Senate Dems push climate change amendment

Senate Democrats are attempting to force a vote on climate change through an amendment to the defense authorization bill.

Sen. Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseDem senator: 'How many lives must be lost before we act?' Sen. Manchin won’t vote for Trump’s mine safety nominee Overnight Regulation: SEC chief grilled over hack | Dems urge Labor chief to keep Obama overtime rule | Russia threatens Facebook over data storage law MORE’s (D-R.I.) amendment calls for the U.S. to “assess, plan for, and mitigate the security and strategic implications of climate change” out of concern for national security.

It is unclear whether the amendment will surface on the floor as senators work to complete the sweeping defense policy bill as soon as Tuesday.

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But its submission shows that Democrats might be looking for chances to put Republicans on the record on climate change, especially in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

Many scientists have avoided saying climate change directly caused Hurricane Sandy. Numerous scientists have said, however, that the effects of climate change — notably, rising sea levels and warmer waters — contributed to the storm’s intensity and impact.

The amendment would confront the GOP on the nexus of climate change and national security.

A significant number of Republicans question widely accepted scientific opinions on global warming and the extent of humans' contribution through greenhouse gas emissions.

At their convention in August, Republicans adopted a platform that criticized the White House National Security Strategy in 2010 for saying, “The danger from climate change is real, urgent, and severe.”

The platform said that such a position, “subordinates our national security interests to environmental, energy, and international health issues, and elevates ‘climate change’ to the level of a ‘severe threat’ equivalent to foreign aggression.’”

Whitehouse’s amendment, S.A. 3181, cites the National Security Strategy’s climate change warning. It also mentions the Defense Department’s Quadrennial Defense Review, which outlined climate change as a national security threat.

Seth Larson, Whitehouse’s spokesman, touted the amendment.

“Senator Whitehouse is deeply concerned about the effects climate change is having on our world, and looks for every opportunity to raise awareness of those effects. He felt that the debate over the defense authorization bill was a good opportunity to discuss these effects within the context of our national security, and to highlight the real risks that global climate change is creating for our armed services,” Larson said in a Monday statement.

Several of the amendment’s nine Democratic sponsors — including Sens. Barbara BoxerBarbara BoxerTrump riles Dems with pick for powerful EPA job Pelosi's chief of staff stepping down Time is now to address infrastructure needs MORE (Calif.), Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyOvernight Energy: Dems take on Trump's chemical safety pick Dem senator slams Trump for dedicating golf trophy to hurricane victims Dem senator compares Trump to Marie Antoinette MORE (Ore.), Frank Lautenberg (N.J.) and Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezOvernight Health Care: House passes 20-week abortion ban | GOP gives ground over ObamaCare fix | Price exit sets off speculation over replacement You want to recall John McCain? Good luck, it will be impossible Poll: Most in NJ want Menendez to resign if found guilty MORE (N.J.) — represent coastal states.

They, along with Whitehouse, have been vocal about the effects rising sea levels and warmer water temperatures associated with climate change have on their constituents.

Those warnings grew more acute after Sandy, which has destroyed tens of billions of dollars of infrastructure and personal property.

In a floor speech last month, Whitehouse commented that events like Sandy will become more frequent "if we do not recognize the need to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and the need to prepare our infrastructure."

Sen. Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinOvernight Cybersecurity: Equifax CEO faces outraged lawmakers | Dem presses voting machine makers on cyber defense | Yahoo says 3 billion accounts affected by 2013 breach Key Dem: Did Kushner use private emails to talk with foreign governments? Dem senator pitches ideas for gun control after shooting MORE (D-Md.), whose state was hit by Sandy, told The Hill last month that Senate Democrats would “use every opportunity we can” to secure a vote on climate change.

This post was updated at 6:27 a.m. on Dec. 4