What: All Issues : Environment : Global Warming : (S. 1) On an amendment to put Congress on record believing that climate change is real, but that construction of the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline would not make it worse (2015 senate Roll Call 11)
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(S. 1) On an amendment to put Congress on record believing that climate change is real, but that construction of the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline would not make it worse
senate Roll Call 11     Jan 21, 2015
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Loss

This vote was on an amendment putting Congress on record believing that climate change is real, but that construction of the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline would not make it worse.

Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND) offered the amendment during consideration of a bill authorizing construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. In response to a Democratic amendment stating that human activity contributes “significantly” to climate change, Sen. Hoeven offered one of his own. The amendment would have no real policy impact, but amounted to a statement by the Senate that climate change is real and caused at least in some part by humans. Sen. Hoeven’s amendment also stated – quoting an Obama administration environmental impact statement – that the Keystone XL pipeline could actually decrease greenhouse gas emissions.

Supporters of Sen. Hoeven’s amendment argued that it was symbolically important for the Senate to acknowledge the overwhelming scientific consensus that climate change was real and human-caused. While some might be concerned about the amendment’s assertions regarding the impact of the Keystone XL pipeline, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) said, this was an accurate quotation of the Obama administration’s environmental impact statement, and therefore the amendment still merited support.

“We are about to vote on something that I think will be recorded as a breakthrough moment in the climate debate.  For the first time we will go on record saying the following: Climate change is real and human activity contributes to climate change,” Sen. Boxer said.

Opponents of the amendment – a group that included Sen. Hoeven himself – argued that they were not convinced that climate change was driven by human activity. 

Climate is changing. Climate has always changed, and it always will,” Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) said. “There is archaeological evidence of that, there is biblical evidence, and there is historical evidence. It will always change. The hoax is that there are some people who are so arrogant, who think that they are so powerful that they can change the climate. Man can't change the climate.”

Even though 59 senators voted in favor of Sen. Hoeven’s amendment and only 40 voted “nay,” the amendment was defeated because it was brought up under Senate rules that require 60 votes for passage. Voting “yea” were 44 Democrats and 15 Republicans. Voting “nay” were 39 Republicans and 1 Democrat. As a result, the Senate defeated the effort to put Congress on record believing that climate change is real, but that construction of the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline would not make it worse.


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