Speeches

04.18.18

Time to Wake Up: Rhode Island Department of Health

Mr. President, when we think about climate change- something we don't do much of in this body-we often think about rising global temperatures and heat waves, and we think of changing weather patterns, stronger storms, or sea level rise threatening coastal communities. We actually see these effects unfold across the United States and around the world as heat records fall, winters shrink, and waters creep ever higher along our coastlines. We also see the economic consequences of climate change. J… Continue Reading


04.10.18

Time to Wake Up: Climate Denial

Mr. President, I am here on the floor for my 202nd ''Time to Wake Up'' speech. I would like to begin by thanking this body for the passing of the National Oceans and Coastal Security Fund as part of the measure that Republicans and Democrats agreed to before the recent recess. The Presiding Officer obviously represents an extremely coastal State. I represent Rhode Island, a very coastal State. This new program will provide resources for the communities along our shores to be able to deal with th… Continue Reading


03.20.18

Time to Wake Up: Climate Progress

Mr. President, we are more aware than ever of the accelerating pace of climate change and of the serious threat that rising seas, higher temperatures, and changing weather poses. I suppose I don't need to lecture the Presiding Officer from Florida on the threat of rising seas. The real-time effects of climate change are becoming clearer and clearer every year. Here is a telling example unfolding right now in the Arctic. In this graphic, we see the mean area of Arctic sea ice over the last seve… Continue Reading


02.27.18

Time to Wake Up: American Petroleum Institute

Mr. President, I am here for my 198th ''Time to Wake Up'' speech with my increasingly dogeared and beaten chart. My last two speeches focused on, shall we say, the peculiar role two of this country's largest trade associations play on climate change. They have dozens and dozens of member companies that support action on climate change. Renewable energy now provides more jobs than fossil fuels and lots of American manufacturing. Yet the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Ma… Continue Reading


02.13.18

Time to Wake Up: National Association of Manufacturers

Mr. President, I am here for my 197th ''Time to Wake Up'' speech. My poster board is getting a little dog-eared, but we keep moving doggedly along. Last week, I spoke about corporate America outsourcing its lobbying to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce-a determined enemy of any action on climate change. When pro-climate companies support the chamber, they support its anti-climate lobbying, its anti-climate election spending and threatening, and they enable the chamber's anti-climate stranglehold wit… Continue Reading


02.08.18

Time to Wake Up: U.S. Chamber

Mr. President, in that event, let me commence my 196th ''Time to Wake Up'' climate speech. The last year has been a lousy one for environmental policy in the United States. While the rest of the world began implementing the Paris Agreement to reduce the carbon emissions that are changing our climate and our oceans, this proud body, the U.S. Senate, sat on its hands. When President Trump handed the keys to his administration over to what I call the three stooges of the fossil fuel industry-Pruit… Continue Reading


01.24.18

Time to Wake Up: Out of Breath-Out of Time

Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Mr. President, I begin today by adding a Rhode Island voice to the chorus of coastal communities around the country standing against President Trump's reckless and unwelcome choice to try to allow oil and gas drilling off of nearly all U.S. coasts. The Rhode Island ocean economy is worth over $2 billion and employs more than 40,000 people. For whatever potential gain of fossil fuel corporations, offshore drilling introduces all sorts of hazards to our fishing industry and people … Continue Reading


01.17.18

Time to Wake Up: The Murray Plan

Mr. President, now, for the 193rd time, I will give my "Time to Wake Up'' speech, and as I do so, we are coming up on President Trump's anniversary in office. Unfortunately, this occasion does not offer the American people much to celebrate. Behind the persistent tweets and the dog whistles, the Trump Presidency has been a spectacle of special interests and self-dealing. Billionaire donors have endless access installing their operatives and pursuing their special interest goals throughout the e… Continue Reading


01.09.18

Whitehouse Remarks on Fusion GPS Release and the Russian Election Interference

Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Mr. President, 2018 is going to be an election year. In just 10 months, Americans will go to the polls to exercise their franchise, believing in the integrity of our democratic process. I am here today to discuss a threat to the integrity of that process, which is getting little attention here in Congress--nothing near what it deserves. We really ought to be acting with some expedition to safeguard our elections this November. Yet, instead, the effort is one of chasing down parti… Continue Reading


01.03.18

Time to Wake Up: 2017 Year in Review

Thank you, Mr. President, and Happy New Year to you. For my 191st ''Time to Wake Up'' speech, I want to take the change of years to reflect on what 2017 meant for our carbon pollution of the Earth's climate and what 2018 may bring. Our human use of fossil fuels continued to pour carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in 2017. The concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere now stands at almost 407 parts per million-the highest in human history and more than 100 parts per million above the safe range in… Continue Reading


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

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