Speeches

12.20.17

Time to Wake Up: CAFE

Mr. President, I am here now for the 190th ''Time to Wake Up'' speech to talk about an issue that falls at the intersection of climate change and jobs and consumer power and protection. You would think that a policy that simultaneously reduces the carbon emissions responsible for climate change, and boosts American industrial competitiveness, and puts thousands of dollars back into the pockets of American consumers would be pretty universally popular. Unfortunately, you would be wrong. The Cor… Continue Reading


11.28.17

Time to Wake Up: Storms of Change are Brewing

Mr. President, in this season of Thanksgiving, let me say that I am thankful, as I rise for my 187th "Time to Wake Up" address, for the spirit of commitment and innovation that this great Nation devotes to tackling the challenge of climate change, even with this President. The United States now is alone in the world as the only Nation not committed to the historic Paris Agreement, but at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Germany, I saw firsthand that Americans are still committed to climate… Continue Reading


11.15.17

Time to Wake Up: Read Your Own Climate Report

Mr. President, I am here to talk about the U.N. Climate Change Conference that we just got back from in Germany, where the United States stood alone as the only Nation in the world-Syria and Nicaragua having left us-not a party to the historic Paris Agreement. Led by Senator Cardin, my colleagues Senators Markey, Schatz, Merkley, and I went to Bonn to tell the nations gathered there that the Trump administration does not represent American views on this issue, nor American determination to tackl… Continue Reading


11.14.17

Floor Speech on the Nomination of Steven Bradbury

Madam President, I am here to respond to the nomination of Steven Bradbury for a senior legal position in the U.S. Department of Transportation. I have had some experience with Mr. Bradbury, and in my experience, he is disqualified from serving in a legal government position of trust, such as he has been nominated for. The Bush administration pursued a policy of detainee mistreatment that since has been acknowledged to include torture of detainees. The process that got the United States of Amer… Continue Reading


11.07.17

Time to Wake Up: Discounting Future Generations

Mr. President, our EPA Administrator, Scott Pruitt, has a little problem. You see, the Supreme Court has ruled that greenhouse gases are pollutants under the Clean Air Act. Therefore, under the Clean Air Act, the Environmental Protection Agency, which Pruitt leads, is legally obligated to regulate greenhouse gases. They must do this as a matter of law. Moreover, the EPA has determined that greenhouse gas emissions endanger the public health and welfare of current and future generations, and Sco… Continue Reading


11.01.17

Janus v. American Federation of State

Mr. President, the Janus decision coming up in the U.S. Supreme Court, which Senator BROWN has just spoken about, is one that merits the attention of people who are concerned about the country and the Court. I wish to make two points in my remarks. The first has to do with the very difficult to explain-or at least very difficult to comfortably explain- pattern of 5-to-4 decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court, in which the five consist entirely of Republican appointees. The Supreme Court makes a lot… Continue Reading


11.01.17

Time to Wake Up: CPP Repeal and Court Remedies for Pruitt

Mr. President, I come to the floor today for the 184th time to ask us to at least wake up to our duty as a Congress to enact prudent policies to address the effects of climate change. The Presiding Officer is well aware of what Alaska faces from ocean acidification and ocean melting and sea level rise and all of that. For the generations who will look back at this, I have tried in these speeches to chronicle the political tricks and bullying that have put Congress-the Congress of the United Stat… Continue Reading


10.16.17

Time to Wake Up: Industry Attribution to the Social Cost of Carbon

Mr. President, now, if I may, I turn to my 182nd appearance to remind us of the global crisis of climate change, which has recently come so perilously close to our American shores. This recent graphic from NOAA shows above-average temperatures in our oceans. Anything that is pink is above average; if it is reddish, it is much warmer than average; and if it is really red, like here, that is a record. That is the warmest record. As one can see, from 2015, 2016, and 2017, the oceans have warmed si… Continue Reading


10.03.17

Time to Wake Up - Our Oceans

Mr. President, this week on an island nation one tenth the size of Rhode Island, more than 60 countries will gather at the fourth international Our Ocean Conference. Catalyzed by then-Secretary of State John Kerry, the United States hosted the premier international ocean conference in 2014 and 2016. Secretary Kerry's legacy continues with the Malta Conference now going on, hosted by the European Union, and that will be followed by scheduled conferences in Indonesia in 2018 and Norway in 2019. N… Continue Reading


09.27.17

Time To Wake Up: Rhode Island’s Teachers Teach Climate Change and the Dishonest Heartland Institute

Mr. President, I have spoken before, as you know, about the fossil fuel industry's persistent effort to undermine public understanding of climate change and to confuse people about the actual effects of carbon pollution on our atmosphere and oceans. I have mentioned Drexel University Professor Robert Brulles' follow-themoney analysis, which reveals the complex network of organizations and funding-what we have called the web of denial-that is designed to obscure the fossil fuel industry's fingerp… Continue Reading


