More to be done after Senate vote

In a decision one vote short of unanimous, the United States Senate agreed that “climate change is real and not a hoax.” The vote last week was one of several related to climate change, each of which proposed amendments to the Keystone XL Pipeline bill.

Two amendments specified that climate change is due to human actions and has damaging effects, but both failed to receive a majority vote.

The votes occurred days after NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association separately concluded that 2014 was the hottest year in recorded meteorological history.

These studies should stymie the claim made by some politicians that global warming has stopped or stalled in recent years. Rather, the hottest years on record have all occurred since 1997, and many studies continue to find evidence of the warming trend. A recent study conducted at the University of Minnesota’s Polar Geospatial Center found that because of atmospheric warming, glacial mass in Greenland is changing more quickly than predicted.

Voting on whether or not problems are scientifically “real” sets a disturbing precedent for politics to interfere with progress on pressing scientific issues.

Climate change in particular is a problem that requires immediate action. The continued unwillingness of American politicians to acknowledge the nature of the problem — unwillingness that is likely due to the financial influence of fossil fuel industries — is unacceptable. We urge lawmakers to move beyond the politicization of this scientific issue and make real progress in addressing climate change.