWatch's CLIMATE CHANGE page for more related news on this topic.

 

Kelsey Mueller, 16, pets Ruby while waiting with her family to be escorted from the evacuation zone at the Shaver Lake Marina parking lot off of CA-168 during the Creek Fire on Sept. 7, 2020 in Shaver Lake, California. Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times / Getty Images

By Daisy Simmons

In a wildfire, hurricane, or other disaster, people with pets should heed the Humane Society's advice: If it isn't safe for you, it isn't safe for your animals either.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

The growing Texas solar industry is offering jobs to unemployed oil and gas professionals. King Lawrence / Getty Images

The growing Texas solar industry is offering a safe harbor to unemployed oil and gas professionals amidst the latest oil and gas industry bust, this one brought on by the novel coronavirus pandemic, the Houston Chronicle reports.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A 2019 Basel Convention amendment targeting plastic waste exports went into effect on Jan. 1. Boris Horvat / AFP / Getty Images

This month, a new era began in the fight against plastic pollution.

Read More Show Less
Reindeers at their winter location in northern Sweden on Feb. 4, 2020, near Ornskoldsvik. JONATHAN NACKSTRAND / AFP via Getty Images

Sweden's reindeer have a problem. In winter, they feed on lichens buried beneath the snow. But the climate crisis is making this difficult. Warmer temperatures mean moisture sometimes falls as rain instead of snow. When the air refreezes, a layer of ice forms between the reindeer and their meal, forcing them to wander further in search of ideal conditions. And sometimes, this means crossing busy roads.

Read More Show Less
The Great Lakes, including Lake Michigan, experienced some of their warmest temperatures on record in the summer of 2020. Ken Ilio / Moment / Getty Images

Heatwaves are not just distinct to the land. A recent study found lakes are susceptible to temperature rise too, causing "lake heatwaves," The Independent reported.

Read More Show Less