Sure wish we could be more enthusiastic about the Senate’s 98-1 vote last week in support of the daring proposition that climate change is no hoax.


Pathetically, this is progress. Until now, there has been no shortage of senators, most of whom are known to be able to read and write, who have tossed around the word “hoax” anytime a serious-minded person has tried to call attention to one of the globe’s most pressing problems.

Problem is, the Senate immediately followed up on that bold vote by rejecting amendments stating that human activity contributes to climate change. The amendments also would have called on the federal government to take the lead in addressing the problem. Who are mere scientists to tell senators anything?

The votes, part of the debate over the Keystone XL pipeline, followed hot on the heels of the news that 2014 was the world’s hottest year on record.

Here’s the thing. A senator who takes big money from industries that depend on fossil fuels, as so many do, is not about to be swayed by mere words from the vast majority of the world’s climate scientists. What do the geeks know that the Koch brothers don’t? This is about money, not polar caps.

But maybe our statesmen of Capitol Hill will heed the words of Pope Francis, who  recently said “human activity is the main cause of climate change” and plans to issue an encyclical on the topic in hopes of influencing UN climate talks in Paris later this year.

Seriously. No joke and no hoax.