Speeches

07.30.14

Environmental Protection Was Once a Top Priority of Republicans

Mr. President, I rise today for the seventy-sixth time to urge my colleagues that it is time for us to wake up to the growing threats of climate change. Not a single state remains unaffected by the unprecedented changes we are already seeing, driven by the excessive carbon pollution that we continue to dump into our oceans and atmosphere. Yet in Washington, our Republican colleagues either parrot the polluter line that climate change is just a hoax, or stay silent. No one will step forward. … Continue Reading


07.25.14

How Citizens United Altered the Climate Debate

Thank you, Madam President, this is my seventy-fifth "Time to Wake Up" speech,something of a minor benchmark, I suppose. I come here urging my colleagues to wake up to the threat of climate change. I do this every week that we are in session, hoping that someday spark will hit tinder. But even as the evidence of climate change deepens, the dialogue here in Washington remains one-sided. Climate change was once a bipartisan concern. In recent years, something changed. I think I know what cha… Continue Reading


07.15.14

Climate Change in Utah

My original topic for being here before I got into that subject was that this is my seventy-fourth visit to the floor to urge my colleagues that it is truly time to wake up to the threats of climate change. The reports just keep rolling in. The latest one for coastal states like ours, Madam President, is a study called "Risky Business," that was commissioned by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who knows something about coastal issues, having been flooded by Sandy; former George … Continue Reading


07.14.14

The Devastating Effects of Ocean Acidification

Mr. President, I'm here for the seventy-third time to wake up speech that I have done to urge my colleagues to wake up to the growing threat of climate change. The changes that we are seeing, driven by carbon pollution, are far-reaching-from the coastlines of states like Rhode Island and your state of Connecticut, to the great plateaus and mountain ranges out west; from pole to pole; from high up in the atmosphere to deep down in the oceans. In Rhode Island, we know the oceans are ground zero … Continue Reading


06.25.14

Sens. Whitehouse and Manchin Discuss Common Ground on Energy and Climate Policy

Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Mr. President, I have come here every week now for 72 consecutive weeks that the Senate has been in session to urge colleagues to wake up to the growing threat of climate change. Today I have the pleasure and honor of being joined by my friend and colleague Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia. I ask unanimous consent that the Senator from West Virginia and I be allowed to engage in a colloquy for the time we have been allotted. The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is s… Continue Reading


06.24.14

Sen. Whitehouse Announces DISCLOSE Act Reintroduction

Since the Supreme Court's disastrous Citizens United decision, a torrent of dark money has swept through our political system, giving corporations and billionaires the ability to buy and sell election influence in complete anonymity. Today, more than 50 senators are coming together to change that. The DISCLOSE Act will require political groups to list publically their big donors, so voters can at least know who is trying to sway their votes. As many of you know, this legislation is not new. … Continue Reading


06.19.14

Climate Change in New Hampshire

Thank you Mr. President, I'm over here to make an objection if necessary to an effort to submarine the President's climate change initiative, which two-thirds of all Americans support, which a huge number of major name-brand American corporations support, which is supported by those who we trust to lead our national defense and our national security interests. But something about this building, something about this place makes it a place where the polluting interests have wildly disproportionat… Continue Reading


06.04.14

Bold Action for Cleaner Air and a Healthier Future

Thanks, Mr. President. I'm here for the sixty-ninth straight, consecutive week that the Senate has been in session to try to wake us up to the harm that carbon pollution causes to our oceans, to our communities, to our ecosystems, and to our health. The effects of climate change are all around us-from melting glaciers in our national parks, to drought-stricken land across the American Southwest, to rising seas along my Eastern Seaboard. Washington, DC's iconic cherry blossoms are blooming ear… Continue Reading


05.21.14

Americans Want Action on Climate Change

Mr. President, I have come directly to the Senate floor from a terrific event in the Dirksen building where hundreds of people who are concerned about what the carbon pollution is doing to our atmosphere and oceans gathered to wake up Congress. At 5 o'clock a whole bunch of alarms went off down there, and it was a very exciting, very enthusiastic moment with more than 40 members of Congress showing up to reflect our commitment to getting this done. One of the things I told people at the rally… Continue Reading


05.13.14

Climate Change in Florida

Mr. President, I'm here for the sixty-seventh time to urge my colleagues to wake up to the growing threat of climate change, and today I'm joined by my friend and colleague, Senator Nelson of Florida, who is a true leader in this fight. I'd like to ask unanimous consent that we be able to engage in a colloquy for the next, say, twenty five minutes. Mr. President, Florida is about a thousand miles from Rhode Island. And it is, what, slightly larger than my home state? But Florida and Rhode I… Continue Reading


