Is the Senate's climate change all-nighter more than a one-night stand?The effort by 28 Democratic senators [Monday night] was launched in part by Rhode Island's Sheldon Whitehouse, who credits warming oceans for the state's disappearing idyllic and populated coastline.
Whitehouse has spoken about the issue every week the Senate has been in session for the past two years, culminating in 60 speeches that have gone largely unnoticed by the public.
He and fellow Democratic members of the climate change caucus hope their all-night session propels the issue back into the spotlight since it has been on the back burner for several years.
When Democrats tried to pass legislation that would have capped carbon emissions, skepticism around climate change reached an all-time high. Opponents, led by organizations and businesses involved in the fossil fuel industry, successfully turned public opinion and stopped any efforts in its tracks.
"It is unfortunate," Whitehouse said. "History will look back at the propaganda effort of the carbon polluters as one of the most sophisticated and complex propaganda efforts that human kind had to withstand."
The Koch Brothers, billionaire businessmen who made their fortune in the oil and gas industry, have spent hundreds of millions of dollars trying to defeat Democrats. Cap and trade would have cut into Koch industries' revenue, which is estimated to hover around $100 billion per year.
Tim Phillips, the President of Americans for Prosperity, the political organization backed by the Kochs, said that killing climate change legislation in a Democratic-controlled Washington was his organization's major accomplishment.
Wealthy former hedge fund manager Tom Steyer is willing to spend Koch-like money to push the issue of climate change and defeat skeptics in the 2014 midterms.
Whitehouse, who has known Steyer since college, said if he can make good on his pledge to infuse the effort with $100 million, he would "help to neutralize an incredibly one-sided spending."
The above contains excerpts. The full report is at CNN.com
Notes from the Editor: To see Senator Whitehouse's evidence-based approach to understanding climate change in his 50th speech, click here. His 48th speech was on the anniversary of superstorm Sandy, and he was joined by New York Senator Schumer.