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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Senators Al Franken (D-Minn.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) expose Climate Deniers on Senate Floor (Video)

Franken, Whitehouse Expose Climate Deniers on Senate Floor (Video)

Two senators deliver a striking colloquy that is an outstanding resource for civics and science teachers nationwide

by Shawn Lawrence Otto | Dec 19, 2011 | Comments (3)

The United States was founded by scientists, based in large part on the principles of science, and science is why we have become the world's leading economy.  So it is shocking to see mainstream politicians denying the validity of science for political reasons - a practice long associated with authoritarian regimes, not the United States.

Two US senators rebuffed that troubling trend on the floor of the United States senate, in a move that may signal the beginning of a new thaw in the paralysis the United States is facing on climate change and a host of other issues.

Al Franken (D-MN) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) argued that science is the best basis for public policy, a view we haven't heard a lot of in congress lately, and they blasted fossil fuel industry-funded propaganda on climate change as a major cause.  They emphasized the ridiculousness of climate denialism, and the patriotism of science-based policymaking.

Franken on why this is important

"I asked Sheldon to do the colloquy because I saw that too many of my colleagues were either ignoring the science on climate change or flat out dismissing it," Franken told me.

"As a society, we have to understand that science is a way of understanding the truth about the way things actually are in the physical world independent of how we wish they would be, and if we want public policy that actually solves problems we’ve got to start by basing it on what we know from science."

Scientists are our best allies

Franken began by reminding colleagues that scientists are their best allies. "Scientists are the people who gave us antibiotics, for example," he said.  "Do you like being able to use antibiotics?  Well, then, thank scientists."

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