(CNSNews.com) - Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D.-N.Y.) went to the floor of the Senate on Wednesday to express his view that “no threat poses a greater danger to our planet than climate change” and that President Donald Trump is something like “a member of the Flat Earth Society” on this issue.
“On the climate, as I have said so many times, no threat poses a greater danger to our planet than that of climate change,” said Schumer.
“The last 5 years have been the warmest on record,” he said. “There is more carbon dioxide in the air than any point in human history.”
Schumer made reference to a conversation that President Donald Trump had with Prince Charles of Great Britain earlier this week about climate change.
“Just yesterday, President Trump once again--not based on fact, based on whim, as he so often acts--voiced a dangerous skepticism about climate change while meeting with Prince Charles,” Schumer said.
As reported by The Guardian: “Prince Charles spent 75 minutes longer than scheduled trying to convince Donald Trump of the dangers of global heating, but the president still insisted the US was “clean” and blamed other nations for the crisis.”
Appearing on Britain’s ITV, Trump summarized the conversation, The Guardian reported.
“He is really into climate change and I think that’s great. What he really wants and what he really feels warmly about is the future. He wants to make sure future generations have climate that is good climate, as opposed to a disaster, and I agree,” Trump said.
“I did say, ‘Well, the United States right now has among the cleanest climates there are based on all statistics,’” said Trump. “And it’s even getting better because I agree with that we want the best water, the cleanest water. It’s crystal clean, has to be crystal clean clear.”
“China, India, Russia, many other nations, they have not very good air, not very good water, and the sense of pollution,” Trump said. “If you go to certain cities … you can’t even breathe, and now that air is going up … They don’t do the responsibility.”
On the Senate floor Wednesday, Sen. Schumer suggested Trump is “a member of the Flat Earth Society” when it comes to climate change.
“The President is sort of, on climate, a member of the Flat Earth Society, just denying the facts,” said Schumer. “It would be as if Columbus sailed, and the President still said the earth is flat. That is how he is acting on climate.”
Here is the text of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s statements about climate change on the Senate floor on Wednesday:
Sen. Charles Schumer: “Mr. President, on the climate, as I have said so many times, no threat poses a greater danger to our planet than that of climate change. The last 5 years have been the warmest on record. There is more carbon dioxide in the air than any point in human history. Our children and grandchildren will live with the consequences of the decisions we make today. We need all hands on deck--the Federal Government, local governments, municipalities, corporate leaders, global efforts--if we are to meet the challenges of climate change head-on, but for years our government has been too slow to act and more often than not we have done nothing or very little.
Just yesterday, President Trump once again--not based on fact, based on whim, as he so often acts--voiced a dangerous skepticism about climate change while meeting with Prince Charles.
Now, one of the biggest reasons for the slow progress on climate policy has been the oppressive grip of Big Oil, Big Gas, and Big Coal, on our political system. They spent untold millions to debunk climate science and torpedo climate legislation. One of the largest perpetrators has been the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which never reveals its donors and has acted all too often as a front for Big Oil.
Recently, as public support for action upon climate change has grown even more overwhelming, the chamber is starting to sing a different tune. They have launched a campaign for cleaner energy sources. They have added a new section to their website, “Addressing Climate Change.” They now even say that, on this issue, “inaction is not an option.” Well, I could not agree more; inaction is not an option, but color me skeptical about the chamber.
I hope to see the chamber follow its public stance with real action, but until I do, I fear this change is merely cosmetic. All too often, the big oil and big coal companies don't act themselves, although some do, but they let the chamber do their dirty work for them. So today Sheldon Whitehouse and I, along with a number of our colleagues, will be sending a letter to the chamber, calling on them to speak out against the administration's effort to undermine the “National Climate Assessment.”
It is not enough to simply say: Oh, well, it is a problem. Inaction is not an option. They must do something concrete. This is a concrete action we are proposing that will make a difference. I read in today's New York Times that companies are now beginning to plan for how climate change will cost them more money in the next 5 years. They don't think it is no problem. They don't think it is a 30-year problem.
These companies and their interest in their profits--that is how they should be interested, although I would like to see them a little more interested in workers and communities and climate. These companies, for their own bottom lines, are saying climate change is real, and we better do something.
Well, one way the chamber can move things along is to speak out against this administration in its efforts to undermine the “National Climate Assessment.” For years, this study has been the gold standard for climate research within our government. It is not partisan. It is factual; it is based on science; and it assesses the long-term threats to climate change.
The President is sort of, on climate, a member of the Flat Earth Society, just denying the facts. It would be as if Columbus sailed, and the President still said the earth is flat. That is how he is acting on climate. Well, the Chamber ought to break with that. They ought to let science and facts determine how we act.
This is a moment when the Chamber could actually use its influence to convince the administration to reverse course. If the business community said this, it would make a big difference. So this is a moment. Let's see if the chamber really wants to prove that they are for climate change. Let's see. Let's see. If they don't, we ask their members who say they believe in climate--and who are even planning for the problems we face--to put pressure on them to do it. Let's hope.