Time to Wake Up: The Pause That Wasn’t

Mr. President, I rise today for my 113th "Time to Wake Up" speech on climate change. They say 13 is unlucky. I don't know what 113 is, but I do know what climate change is. It is very real. We shouldn't kid ourselves. And it is an urgent challenge for our country and our world. Our leading scientific organizations say so. Our national security leaders say so. All of our National Laboratories say so. Major American businesses say so. Religious leaders of all faiths say so. Pope Francis certainly … Continue Reading


Coming Together in Faith on Climate – Washington National Cathedral

I rise today to bring attention to two of God's humblest but most useful creatures. When was the last time any of us thought of the humble bumblebee? We have important things to do. Who can be thinking about bumblebees? And the humble pteropod? How many of us even know what it is? It's a winged snail, sometimes called the sea butterfly, because over millennia, God's evolution of these creatures has turned their snail foot into an oceanic wing. Here's what is happening to them: Bumblebe… Continue Reading


Time to Wake Up: God’s Humblest Beasts

I rise today in my series of "Time to Wake Up" speeches to bring attention to two of God's humblest but most useful creatures. Here in the high political majesty of the Senate, it is easy to forget Matthew: "No man can serve two masters...Ye cannot serve God and mammon." Who do we serve here? I submit it is mammon, all day long, no doubt about it. Mammon surrounds and submerges us. We swim in its currents. This Senate of ours, this is "Mammon Hall." How easy it is from our perch of worldly po… Continue Reading


Time to Wake Up: 2014 Set Records for Global Temperatures, Sea Level Rise and Retreating Glaciers

Mr. President, I am here today for the 111th time in my "Time to Wake Up" series urging this body to wake up to climate change. It is happening all around us, and it is happening right now, not in some distant future. The warnings of what is to come if we fail to act are sobering. Congress has the ability and responsibility to change the course we are on, but we can't do it until Senate Republicans step up and start debating real solutions. Smart climate policy can align with conservative value… Continue Reading


Time to Wake Up: Louisiana Governor Ignores Threat of Climate Change

Mr. President, I rise today for the 110th time to ask my colleagues to wake up to climate change. Long after today's debate has died down, it will still be looming and threatening. We stand now at the precipice of an environmental catastrophe. The burning of fossil fuels has unleashed a flood of carbon pollution that is pushing the climate system planet wide into conditions that are unprecedented in human history. It has already permanently altered the world that we will leave to future generati… Continue Reading


In Support of the Iran Nuclear Agreement

Congress presently has the heavy responsibility to conduct a thorough and rigorous review of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran. After numerous briefings from officials involved in the negotiations, consultation with scientific and diplomatic experts, meetings with Rhode Islanders, and a great deal of personal reflection, I have decided to support the plan. I do so because it blocks the pathways through which Iran could pursue a nuclear weapon, establishes unprecedented inspectio… Continue Reading


Time to Wake Up: Kentucky Senators on Climate Change: Duck, Deny, Disparage

Mr. President, this is actually the time of the week for me to deliver my 109th "Time to Wake Up" speech. I find it a little bit frustrating these days because climate change used to be a bipartisan issue. Over and over again, we had bipartisan, serious climate change bills. In fact, the first big climate change bill in the EPW Committee was Warner-Lieberman--John Warner, Republican of Virginia, and Joe Lieberman, Democrat of Connecticut. But then came Citizens United and all that dark money beg… Continue Reading


Time to Wake Up: Wisconsin Governor Ignores Threats of Climate Change

Mr. President, in poll after poll, the American people have told this Congress that it is time to wake up to the ever-growing threat from carbon pollution. Two-thirds of Americans support the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan to cut emissions from powerplants and invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy. Even a majority of Republicans support action to reduce carbon pollution. But we do nothing. So here I am again, for the 108th time, for a speech of which the Presiding… Continue Reading


Time to Wake Up: Florida Officials Out of Step

Mr./Madam President, this is the 107th time that I have come to the floor to urge my colleagues to wake up to the threat of climate change. All over the United States-state by state by state-we are already seeing the real effects of carbon pollution. The American people see it. Two-thirds of Americans, including half of Republicans, favor government action to reduce global warming; and two-thirds, including half of Republicans, would be more likely to vote for a candidate who campaigns on f… Continue Reading


Time to Wake Up: In RI, Our Home, Our Shores, and Our Way of Life Are at Stake

Mr. President, as folks around here know by now, I come to the floor once a week to say as clearly as I can that it is time to wake up to the mounting hazard of climate change. Today is the 106th consecutive time. Why do I do it? Why do I care so much? Because I know the harm we are causing through carbon pollution spells trouble for my home State of Rhode Island. I see it already. We are the Ocean State. Here is a recent headline from the Washington Post: "Human impact on the oceans is growin… Continue Reading


