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Figured this would be a good way to star your day.  Senator James "Global Warming Is A Hoax" Inhofe (R. OK) blocked a Senate resolution that would have simply stated that climate change is real.  He claims that the earth has experienced "no warming for the last 15 years and because of a petition signed by 9,000 scientists has expressed doubt that greenhouse gases cause climate change.  Luckily, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D. RI) took to the Senate floor to royally debunk the infamous climate denier's remarks:

Whitehouse began by addressing one of Inhofe’s most oft-used arguments against the existence of climate change — that the earth’s atmospheric temperature has not risen in the last 15 years.

That “little rhetorical device” Inhofe is using fails to consider two things, Whitehouse said. One, is that more than 90 percent of the heat generated from increased carbon emissions gets absorbed into the ocean, not into the atmosphere. Two, is that any changes in ocean temperature will eventually have “a pronounced effect” on atmospheric temperature. Indeed, recent studies show that global temperatures are set to rise rapidly in the face of our increasingly warm and acidic oceans.

“To say that we have no warming is just not factual,” he said.

Next, Whitehouse took on Inhofe’s assertion that federal government agencies — The Department of Defense, NASA, and NOAA, for example — were colluding to promote environmentalists’ agendas. “Colluding together. That’s a fairly tough word to use,” he began.

    Whitehouse: Let me tell you some of the government agencies who are so-called colluding together. How about NASA? We trust them to send our astronauts into space. We trust them to deliver a rover the size of an S.U.V. to the surface of Mars safely and drive it around, sending data and pictures back from Mars to us. You think these people know what they’re talking about? … How about the United States Navy? The commander in chief of our Pacific Command? Is he colluding when he says that? …

    If you want to ignore the federal government, if you live in a world in which you think the federal government colludes with itself to make up things that aren’t true, okay. But look at the property casualty insurance and reinsurance industry. They’re the people with the biggest bet on this. They have billions of dollars riding on getting it right, and they say climate change is real, carbon pollution is causing it, we’ve got to do something about it. So does the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, because they care about the poor and the effect this will have on the people who have the least. So does every major U.S. scientific society. Every single one.

Whitehouse then ripped into Inhofe for citing the Petition Project, which purportedly features over 31,000 scientists –9,000 with PhDs — signing a petition stating “there is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide will, in the forseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere.”

“I’m told that among the names on that petition are the Spice Girls,” Whitehouse said, “It’s almost a comedic effort.”

“The fact you can’t find 9,000 people who think the earth is flat is a bit of a stretch, and the idea that we should base our policy on a petition that imaginary people are on rather than on what NASA and NOAA and the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and every major scientific society and the entire property casualty reinsurance industry are telling us, it’s just extraordinary,” he added. - Think Progress, 7/29/14

The resolution failed to pass but it's important to applaud Senators like Whitehouse for standing up for science.  It's also important that Democrats keep the Senate because Inhofe could do even more damage if Republicans win the Senate:

If Republicans gain control of the Senate in the upcoming midterm elections, Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) believes that he will lead the Environment and Public Works Committee. Inhofe made the comments to 50 plant managers in Catoosa, Oklahoma, the Tulsa World reports.

Inhofe, who wrote a book called, The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future, served as chairman on the environmental committee for four years. David Vitter (R-LA) replaced him as the ranking GOP member on the committee chaired by Barbara Boxer (D-CA) for the 113th Congress. GOP rules limit members to six years of service as committee chairs, meaning that Inhofe could theoretically reclaim his position for another two years should Republicans win the Senate in the 2014 midterm elections.

Inhofe, still a senior member of the environmental committee and ranking member of the Armed Services Committee, has been one of the most obstructive Senators when it comes to meaningful climate change legislation.

Besides his book, Inhofe authored a report titled “The Facts and Science of Climate Change,” in which he argued that “alarmists will scare the country into enacting their ultimate goal: making energy suppression, in the form of harmful mandatory restrictions on carbon dioxide and other greenhouse emissions, the official policy of the United States.” He also questioned whether global warming “is even a problem for human existence.” - Think Progress, 3/19/14

So yeah, Democratic voters can't stay home this year.  Inhofe's up for re-election this year and is sure to win but environmentalists like Tom Steyer and green groups like the League of Conservation Voters are working hard to defeat climate deniers in this year's election and help true environmental champs like Senator Brian Schatz (D. HI) win their primaries and elections:

The League of Conservation Voters is spending $380,000 on a TV ad campaign over the next two weeks to boost Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz in the Aug. 9 Democratic primary.

Schatz, who was appointed to fill the seat of Daniel K. Inouye in December 2012, faces Rep. Colleen Hanabusa in the competitive nomination fight. They’re running to serve the remaining two years of Inouye’s term.

LCV’s first ad, which begins running Saturday, focuses on the threat of climate change to Hawaii and states Schatz is “holding corporate polluters who cause it accountable.” It also highlights the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s recent endorsement of him. - Roll Call, 7/25/14

And Schatz is kicking ass in the primary:

The League of Conservation Voters has released a new poll that shows one high-profile Hawaii incumbent staying in office and another one packing up.

On Monday, the national environmental group released the results of a survey done by Public Policy Polling that shows U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz leading U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa by a 10-point margin for the upcoming Aug. 9 primary.

It should be noted that the League of Conservation Voters endorsed Schatz early on, even before Hanabusa officially entered the race. - Honolulu Civil Beat, 7/28/14

Schatz as well as Rep. Gary Peters (D. MI) are two of the best environmental candidates running for Senate this year.  Peters has been a top target by the Koch Brothers because he's been fighting Koch Carbon's pet coke polluting Detroit:

The AFP ads aimed at Peters have focused mainly on his support for the Affordable Care Act. Peters, for his part, has been on the attack against the Kochs themselves on another issue: petroleum coke. Last year, Koch Carbon, a subsidiary of Koch Industries, drew national attention for letting massive piles of petcoke, a byproduct of petroleum refining, sit in Detroit. The piles were creating huge clouds of dust over the city.

Peters spoke out against the petcoke piles and against Koch Carbon, and introduced legislation calling for a federal study on the health and environmental impacts of the product. The piles were moved earlier this year, but there's an ongoing political and regulatory battle about where they should ultimately go.

Peters spoke about the petcoke issue Friday. "I am not going to let the Koch brothers pretend as if they care about the health care of Michiganders," said Peters. "We remember those piles that were piled up just down the river from where we are now ... They care about their agenda, which is weakening environmental laws. It's about being anti-middle class, about tax breaks for millionaires. We are going to tell them in no uncertain terms this election that Michigan is not for sale. The people of Michigan get to determine who is going to be their next senator."

Peters has emphasized environmental issues during his campaign, calling for reduced greenhouse gas emissions -- another area where AFP has gone after him. But Peters told The Huffington Post on Friday that he doesn't think the AFP attacks will be a problem for him. "I think people understand it's important, and they expect people who are running for elected office to stand up and take a stand and show some courage," he said. - Huffington Post, 7/18/14

Click here to donate and get involved with Schatz and Peters' campaigns so Whitehouse can have more allies in the Senate:

Originally posted to pdc on Wed Jul 30, 2014 at 09:51 AM PDT.

Also republished by Climate Change SOS, Climate Hawks, and The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party.

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