U.S. Senators held an all-night talking session last night to bring focus to the issue of climate change. For some countries that might not seem like such a big deal, but in the U.S. (where just a few short years ago the Senate’s Democratic leader Harry Reid smashed down attempts to pass climate change legislation), it was a strong declaration that the nation is addressing the issue in a serious way.
Harry Reid kicked the all-nighter off with a speech, saying, “[c]limate change is real. It’s here.” He also said that it is time that leaders stop acting as if climate change deniers have a valid point in the debate. “They don’t,” he added.
Although the session didn’t have a goal of moving specific legislation forward, the idea was to bring attention to the importance of addressing climate change. “It’s aimed toward the day when something more concrete can be legislated,” said Senator Edward J. Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts.
Right now in the senate, there is no chance of passing serious climate change legislation. Republican lawmakers control the House, many of whom deny climate change science. In the senate, support from Republicans and Democrats in states where fossil fuels drive the local economy is hard to come by, making it even more difficult to pass any laws.
Even still, the session is an indication that many lawmakers recognize the importance of addressing climate change and they are working to do something. “We’re not going to rest until there is action on the most pressing issue of our time, which is climate change,” said Brian Schatz, a Democrat from Hawaii.