Sen. Whitehouse Delivers Remarks in Support of the Every Child Achieves Act

Mr. President, I wish to join Chairman Murkowski in expressing my satisfaction and pleasure with this bill we are on and join her in commending the leadership of Ranking Member Patty Murray and Chairman Lamar Alexander. As a result of their work, we have a significant piece of legislation before us. It received bipartisan support in the committee, and I think the secret of their success was that they knew how to let Senators be Senators and work on a bill, really on the merits of it, without a l… Continue Reading


Sen. Whitehouse Recognizes Twenty Years of Normalized Vietnam-US Relations

Mr. President, I am here to recognize a historic milestone: the 20th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between the United States and Vietnam. This occasion has some personal significance for me and my family. My father served as Deputy Ambassador to Vietnam; in effect, the chief operating officer of that conflict. I lived with him in that country for several months during the Vietnam war. If he were alive today, he would be proud of the work both countries have done to rec… Continue Reading


Time to Wake Up: Climate Change in Tennessee

Mr. President, this is the 105th time I have come to the Senate floor to urge my colleagues to wake up to the reality of climate change. I know the Presiding Officer is a veteran of several of these speeches. For far too long, far too many of us in this Chamber have simply dismissed the evidence of climate change. They have ignored the sober warnings of scientists, generals, of doctors, of economists, even of big company CEOs that these risks are real. The warnings are clear: If we continue on o… Continue Reading


Time to Wake Up: Papal Encyclical

Mr. President, I am on the floor today for the 104th time--one of these days, I am going to get it right--to urge that we wake up to the dangers of climate change. The scientific community has been sounding the alarm for decades. Our most respected scientific institutions are virtually unanimous in their verdict: Carbon pollution from humans' burning of fossil fuels is warming our atmosphere and oceans, raising and acidifying our seas, loading the dice for more extreme weather, and disrupting t… Continue Reading


Time to Wake Up: There Will be no Avoiding Climate Change in the 2016 Election

Mr. President today is my 103rd time coming to the floor to ask my colleagues to wake up to the urgent problem of climate change. Pretty much everyone is telling us climate change is a problem. First of all, there are the scientists, virtually every major scientific society and agency. Then there are our military and national security leaders, leading American companies, doctors, and faith leaders who are all telling us this is a problem and asking us to wake up. The American people understand… Continue Reading


Sen. Whitehouse Discusses the Consequences of Climate Change at the NECPUC Symposium

Good morning. Thank you, Meg Curran and Rachel Aslin Goldwasser, NECPUC Executive Director for inviting me today. To our New England neighbors, welcome to beautiful Rhode Island. There's a popular expression in Washington these days-maybe you've heard it on the news: "I'm not a scientist." For some reason, I hear that all the time. It's "Climate Change is a Hoax 2.0" from politicians trying to weasel around the carbon pollution problem. Imagine if we answered other policy questions that w… Continue Reading


Time to Wake Up: The American Opportunity Carbon Fee Act of 2015

Mr. President, I rise this evening to introduce, along with my lead cosponsor, Senator Schatz of Hawaii, the American Opportunity Carbon Fee Act of 2015. We announced this legislation this afternoon at an event hosted by the American Enterprise Institute, and I want to thank the American Enterprise Institute for their hospitality. I think their interest in this idea clearly reflects the difference between core conservative economic principles and simply being pushed around by the hectoring of t… Continue Reading


Sen. Whitehouse Unveils Proposed Carbon Fee Bill at American Enterprise Institute

Thank you Arthur [Brooks] and thanks to the American Enterprise Institute for hosting this event. I am excited to introduce today the American Opportunity Carbon Fee Act of 2015, and I look forward to a productive discussion of its merits. Thanks also to Jerry Taylor and Benjamin Zycher for participating in the conversation that will follow my remarks and for offering your input on my bill. And thank you to Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii, my lead cosponsor of this bill, who will be here to sp… Continue Reading


Time to Wake Up: Conservative Support for Carbon Fee

Madam President, today I am here for the 101st time to urge this body to wake up to the threat of climate change. It is real, it is caused by carbon pollution, and it is dangerous. There is a legislative answer to this problem that my Republican colleagues should consider, and that is a carbon fee. The unpleasant fact here in Congress presently, anyway, is that Congress is ruled by the lobbyists and the political enforcers for the fossil fuel industry. But outside this Chamber, where the fossi… Continue Reading


Time to Wake Up: 100 Speeches, 100 Reasons to Act on Climate

Mr. President, April 18, 2012, was not the first time I spoke on the Senate floor on the dangers of carbon pollution, but it was the first in the weekly series that brings me here today with my increasingly dog-eared sign. Opponents of responsible climate action do best in the dark, so I knew if anything was going to change around here, we would need to shine some light on the facts, on the science, and on the sophisticated scheme of denial being conducted by the polluters. I decided to come t… Continue Reading

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