Southern Baptist Roger Wicker joins MIT scientist to say 'no' to Senate climate vote

by Will Hall, |
Senator Roger Wicker delivers his response to President Barack Obama's 2015 State of the Union address. | U.S. SENATE (screen capture)

WASHINGTON (Christian Examiner) – Southern Baptist Roger Wicker is getting mainstream media heat for being the lone "no" in a Senate vote about climate change, but he is in good company with an MIT scientist who criticized the Democratic-led effort to make an environmental statement as "ludicrous."

The Mississippi senator was the sole standout in a 98-1 roll call on a motion to declare "the sense of the Senate that climate change is real and not a hoax," (without attributing a cause, man-made or natural, for the phenomenon).

Wicker, whose bio lists his membership with the First Baptist Church Tupelo, "where he sings in the choir," said he opposed the motion because it was a political show "to stop the construction of the Keystone pipeline using disputed facts," according to a written statement from his office.

Wicker said he agreed with "more than 31,000 American scientists who do not believe the science on this matter is settled," a reference to the "Global Warming Petition Project" critics assail for including signatures of individuals without climate expertise.

However, detractors cannot dispute the credentials of MIT climate scientist Richard Lindzen who weighed in on the debate earlier this week when Senator Bernie Sanders, an Independent from Vermont, first floated the idea of a climate change resolution. Sanders caucuses with Democrats.

Lindzen said Sanders' effort was an "attempt to hijack science for political purposes," according to a statement the venerable researcher published on Climate Depot, a website which publishes counterpoints to climate warming claims.

"Climate change is of course real, change being the normal state of affairs in climate," Lindzen wrote. "Climate change has caused catastrophic problems on occasion throughout earth's history. While man may have contributed somewhat to climate change in recent years, his contribution to the above is highly questionable, and continues to be debated."

Wicker agrees that the issue remains unsettled and that science is best served by not being closed minded.

"Scientific research is advanced by asking questions and allowing for multiple viewpoints," his statement explained. "With so much at stake—our economy, our livelihoods, and our environment—we should be tolerant of differences of opinion."

Wicker has represented Mississippi in the U.S. Senate since December 2007, when he was appointed by the state's governor to fill the seat vacated by Trent Lott. He subsequently won the 2008 special election for the remainder of the term and was re-elected to a full term in 2012. Among his accomplishments he lists consistent support for "pro-growth policies to create jobs" and working "to reduce spending, limit federal overreach, and maintain a strong national defense."