“The members know that serious climate change legislation stands no chance of passage in this divided Congress,” wrote the New York Times' climate-change reporter, Coral Davenport. Beyond that, Democrats know that action on climate legislation would help Republicans take the Senate in 2014.
So why occupy the Senate floor talking about the issue? In short: Faith, identity and cash.
The liberal climate cause is easier to understand if you think of it as a religion. Monday’s talkathon sounded at times like a religious revival. Senators spoke about the faithful who “believe in wind” and “believe in renewable” energy. Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., said climate for him is “a faith issue.”
One doctrine in the Church of Climate is sola fide. In the words of Reformation theology: Justification comes through faith alone. “Good works” are irrelevant....
Beyond exercises in faith and identity politics, the Democratic all-nighter should be understood as a very odd fundraiser. Most fundraisers feature one or two politicians speaking to dozens of donors. Monday night featured a dozen politicians speaking to one donor: Energy billionaire Tom Steyer.
Steyer, having made his riches partly in green energy and fossil fuels, has decided to spend his billions electing Democrats who will pass climate legislation. He says he’s divested from his energy holdings, signifying his intentions are sincere.
Steyer spent $8 million to help elect Terry McAuliffe governor of Virginia last fall. “Steyer will inject millions into assorted races” in 2014, reports Joe Hagan in Men's Journal. Steyer has made it very clear what a politician needs to do to get his money: Make a big deal about climate change.
By the way, kudos to Carney for getting this correct. It seems like an easy nuance to get accurately, but no one in the media ever does
Democrats called Republicans “deniers” 28 times during the talkathon. Majority Leader Harry Reidframed his speech this way: “Despite overwhelming scientific evidence and overwhelming public opinion, climate change deniers still exist.”
There’s an ounce of truth to this attack: Some Republicans wrongly deny that carbon dioxide and similar gasses exert a net upward pressure on atmospheric temperature, and that this has affected the climate.
But liberals hurl the term “climate denier” at anyone who doubts the hyperbolic catastrophic predictions of Al Gore, posits that non-manmade factors (like the sun) may also drive climate change, or opposes Democrats policies — the same policies Democrats aren’t actually trying to pass.
I have actually learned to embrace the "denier" label. When it is applied to me, I agree that I am, but that one has to be careful what exact proposition I am denying. I don't deny that the world has warmed over the last 100 years or that man-made CO2 has contributed incrementally to that warming, both now and in the future. What I deny is the catastrophe.