Senate Democrats plan climate change all-nighter

BY Ellen Rolfes  March 10, 2014 at 11:13 AM EDT
Senators intend to pull an all-nighter Monday to push acceptance of climate change as fact. Photo by AFP/Getty Images

Senators intend to pull an all-nighter Monday to push acceptance of climate change as fact. Photo by AFP/Getty Images

Senate Democrats plan to get comfortable Monday for a scheduled all-night discussion on climate change — pajamas are optional. Their goal: to get Congress to agree that climate change is a scientific fact.

“Climate change is real, it is caused by humans, and it is solvable,” Sen. Brian Shatz, D-Hawaii, said in a statement released Friday. Shatz organized the overnight discussion.

“Congress must act. On Monday night we’re going to show the growing number of Senators who are committed to working together to confront climate change.”

Democrats have 28 senators scheduled to speak through Monday night, including Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J.

Sen. Barbara Boxer said the overnight events are intended to “wake up” Congress.

“All you have to do is look at China to see what happens to your country when you throw the environment under the bus,” Boxer said in a statement.

Despite Democrats’ call for action, there are no plans to discuss specific legislation they want the Senate to vote on and pass on to the House.

Convincing congressional Republicans to act, though, could be difficult. No Republican senators are scheduled to participate in the all-nighter. In an interview with the Cincinnati Enquirer, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said that he was skeptical of humans’ impact on climate.

“For everybody who think it’s warming, I can find somebody who thinks it isn’t,” McConnell said.

McConnell expressed worries that climate change policies, especially those that would further regulate the U.S. coal industry, will negatively affect the American economy.

“You’re not going to have global cooperation to do it,” McConnell told the Enquirer Friday. “Even if you conceded the point, which I don’t concede, but if you conceded the point, it isn’t going to be addressed by one country. So the idea is, we tie our own hands behind our back and others don’t. I think it’s beyond foolish and real people are being hurt by this.”

The overnight “talkathon” is part of efforts by the Senate Climate Action Task Force, which was launched in January to shift the politics of climate change back towards legislation that would curb greenhouse gas pollution.

Senators plan to use the hashtag #Up4Climate throughout the night: