Speeches

04.04.19

Whitehouse Delivers Remarks to the Atlantic Council

Thank you to the Atlantic Council for inviting me here today as you unveil this report. Himalayan Asia faces major water security challenges. This work is timely and significant. In the region, relations between Pakistan and India have long been fraught; in human history, violent conflicts over water are as old as memory; Kashmir is a crucible of contest for riparian control of great rivers; and climate change is destabilizing water flows. This combination creates a region ripe for conflict,… Continue Reading


03.28.19

Whitehouse Remarks on Reforming the Senate Budget Process

Mr. Chairman, thank you very much. I remember very fondly my days of innocence when I came to the Budget Committee and thought that a deficit neutral reserve fund actually did anything and experienced a glow of satisfaction when I got one passed. Obviously, I've learned better over the years. So what this amendment focuses on, I think there is bipartisan agreement on, which is the need for reform of the budget committee. We are now fully meaningless. We do two things. We do this, which is an ex… Continue Reading


03.27.19

Whitehouse Remarks on the Senate Budget Process

Mr. Chairman, here we go again. In a bipartisan tradition, we are here on a budget that is little more than a messaging document for the majority party. To amplify on Senator Kaine's remarks, there are actually about 40 seats in this room and there are now about one, two, three, four, five, six, seven people sitting in them. There's the world's smallest press table over there with the world's most bored press corp. reporting on the world's most useless hearing. And we've gotten ourselves into th… Continue Reading


03.27.19

The Third Federalist Society

Mr. President, this week, the Senate conveyor belt of President Trump's judicial nominees grinds on. So far, the president and the Senate leader have preserved an unprecedented pace in confirming federal judges, especially powerful federal appellate judges. They seem to have no higher priority. What's a little weird about this is that nearly 90% of Trump's appellate judges, and both his Supreme Court justices, are members of the so-called Federalist Society. On the Supreme Court, Kavanaugh, Gor… Continue Reading


03.25.19

Time To Wake Up: Climate Change and National Security

Mr./Madam President, I'm grateful to be joined on the floor today by my senior Senator from Rhode Island and Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator Reed. We rise today to speak about the perils climate change poses to our national security. I'd like to start by offering a fact and a proposition. The fact: as reported in the 2017 Climate Science Report, oceans are absorbing more than nine zettajoules of heat energy each year. The proposition: that America is and remain… Continue Reading


03.12.19

Time To Wake Up: The Party With No Plan

There's no doubt that climate change is happening, that it is caused by human activity, and that we must act now to avoid the worst of it. But for too long we've seen the fossil fuel industry, and its army of front groups, use manufactured doubt - phony doubt - as their weapon of choice to obstruct any solution. Well, science studies things, and it even studies doubt. A scientific study published by Nature has found that the evidence of human-caused climate change occurring has now achieved w… Continue Reading


03.05.19

Time To Wake Up: Friends of the Court

Madam President, in California several counties and cities are suing the Big Oil companies to hold them liable for the damages climate change is causing to their infrastructure. As judges consider these cases, one thing they may want to keep in mind is Big Oil's history of deception and lies. A group of scientific experts filed this friend-of-the-court brief carefully charting that pattern of deception and lies. The group of scholars and scientists chronicled how the fossil fuel companies h… Continue Reading


02.13.19

Time to Wake Up: A Green New Deal

I came here this afternoon to give my customary weekly climate speech urging it is time to wake up here. I was planning to speak about a legal brief that a number of scientists, led by Robert Brulle and Naomi Oreskes, filed in the Ninth Circuit, detailing the long history of the oil industry knowing about climate change, doing its own research to confirm what it knows about climate change, telling the public something that they knew was false, and yet taking what they knew to be true and using i… Continue Reading


02.06.19

Time To Wake Up: Carbon Dividends

Mr./Madam President, judging by the deafening silence of Senate Republicans, you would think that there was no conservative support in this country for even the most measured response to climate change. However, many prominent Republicans are clamoring for climate action-just not here in Mammon Hall. See, for example, this January 16 op-ed in the Wall Street Journal-not exactly a progressive lefty rag. The opening line: "Global climate change is a serious problem calling for immediate national… Continue Reading


01.29.19

Time To Wake Up: There’s No Place Like (an Underwater) Home

Madam President, I'm fortunate to be joined today by my colleague from New Hampshire, Senator Hassan, to talk about the risks to our New England coastal communities from the climate changes coming our way. Despite really dirty efforts of the fossil fuel industry to keep the truth at bay, the tide of public understanding is turning. A recent survey by Yale and George Mason Universities found that 73 percent of Americans now see global warming happening. That number is up 10 percentage points … Continue Reading