09.19.17

Time to Wake Up: The Social Cost of Carbon

Mr. President, each week that you see me standing here means another week in which the Senate of the United States has sat out doing anything to address climate change and another week of carbon pollution streaming into our atmosphere and oceans. Carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels is changing our atmosphere and our oceans. We see it everywhere. We see it in storm-damaged homes and flooded cities. We see it in drought-stricken farms and raging wildfires. We see it in fish disappearing from… Continue Reading


09.13.17

Time to Wake Up: National Security Implications of Climate Change

Mr. President, as the Senate considers the annual authorization of our military and national defense programs, I am here for my 178th "Time to Wake Up" speech, to discuss the security risks climate change presents to our Nation. I urge my colleagues to heed the warnings from our national security experts, not just the self-serving propaganda of the fossil fuel industry that blankets us. What are these national security risks? A first order of security risk is the physical damage climate change… Continue Reading


09.07.17

Time to Wake Up: While We Were Out

Mr. President, I am here to deliver my ''Time to Wake Up'' speech, which I do every week that the Senate is in session. We have been out of session for a few weeks, so there is a fair amount to talk about that happened while we were gone. One of the first things was a new study in my home State of Rhode Island. Rhode Island is a coastal State. We have considerable worries about sea level rise, and we have a State Coastal Resources Management Council that has done what is probably the best model… Continue Reading


07.26.17

Time to Wake Up: The American Opportunity Carbon Fee Act of 2017

Thank you and good afternoon. I appreciate your accommodating our schedule. As you know, we have some rather consequential votes happening in the Senate this afternoon. I am truly delighted that the American Enterprise Institute has once again launched the American Opportunity Carbon Fee Act. I thank my partner in this effort, Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii, and thank you to the staff of the American Enterprise Institute, and to Dr. Aparna Mathur and the panelists for being here to discuss our … Continue Reading


07.20.17

Time to Wake Up: The Chamber’s Untenable Climate Position

Mr. President, to the disappointment of the American public, the world scientific community, and even to corporate giants like Goldman Sachs and Cargill, President Trump recently decided to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement, citing as justification a slew of "alternative facts." Some of the most egregious "alternative facts" came from a National Economic Resource Associates report, commissioned and promoted by a group that calls itself the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, but fronts … Continue Reading


07.12.17

Time to Wake Up: CCUS, Carbon Fee, and Miners

Mr. President, there was an interesting press conference earlier today in which I joined with Senator Heitkamp, Senator Capito, and Senator Barrasso on a common piece of legislation that will help address climate change. That does not happen often, so it was a good sign. This is not a comprehensive solution. It may not even make much of a measurable difference, but it will make some difference. It will help drive America's technological edge, and it will help, as it gets implemented, reduce our… Continue Reading


06.27.17

Time to Wake Up: Climate Change Affects Public Health

Mr. President, I am back for my weekly "Time to Wake Up" speech, which, given the theme of the week in Washington, it is going to focus on the health consequences of what is going on in climate change. It is timely to do so because just recently the National Weather Service issued an excessive heat warning for the Southwestern United States. In California, San Diego County set a record at--hang on--124 degrees. As a result of this heat, the National Weather Service warned of "a major increase in… Continue Reading


06.21.17

Time to Wake Up: The Dark Money Weaponry

Mr. President, I come weekly to the Senate whenever we are in session to give my "Time to Wake Up" speech, talking about climate change and, quite often, talking about the climate denial campaign that prevents us from taking action and, quite often, talking about the campaign finance problems in our country that make climate denial effective. Here, in Congress, it is not hard to connect the dots from campaign finance to climate denial. The Supreme Court's Republican majority's disastrous Citize… Continue Reading


06.14.17

Transparency, Corruption, and Russian Meddling

I appreciate my colleague's sense of humor. Madam President, the United States of America has suffered an unprecedented intrusion into our American Presidential elections. In January, our intelligence agencies disclosed that agents of Russia, on the orders of President Vladimir Putin, engaged in a massive election influence campaign throughout 2016. This effort strikes at the very heart of our representative democracy. All Americans should take this attack deadly seriously. Congress had to act… Continue Reading


06.13.17

Time to Wake Up: Fall is Coming

Mr. President, however loud, persistent, and powerful the climate denial operation has been, we have to remember that it has always been built on lies. It is a huge fortress of lies stacked upon lies. Lies about the science, lies about the scientists, lies about doubt, lies about costs, lies through phony front groups, and lies about where the money comes from and who is pulling the strings. This fortress of lies protects a subsidy to the fossil fuel industry that the International Monetary Fu… Continue Reading

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