Senate Dems call for vote on pope’s climate statement

Senate Dems call for vote on pope’s climate statement
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A group of Senate Democrats wants to vote on Pope FrancisPope FrancisThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Emergent BioSolutions - Upbeat jobs data, relaxed COVID-19 restrictions offer rosier US picture Pope Francis denounces 'aggressive' nationalism Pope names new bishop for Biden's Delaware diocese MORE’s climate change pronouncement.

The lawmakers, led by Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenWhy Caitlyn Jenner should not be dismissed #MeWho? The hypocritical silence of Kamala Harris The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Senate Dems face unity test; Tanden nomination falls MORE (D-Minn.), introduced a resolution on Wednesday stating that the Senate agrees with the pope’s June encyclical declaring climate change a man-made problem and calling on world leaders to take steps to fix it. 


The resolution states that “the Senate stands with Pope Francis and the scientific consensus that human activity is the primary driver of climate change, present climate trends are unsustainable and immediate action must be taken to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to limit the deleterious effects of human-induced climate change.”

Francis’s encyclical, praised by environmentalists and Democrats in Congress, thrust the pope into the global debate over the proper response to climate change. 

The resolution — introduced by Franken and Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) — comes before Francis’s September visit to the United States and his speech before a joint session of Congress, during which he’s widely expected to urge action on climate change. 

The members’ resolution quotes the encyclical at length, highlighting passages on the science behind climate change and its impact on vulnerable communities around the world.

The resolution is another in a line of symbolic gestures Democrats have offered to try forcing Republicans into taking a stance climate change. They successfully brought one such resolution to the floor earlier this year, and similar versions have come up in committee hearings on energy- and environment-related bills.

Wednesday’s resolution comes the same week President Obama announced his Clean Power Plan, the centerpiece of his environment agenda and a key proposal leading up to a United Nations climate summit later this year. 

"This is a truly historic day for our country — and for future generations who will be better off because of the steps we're taking now to address the threat of climate change," Franken said after Obama released the plan on Monday.