Harry Reid On Senate GOP Inaction: ‘Climate Change Is Here. We Are Doing Nothing About It.’


Harry Reid

Tuesday, on the Senate floor, Majority Leader Harry Reid suggested that instead of considering “the latest Republican aim to derail the successful implementation of ObamaCare,” the Senate should be addressing things like energy efficiency and “facing the reality of climate change.” He pointed to the catastrophic flooding in Colorado as one of many reasons to act.

Addressing Republicans’ obsession with repealing Obamacare, Reid suggested they should “stop denying reality” and move on to other legislation like the uncontroversial Shaheen-Portman bill — a bipartisan, deficit-neutral, energy efficiency bill. On the Senate floor, Reid said: “The Senate should be passing other legislation. We should be passing an energy efficiency bill that will save taxpayers money, creating good-paying jobs — we need that — rebuilding roads and bridges.”

Last week, Senators Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and David Vitter (R-LA) submitted amendments to Shaheen-Portman that attempt to dismantle and delay implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Reid said Tuesday he would allow Vitter’s amendment a vote, even though it is in no way related to energy efficiency.

But Senator Reid didn’t stop there during his remarks. He addressed the root problem of inefficiently wasting energy through burning fossil fuels that is driving climate change.

We should be facing the reality of climate change. Look what happened in Colorado. I talked to Senator Bennet yesterday. He said the floods were “Biblical.” In one part of Colorado, it rained 12 inches in 2 hours. I cannot imagine that. Fires all over the West. Climate change is here. I met with the Foreign Minister of Bangladesh. They do not know what they are going to do with the rise of the sea which is taking place. In that country there is no high ground. It is that way all over the world. The Marshall Islands–a thousand islands make up the Marshall Islands–55,000 people live there. These islands are being washed away with the new waves they have never seen before.

Climate change is here. We are doing nothing about it. They are spending all of our time, the American taxpayers’ time, trying to repeal a law that has been in effect for 4 years.

Watch here, courtesy of greenmanbucket:

Let’s be clear here. Reid’s not saying that the flooding wouldn’t have happened without climate change. But the reality is that storms and precipitation events like this have been getting more intense. Flooding becomes even more dangerous in areas hit by drought and wildfires. Extreme downpours are becoming more intense as the planet warms, according to a report last year that examined precipitation records in the U.S. since 1948.

Reid also pointed to sea level rise in the Marshall Islands, which could become the world’s first climate refugees, flooding in Bangladesh, and climate-worsened wildfires in the West that came close to home for Nevada in July. All of these things are foremost among the impacts the world will continue to see more of as the planet warms.

Mark Udall, Colorado’s senior senator, said later on the Senate floor that roads were washed away, eight lives were lost, and thousands of lives were forever changed: “Mother Nature has literally rewritten the map.”