01.15.19

Time To Wake Up: The Polls Have It

Madam President, with a new year come a lot of changes. This month, a Democratic majority was sworn into the House of Representatives, and that new majority has heard the call from Americans to make tackling climate change one of its top priorities. What a change that will present from the last Congress! Young voters who helped propel this change are urgently concerned about climate change. More than three-fourths of millennials agree on the need for climate action, with even a majority of … Continue Reading


01.10.19

Time To Wake Up: 2018 Year in Review

Happy new year, Mr. President. The new 116th Congress brings new hope for the Senate to face up to the clear and present challenge of climate change. The House of Representatives, in Democratic hands, augments that hope. The Senate Republican majority has failed to address climate change. This was no accident. This is the Senate in the Citizens United era. We saw years of Senate climate bipartisanship before Citizens United. After Citizens United, we see immensely powerful, climate denyi… Continue Reading


12.19.18

Time To Wake Up: We Must Save the NFIP from Drowning

I'm grateful to the Senior Senator from New Jersey for joining me again this week to bring attention to the challenges climate change poses to our coastal communities. Our states shared the experience of Superstorm Sandy, which roared ashore on higher and warmer oceans, and we know how vulnerable we are. As sea levels rise and storms intensify, the National Flood Insurance Program should be one of our government's best tools to educate and ready our communities for the changes carbon pollut… Continue Reading


12.17.18

Whitehouse Floor Remarks on the ALS Disability Insurance Access Act

Mr. President, one of the things that marks service as a U.S. Senator is the chance to meet really remarkable individuals, and among the remarkable individuals I have had the chance to meet in my time in the Senate, there are few, if any, who are more impressive or memorable than those who have been diagnosed with ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease. Competing with them for being impressive and noteworthy are the friends and family and advocates who become their support system and their… Continue Reading


12.12.18

Whitehouse Floor Remarks on the Congressional Review Act and Dark Money

Mr. President, I am honored to join the senior Senator from Oregon in support of this important resolution. As I think everybody on this floor has observed, there is a rot in our American democracy, and there is a shadow over the Halls of Congress. The rot is dark money, and the shadow is special interest influence empowered by that dark money. A lot of this goes back to the extraordinarily misguided decision of the U.S. Supreme Court-or, I should say, five Republican appointees to the U.S. Sup… Continue Reading


12.11.18

Time To Wake Up: COP24

Mr. President, this week, nations of the world are gathering in Katowice [cat-oh-vee-za], Poland, to review - and we hope amplify - their commitments to reduce carbon emissions under the 2015 Paris Agreement, and to discuss how they will report and verify reductions in carbon pollution. The U.S. is technically present in the form of a small delegation, but American leadership on climate change is decidedly absent. Why? Because the government of the United States of America has fallen under th… Continue Reading


12.06.18

Time To Wake Up: From Coast to Coast

Mr. President, I'm very pleased that Senator Feinstein is joining me today - welcome. We're here to discuss how climate change is affecting the U.S. from the East to the West, from large states like California to the smallest one, Rhode Island - small in size, but long on coastline! As coastal states, both Rhode Island and California are on the front lines of climate change. Sea levels are already rising, and as they do, Rhode Island's coastal communities are having to spend more and more mon… Continue Reading


12.05.18

Whitehouse Remarks on the Nomination of Bernard McNamee’s for FERC Commissioner

Mr. President, I am here today to express my extremely grave concerns about the person we have just begun to move to a vote to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. He would be Commissioner McNamee if we were to confirm him. This is in an administration that has distinguished itself with terrible energy appointments-conceivably the worst. It is too important to our country to have an independent and reality based Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to allow an industry plant like Mr. McName… Continue Reading


11.28.18

Time To Wake Up: Science’s Latest Warning

A persistent argument of my climate talks is how corrupt climate denial is, and how malign the fossil fuel industry has been in the politics of climate change. The premise of that argument is that the fossil fuel industry denial apparatus is wrong about climate change, and knows it is wrong. That is my case: the denial apparatus is not only wrong, but knows it is wrong. Every once in a while, along comes something that proves my case. Last week, on the afternoon of Black Friday, the Trump … Continue Reading


11.14.18

Time To Wake Up: The Ocean Heat Bomb

It is hard to overstate the importance of the Earth's oceans, as a storehouse of our food, a regulator of our climate, a highway for our travel and trade, and a source of wonder and recreation. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, oceans contributed $1.5 trillion to the global economy in 2010. But climate change is putting this all at risk. I've spoken frequently here on the floor about the threat climate change poses to our oceans, and of the warning signal… Continue Reading

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