Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has introduced an amendment to legislation that would approve the Keystone XL pipeline. If approved, the amendment would officially declare congress’s position on climate change. The language of the amendment reads,
“It is the sense of Congress that Congress is in agreement with the opinion of virtually the entire worldwide scientific community that—
(1) climate change is real;
(2) climate change is caused by human activities;
(3) climate change has already caused devastating problems in the United States and around the world;
(4) a brief window of opportunity exists before the United States and the entire planet suffer irreparable harm; and
(5) it is imperative that the United States transform its energy system away from fossil fuels and toward energy efficiency and sustainable energy as rapidly as possible.”
The amendment is a genius bit of legislation that is going to be a win for progressive Democrats and environmentalists. If Republicans in congress refuse to pass the bill with the amendment, they just burned all their constituents who view the pipeline as a jobs creating project, over a largely ideological battle. If they pass it, they just severely burned their entire anti-environment constituency. The Democrats stand to lose nothing in either case since the White House has already made it clear Obama will veto any bill that approves the pipeline.
“On this issue, the scientists have been virtually unanimous in saying that climate change is real, it is caused by human action, it is already causing devastating problems which will only get worse in the future and that we need to transform our energy system away from fossil fuel. Do members of Congress believe the scientists or not?” the senator asked in a press statement.
The amendment is going to be debated in a midnight session. The consequences of which will surely influence every sound bite used relating to jobs and the environment in the 2016 presidential election.
Featured Image Credit: By United States Congress (http://sanders.senate.gov/) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons