Republicans on Wednesday agreed that climate change is not a hoax. Sort of.
In what The Washington Post
characterizes as a "nifty, if insincere, bit of politics," Republicans successfully parsed language in an amendment to the Senate’s Keystone XL pipeline bill that stated climate change "is real and not a hoax."
Democrats had been trying to force Republicans to state, on the record, their positions on human contributions to climate change.
In an act of chicanery, Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe, who authored a book on the subject entitled "The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future,"
argued in favor of the amendment, stating climate change is not a hoax.
He gave his reasoning in a speech on the Senate floor.
"Climate is changing, and climate has always changed, and always will, there's archaeological evidence of that, there's biblical evidence of that, there's historic evidence of that, it will always change," Inhofe said.
"The hoax is that there are some people that are so arrogant to think that they are so powerful that they can change climate. Man can't change climate."
The hoax, according to Inhofe, was the idea that man was responsible for global warming.
Just before the vote, Inhofe sent a cryptic message on Twitter alluding to something in the works.
Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island had attached the "hoax" language to the Keystone bill.
It was expected to fail, but Republicans successfully altered the wording so that they could vote for the bill while continuing to argue that climate change was not man-made.
The only Republican who did not vote for the amendment was Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker.
"With Inhofe's re-framing the question, the Democrats, trying to engineer a gotcha moment, ended up empty-handed on the vote, with neither the satisfaction of nailing down opposition to scientific consensus and without a point of leverage for future discussions of addressing the warming planet," according to Post writer Philip Bump.
reports that a GOP Senate aide needled Democrats following the vote, questioning why Democrats were wasting their time trying to "embarrass" Republicans on climate change instead of "offering substantive proposals" on carbon tax or cap-and-trade emissions legislation.
"Democrats are stuck in messaging mode," the aide said.
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