According to the AP, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse has taken to the Senate floor 83 times in the last 83 weeks to warn his fellow senators about the dangers of climate change.
We here at Planet Experts are big fans of Sen. Whitehouse (D-RI). In July, Whitehouse shouldered the thankless burden of explaining science to unrepentant climate denier Jim Inhofe (R-OK), a senator who has called global warming “the second-largest hoax ever played on the American people, after the separation of church and state.”
At the time, Sen. Whitehouse was defending Senate Resolution 524, a measure sponsored by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) that called for the Senate to simply acknowledge that climate change is real and a potential danger to the United States.
Sen. Inhofe blocked the resolution on the grounds that the Earth has not warmed in the last 15 years and that greenhouse gases are not causing global warming. Sen. Whitehouse described Inhofe’s argument as coming from “an alternate reality, from the one I inhabit anyway.”
Whitehouse witnessed the damage of Hurricane Sandy firsthand in Rhode Island, where oceanfront homes were destroyed across the coastline. “We’re not a very big state so we don’t have a lot of land to give away to the sea,” he said.
Whitehouse, whose wife is a marine scientist, has passionately demanded that Congress extract itself from its partisan politics to fix what he sees as an imminent threat to the country. “On a personal level, I have a deep fear of being ashamed,” he said. “I don’t want, 20 years from now, when this is way past our current discussion, to be ashamed that I didn’t do my best when we still had a chance to fix this problem.”
Sen. Whitehouse has proposed a bill that would levy a tax on industrial carbon emissions. Such a tax has been endorsed by Bob Inglis, a former Republican Congressman, as well as Arthur Laffer, economic advisor to President Ronald Reagan and George Shultz, Reagan’s Secretary of State.
However, with Republicans set to take over both houses of Congress in January and with their most vocal members putting the EPA in their crosshairs, Whitehouse’s chances of being heard over this anti-environmental junta appears slim.