Up late? Senate Democrats to pull all-nighter on climate change

The Department of Water and Power (DWP) San Fernando Valley Generating Station in Sun Valley, Calif. is seen in this Dec. 11, 2008 file photo. David McNew/Getty Images

The prospects for addressing climate change in Congress this year are virtually non-existent, but a group of lawmakers nevertheless plans to bring the issue to the Senate floor Monday night.

Starting after the Senate's final votes Monday evening, more than two dozen senators are expected to make speeches about climate change through the night until around 9 a.m. ET on Tuesday.

The event, not tied to any particular legislation, is spearheaded by the Senate Climate Action Task Force, which was formed this year to bring more attention to the issue.

"So many Senators coming together for an all-night session shows our commitment to wake up Congress to the dangers of climate change," Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., said in a statement. "All you have to do is look at China to see what happens to your country when you throw the environment under the bus."

According to the task force, at least 28 senators are expected to participate, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. Twenty-six of those senators are Democrats, while the other two expected participants are the Senate's two Democratic-leaning Independents -- Sen. Angus King of Maine and Bernie Sanders of Vermont. They'll be documenting the talk-a-thon on social media with the hashtag #Up4Climate.

The Senate, generally speaking, is a slow-moving body. In fact, lawmakers in the upper chamber have only met or voted 26 days so far this year. The chances of getting anything done to address climate change, however, are especially dim. The last serious attempt to address the issue, in 2010, fell apart even with Democratic majorities in both the House and the Senate. A cap and trade bill did pass in the House in 2009, but it died in the Democratic-controlled Senate. After Republicans took over the House in 2010, the issue was essentially dropped.

The issue is sure to come up in congressional campaigns this year, now that the super PAC NextGen Climate Action is putting $100 million up to promote it in this election cycle. NextGen, backed by California billionaire Tom Steyer, isn't completely aligning itself with the Democratic Party, though Steyer told the New York Times that keeping a Democratic majority in the Senate is important for the group's goals: "As long as we have this partisan divide on energy and climate, it's got to be important," he said.

Still, some vulnerable Democrats up for re-election this year are more closely aligned with oil and gas interests than the rest of the party. For instance, Democratic senators like Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Mark Begich of Alaska, and Kay Hagan of North Carolina -- all up for re-election -- back the controversial Keystone XL pipeline project.

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