For some months now, I’ve been poking at Senator Sheldon Whitehouse on the issue of climate change. Whitehouse has been an eloquent speaker on the issue, calling upon his Senate colleagues to take action… but until recently, Whitehouse hadn’t taken action on the climate issue himself.
A few days ago, that changed. Senator Whitehouse offered S.Amdt. 646 to S.Con.Res. 8, a legislative amendment that would have, if passed, begun the process for establishing a fee on the carbon dioxide pollution that is known to be causally linked to climate change. Republicans love to bluster about what they call a “carbon tax”, complaining that businesses will be economically crippled if they have to pay a fee when they release massive amounts of carbon dioxide pollution into the atmosphere. The fact is, though, that Americans are already paying a price for carbon dioxide emissions. The damage caused by carbon dioxide, in extreme weather events, is already costing American citizens and businesses immense amounts of money. The thing is that the corporations that release the lion’s share of the carbon dioxide aren’t paying for the expense. They’re expecting other businesses, the government, and individual Americans to pick up the tab for them.
Introducing his legislation, Senator Whitehouse warned, “We can ignore obvious facts, we can ignore the essentially unanimous science, we can ignore our generals and admirals, we can ignore the insurance industry’s warnings, but we ignore carbon pollution at our peril, and we have subsidized it long enough. It is past time to wake up from our sleepwalking. This vote is a test. Whether we pass or fail is a measure of us.”
The vote on the Whitehouse amendment was indeed a test, and every single Republican member of the U.S. Senate failed the test. They weren’t alone, however. Their names are:
In the days to come, I’ll be detailing the corrupt financial relationships between these senators and the industries responsible for huge amounts of carbon dioxide pollution.