05.07.14

Climate Change in South Carolina and Georgia

Mr. President, I'm here now for the sixty-sixth consecutive weeks the Senate has been in session to ask my colleagues here to wake up to the threat of climate change. The topic has become taboo for Republicans in Congress, and so the discussion of climate change somewhat one-sided around here, but the recent comprehensive National Climate Assessment shows Americans are witnessing the effects of climate change, in every state of our nation. Colleagues: read the Assessment; find out how climat… Continue Reading


05.01.14

Climate Change, Corporate America, and North Carolina

Mr. President, I'm here, as regular viewers of the C-SPAN network know, for the sixty-fifth time every week that the Senate in in session to ask my colleagues her in the Senate to wake up to the realities of climate change that surround us. Here's what we know: We know that the oceans and atmosphere are warming. By the way, that's measurement, not theory. We know that sea level is rising - again that's measurement, not theory. And we know that oceans are becoming more acidic. Again, a simpl… Continue Reading


04.08.14

Climate Change and National Security

Thank you very much. I'm now here for the sixty-fourth time to ask my colleagues to wake up to the threat of climate change. It was actually, Madam President, almost exactly two years ago-April of 2012-that I began speaking here every week on the Floor that the Senate is in session. I have tried to make a compelling case for my colleagues. First and foremost, I have relied on the overwhelming scientific evidence and the near unanimity of the scientific community. Ninety-seven percent of c… Continue Reading


03.26.14

Climate Change in the Heartland

Thank you very much Madam President. I'm now here for the sixty-second weekly effort to have my colleagues wake up to the threats of climate change. Congress continues to remain sound asleep, I suspect aestheticized by the narcotic drip of polluter money into our veins, but the signs of change around us continue. [Mauna Loa Monthly Carbon Dioxide Concentrations] This is the Mauna Loa carbon dioxide concentrations monthly, and we have just passed again, 400 parts per million of carbon dioxide… Continue Reading


03.04.14

Glacial Snowpack and Climate Change

Thank you, Mr. President. I'm here now for the sixtieth time to ask my colleagues to wake up to the threats of climate change. To see the damage that is being caused by our shifting climate, we need look no further than the Winter Olympics. The most recent Winter Olympics concluded last month. Over 200 countries broadcast the event to an estimated 3.8 billion people worldwide. In Rhode Island, we rooted for our very own Marissa Castelli, who brought home a bronze medal in pairs figure skating… Continue Reading


02.26.14

Citizens United, Congressional Gridlock, and Climate Change

Mr. President, let me thank the distinguished chairman of the Veterans Committee for his remarks and for the relentlessness, the enthusiasm and the passion with which he has pursued putting together this extraordinarily strong bill for our veterans. I look forward to supporting it and I commend him for his excellent work. I'm here because every week that the Senate is in session, now for 59 weeks, I give my climate speech, hoping that someday spark will hit tinder. I could give a whole separa… Continue Reading


02.12.14

The Wilderness Warrior

Mr. President, this marks the fifty-eighth consecutive week we've been in session that I've come to the floor to seek to wake up this Congress to the threat of climate change. Carbon pollution from the burning of fossil fuels is altering the climate; the consensus around this fact within the scientific community-and in fact, the reality-based community, at this point-is overwhelming. Since the Industrial Revolution, humans have dumped 2 trillion metric tons of carbon dioxide into the air and … Continue Reading


01.29.14

Effects of Climate-Related Sea Level and Erosion

Mr. President, this is the fifty-sixth time, the fifty-sixth consecutive week that we have been in session in the Senate that I have come to the floor to sound an alarm about carbon pollution and the harm that it is causing to our oceans and to our coastal communities. The fifty-sixth time. And frankly, I'm getting a little sick of it. I'm getting sick of the Republican Party being completely the tool of the polluters. I'm sick of the phony denial, and of not getting anything done. And I'm … Continue Reading


01.15.14

American Corporations are Taking Climate Change Seriously

Mr. President, I am back now for the fifty-fifth time that the Senate has been in session each week, to urge my colleagues to wake up to the toll that carbon pollution is taking on our atmosphere, on our oceans, and on our people. While climate change deniers continue to gin up phony doubt to mislead the public, top American businesses and corporations recognize the risks posed by climate change. They are preparing for the economic fallout. Members of Congress bury their heads in the sand, li… Continue Reading


01.07.14

Climate Change is Harming our Oceans

Madam President, I'm back again today, now for the fifty-fourth time, to urge my colleagues to wake up to what carbon pollution is doing to Earth's climate and oceans. Facts that we see all around us, but can't seem to penetrate the politics of Congress. We in this body are willfully ignoring changes that we've never seen before; changes that threaten our planet and its rich array of plant and animal life; our homes, farms, and factories; and our very health and wellbeing. Carbon-driven clima… Continue Reading

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