LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — More than two dozen U.S. senators took to the chamber floor Monday for an all-night session to raise awareness on climate change.
Senator Barbara Boxer of California led the charge of nearly 30 senators — all Democrats and Independents — to warn about the danger of climate change and urge action.
“We want to wake up the Congress to the fact that time is running out,” Sen. Boxer said. “We have to act now.”
Senator Dianne Feinstein says the fallout from climate change will be even more severe in California unless action is taken. A statewide drought has caused record low levels of the Sierra snowpack, which much of the state depends on for water year-round.
“If we do nothing, the Sierra Nevada spring snowpack could drop by as much as 60 to 80 percent by the end of the century, eliminating the water source for nearly 16 million people,” Sen. Feinstein said.
Republicans charge the session is little more than political posturing by the senators, who are not proposing any climate control bills in the current session of Congress.
“These senators are calling for action in a chamber they control but without any specific legislation to offer up for a vote,” Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) said. “Why not? Well, the answer is, it wouldn’t pass.”
Democrats say Republicans are in denial about a set of facts on global warming that most scientists clearly agree on.
“It’s very clear that deniers are standing with three percent of the scientists, while we Democrats who are here tonight calling for action are standing with 97 percent of the scientists,” Boxer said.
Environmentalists are cheering on the senators for bringing the issue back to public attention. Citing a UCLA study, environmentalists say Southern California will suffer the consequences of climate change in both the diminishing snow pack and with rising temperatures.
“By mid-century, Los Angeles will see three to four times the number of extreme heat days,” Jonathan Parfrey, Executive Director of Climate Resolve, said. “And in the San Fernando Valley, they will see also an enormous increase in the number of days above 95 degrees.”
Longtime Republican party activist Celeste Greig says the Democrats’ political motive for the all-night session has nothing to do with climate change.
“I have never, never encountered anyone that says, ‘Oh, I’m concerned, oh, global warming, climate change,'” Greig said. “That’s not an issue that people care right now. People care about good education, job creation, how they’re going to be able to pay their bills, how they’re going to be able to send their children to school.”
The senators have vowed to keep speaking about the dangers of climate change for 15 hours are are scheduled to conclude at 9 a.m. Washington time on Tuesday.