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Do You Know Your Senator’s Views on Climate Change and Energy Policy?

SEATTLE, WA (7/29/09) Who in our Senate does or does not do a good job in being transparent on their climate and energy positions? Grist wanted to know, and came across a few interesting surprises.

Grist, an influential and irreverent green online news site, is giving a thumbs up to some unlikely Republicans while giving a few “greenies” a big fat “F.” John McCain (R-Ariz.), a sponsor of past climate legislation, scored a mere 7 out of 25, earning himself a failing grade, while James Inhofe (R-Okla.), who thinks climate change is a “hoax,” scored an “A.”

With a close watch on the Waxman Markey climate bill, and the White House’s new talk of transparency, Grist decided to whip out the red ink and see who is making the grade. The results aren’t pretty; see our full methodology and results for each senator at

In the interest of transparency, Grist combed the official websites of 99 senators (Al Franken didn’t have one at the time of review) and rated them on how well each explained a senator’s positions on climate change and energy policies. The focus was on transparency; senators who oppose climate legislation or doubt the science of global warming were not penalized for their views, only if they failed to make those views clear and accessible on their sites.

Under our grading scale, a majority of senators (53%) scored a C or worse. Twenty-five sites had no mention of climate change or global warming. Only 60% offered an opinion of cap-and-trade regulation on their energy or environment pages. Sheldon Whitehouse’s (D-R.I.) environment page still refers to “President Bush.” Lamar Alexander’s (R-Tenn.) “Energy and Environment” page brought up error messages. Three senators posted no information at all on climate or energy issues: Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), and Roland Burris (D-Ill.).

The full story can be viewed at

About Grist
With a fresh spin on environmental news and views, Grist informs, inspires, and links America’s next generation of green citizens. Founded in April 1999, Grist has developed the most recognizable voice in environmental journalism: funny, opinionated, and intelligent. Grist offers in-depth reporting, news analysis, opinions, and practical advice — all tailored to inform, entertain, provoke, and encourage its users to think creatively about environmental problems and solutions.

Each month, Grist reaches more than 800,000 unique individuals through its website, emails and social networking tools, and it has enjoyed particular success among users in their 20s and 30s. Through partnerships with major media outlets such as MSN, The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, and Yahoo!, Grist is reaching an even broader audience that extends into the millions. Grist has been featured in The New York Times, Newsweek, Time, Vanity Fair, and dozens of other major media outlets worldwide, and was recently ranked as a top green website by both Time and the London Guardian.