On Wednesday, Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) introduced an amendment in the U.S. Senate that required senators to vote on this statement:
“To express the sense of the Senate that climate change is real; and human activity significantly contributes to climate change.”
The amendment failed 50-49, lacking the 60 votes needed for adoption.
But more interesting than the final vote was the opportunity to see which senators still lack a basic, and I mean basic, understanding of climate change, namely carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas.
It’s not surprising that some expected and familiar patters emerge from the states where both senators do not understand global warming.
Predictably, senators from the Deep South are lagging behind on this topic. One reason is energy production. The Gulf of Mexico has a lot of offshore drilling. But another is plain mistrust of anything that smart people say.
Texas and Oklahoma’s senators are also struggling with the concept. In fact, Sen. James Inhofe has called climate change the “biggest hoax in history.” As a longtime politician and insurance salesman, he cites the Bible as proof.
Then there is Wyoming, a major energy producer. These votes are bought and paid for.
Perhaps the most bizarre of all the states is Idaho. With a very small energy sector, neither Sen. Jim Risch nor Sen. Mike Crapo showed that they understand climate change. For a state that is faced with the perils of increased water shortages and intensifying forest fires, you’d think Idaho’s senators would be more interested in understanding science than making nice with out-of-state energy producers.
But you’d be wrong.