Time to Wake Up: Saying One Thing and Doing Another

Mr. President, this is the 133rd climate speech that I have delivered, and it has been an amazing week. On Saturday, the New York Times posted its cover story about dying coral reefs in our oceans. On Sunday, the cover story in the Providence Journal was about drowning salt marshes in Rhode Island. Both are the handiwork of climate change. Even more amazing, listen to what a Koch brother's operative said last week: "Charles has said the climate is changing. So, the climate is changing." That wa… Continue Reading


Time to Wake Up: Why Don’t We Care?

Mr. President, I am here for my 132nd "Time to Wake Up" speech. We are now back from recess, and while we were away, one little thing and three really big things happened. The little thing has to do with the so-called war on coal which we have heard so much nonsense about in this Chamber. There was this article, which I am showing on this chart, saying: "Natural gas has been waging a war on coal for more than a decade, and this is the year it plants the flag." Natural gas has been waging a war… Continue Reading


A Case for Optimism on Climate Change

Madam President, I come to this Chamber for the 131st time to urge this body to break free and wake up to what carbon pollution is doing to our atmosphere and our oceans. Last week, scientists at NOAA reported that carbon dioxide levels at their Mauna Loa Observatory jumped in 2015 by the largest year-to-year increase in 56 years of research. Pieter Tans, lead scientist at NOAA, said, "Carbon dioxide levels are increasing faster than they have in hundreds of thousands of years. It's explosive c… Continue Reading


Sen. Whitehouse Discusses the Bipartisan CARA Act on the Senate Floor

Mr. President, no one appears to be seeking the floor right now, so I will take the opportunity to speak about our CARA legislation. Since the Senator from Ohio, who has been my partner in this, is now presiding, this is an opportune time to give some remarks. I think like many States, just from the remarks we heard on the floor already, it is not unusual to have a terrible toll at home from opioid abuse and from overdoses. In 2014, 239 Rhode Islanders lost their lives to overdoses. That is mor… Continue Reading


Time to Wake Up: Climate Science Denial Continues

Mr. President, as the Presiding Officer knows, this is my 129th "Time to Wake Up" speech to my colleagues about the serious threat of carbon pollution and our responsibility as Senators to heed that threat and to take steps to soften the blow of climate change. With each passing week, the evidence of climate change continues to mount and public understanding of the stakes of the climate crisis continues to grow. Worldwide, 2015 was the hottest year since we began keeping records back in 1880, a… Continue Reading


On the Nomination of a Justice to the Supreme Court

Mr. President, we are here on this conflict we have over a Supreme Court nominee, which has turned into a considerable, unprecedented fuss, I believe, for a fairly simple reason. The elephant, so to speak, in the room is that the Court has become a political actor under Chief Justice Roberts. The rightwing bloc on the Court delivered politically because it had a 5-to-4 majority. Now their rightwing majority is gone, and Republicans are predictably upset. Justice Frankfurter admonished that "it … Continue Reading


Time to Wake Up: Ocean Acidification and New England’s Marine Life

Mr. President, I am here now for the 128th time to urge that we wake up to the ugly changes that carbon pollution is wreaking on our climate. It is happening all around us, and it is happening right now, not in some far-off future. As humans we are terrestrial beings. We live on the land. So naturally we pay more attention to the experience where we live--things such as increasing average temperatures on the land and changes in extreme weather when it hits the land. We don't so much pay attenti… Continue Reading


Time to Wake Up: Dark Money and Climate Denial

Madam President, investigative author Jane Mayer has written an important piece of journalism--her new book, "Dark Money"--about the secret but massive influence-buying rightwing billionaires led by the infamous Koch brothers. Jane Mayer's book catalogs the rise and the expansion into a vast array of front groups of this operation and the role in it of two of America's more shameless villains: Charles and David Koch. Some have called this beast they have created the "Kochtopus" because it has so… Continue Reading


Time to Wake Up: Energy Bill, Take Two

Mr. President, the Senate is still at work crafting a package of energy legislation that can earn the support of a broad majority and potentially become this body's first comprehensive energy efficiency legislation since 2007. This is my 126th weekly call to arms to wake us up to the duty we owe our constituents and future generations of Americans, not only to unleash the clean energy solutions that will propel our economy forward but also to stave off the devastating effects of carbon pollutio… Continue Reading


Time to Wake Up: Moving Toward a Clean-Energy Economy

Mr. President, today marks the 125th time I have come to the Senate floor to ask this body to wake up to the threats of climate change. This week is a little different because we are currently debating the bipartisan Energy Policy Modernization Act. The bill was crafted by my colleagues, Senators Murkowski and Cantwell, and it may become our first comprehensive energy efficiency legislation since 2007. While the base bill is a good start, we have much work to do before we come anywhere near mee… Continue Reading


