"Congress accepts the scientific finding of the Environmental Protection Agency that 'Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global average sea level.'"The vote came amid debate over a Republican bill "To amend the Clean Air Act to prohibit the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency from promulgating any regulation concerning, taking action relating to, or taking into consideration the emission of a greenhouse gas to address climate change, and for other purposes", which also saw Republicans reject an amendment recognising the public health threat posed by climate change.
While partisan divisions – particularly pronounced in the US at present – will clearly have played their part in the Republicans unanimous rejection of Waxman's amendment, events in the Energy Committee will be viewed as worrying evidence of the prevalence of anti-scientific thinking among many on the political right, and the intransigent position of many towards taking decisive action against climate change.
Still, if a witty riposte can possibly be seen as consolation, at least Ed Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts, had the last laugh, telling the committee:
“I rise in opposition to a bill that repeals the scientific finding that pollution is harming our people and our planet. However, I won’t rise physically, because I’m worried that Republicans will overturn the law of gravity, sending us floating.”