Time to Wake Up: Climate Change in Texas

Mr. President, I rise for "Time to Wake Up" speech number 124. Today, let's talk Texas. Polling from the University of Texas at Austin shows that more than three out of four Americans--or 76 percent--now believe that climate change is occurring. Fifty-nine percent of Republicans say it is happening. While most poll respondents say they would support a Presidential candidate who supports reducing coal as an energy source, the number goes up to 65 percent for voters under the age of 35. So, we m… Continue Reading


Time to Wake Up: 2015 Climate Action

Happy New Year. Nothing says "Happy New Year" like the "Time to Wake Up" speech, so I will kick off 2016 with my year-opener "Time to Wake Up" speech recapping some of last year's climate change milestones. They say you only get one chance to make a first impression, and the first impression Senate Republicans chose to make in 2015 was to use their first 3 weeks of floor time--3 full weeks of precious floor time--to help a foreign oil company's tar sands pipeline. Even though it meant the gover… Continue Reading


Time to Wake Up: Corporate America's Call for Climate Action

Mr. President, one of the brightest bright spots at the Paris climate talks last week was the robust corporate presence. Leading businesses and executives from around the world were there in Paris to voice their support for a strong international climate agreement. That brings me here today for the now 122nd time to say that it is time for America's leading corporations and their lobbyists to bring that same message here to Washington to help Congress wake up. Let me use an example of two of t… Continue Reading


Time to Wake Up: Paris Climate Talks

Mr. President, the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Ben Cardin, led a delegation of 10 Senators to Paris this past weekend. We went to support the "high-ambition coalition" on the international climate agreement. It was truly impressive to see so many nations represented at the meeting, active and trying to help. All of us in the CODEL came away from Paris with a good feeling about the prospects for a strong climate agreement. I had the chance to speak at Oceans… Continue Reading


Time to Wake Up: Corporations Funding Phony Climate Denial

Madam President, as the Presiding Officer knows well, every week that I am here and the Senate is in session, I come to the floor to remind us of the damage carbon pollution continues to do to our atmosphere and oceans. Today I rise for the 120th time to urge my colleagues to wake up to the threat of climate change. I am not alone, although it sometimes seems a bit lonely here. We have an advertisement today in the Wall Street Journal--we will find it here in 1 second; well, I seem to have misl… Continue Reading


Time to Wake Up: The Climate Denier Castle

Mr. President, I am here to speak in what is probably my 119th "Time to Wake Up" speech related to climate change. I would like to take this occasion to express my appreciation to a person whom the TV cameras can probably see behind me sitting on the staff bench, Joseph Majkut, who has been a fellow on my staff for over a year now. He has been very instrumental in helping me prepare these speeches. I am grateful to him. Today, I ask that we imagine a dark castle with looming ramparts and tall … Continue Reading


Time to Wake Up: Ohioans Are Acting on Climate Change

Mr. President, it is my habit to give my "Time to Wake Up" speeches once a week when the Senate is in session. It is also a practice of mine to go to other States--particularly States that have Republican Senators--to look at what is happening in the States and get a sense of where the local universities and the local experts are with respect to climate change. My last visit was to Ohio. I have also been to New Hampshire, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, and Iowa. The… Continue Reading


Time to Wake Up: GOP's False Claims About the Clean Power Plan

Mr. President, I guess in the order proceeding here, I am here to bring the opposing views. Every week we are here, I remind this body of the damage carbon pollution is doing to our atmosphere and to our oceans. I have traveled to Senator Isakson's State to see what the University of Georgia is measuring off of Sapelo Island, and I hope to have the chance to go west to continue this. We have to wake up to climate change, and we have to move toward a clean-energy economy and the jobs and innovat… Continue Reading


Time to Wake Up: What Exxon Knew About Climate Change

Mr./Madam President, it is time for this body to wake up, not just to climate change, but to the decades-long, purposeful corporate smokescreen of misleading public statements from the fossil fuel industry and its allies on the dangers of carbon pollution. I am here for the 116th time, seeking an open, honest and factual debate in Congress about global climate change. The energy industry's top dog, ExxonMobil-number two for both revenue and profits among the Fortune 500-has been getting some b… Continue Reading


Time to Wake Up: Touched a Nerve

Mr. President, last week, former head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Robert M. White passed away at the age of 92. Dr. White served this nation under five presidents and pioneered the peaceful use of satellites to understand our weather and climate. "We do have environmental problems and they're serious ones, the preservation of species among them," he said, "but the climate is the environmental problem that's so pervasive in its effects on the society. . . . The climat… Continue Reading

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