Speeches

11.16.15

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


11.04.15

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


10.27.15

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


10.20.15

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


10.06.15

Time to Wake Up: Global Food Companies Unite On Climate Action

Mr. President, Americans across the board recognize the growing threat of global climate change. Last week was a big week on the conservative and corporate sides. New polling revealed strong support among conservatives for smart policies to stem carbon pollution. Coalitions of leading corporate voices--6 major banks and 10 major food and beverage companies--called on us to join them in backing strong climate action. I come to the floor today, now for the 114th time, to join with them--with scien… Continue Reading


09.29.15

Time to Wake Up: The Pause That Wasn’t

Mr. President, I rise today for my 113th "Time to Wake Up" speech on climate change. They say 13 is unlucky. I don't know what 113 is, but I do know what climate change is. It is very real. We shouldn't kid ourselves. And it is an urgent challenge for our country and our world. Our leading scientific organizations say so. Our national security leaders say so. All of our National Laboratories say so. Major American businesses say so. Religious leaders of all faiths say so. Pope Francis certainly … Continue Reading


09.24.15

Coming Together in Faith on Climate – Washington National Cathedral

I rise today to bring attention to two of God's humblest but most useful creatures. When was the last time any of us thought of the humble bumblebee? We have important things to do. Who can be thinking about bumblebees? And the humble pteropod? How many of us even know what it is? It's a winged snail, sometimes called the sea butterfly, because over millennia, God's evolution of these creatures has turned their snail foot into an oceanic wing. Here's what is happening to them: Bumblebe… Continue Reading


09.22.15

Time to Wake Up: God’s Humblest Beasts

I rise today in my series of "Time to Wake Up" speeches to bring attention to two of God's humblest but most useful creatures. Here in the high political majesty of the Senate, it is easy to forget Matthew: "No man can serve two masters...Ye cannot serve God and mammon." Who do we serve here? I submit it is mammon, all day long, no doubt about it. Mammon surrounds and submerges us. We swim in its currents. This Senate of ours, this is "Mammon Hall." How easy it is from our perch of worldly po… Continue Reading


09.16.15

Time to Wake Up: 2014 Set Records for Global Temperatures, Sea Level Rise and Retreating Glaciers

Mr. President, I am here today for the 111th time in my "Time to Wake Up" series urging this body to wake up to climate change. It is happening all around us, and it is happening right now, not in some distant future. The warnings of what is to come if we fail to act are sobering. Congress has the ability and responsibility to change the course we are on, but we can't do it until Senate Republicans step up and start debating real solutions. Smart climate policy can align with conservative value… Continue Reading


09.10.15

Time to Wake Up: Louisiana Governor Ignores Threat of Climate Change

Mr. President, I rise today for the 110th time to ask my colleagues to wake up to climate change. Long after today's debate has died down, it will still be looming and threatening. We stand now at the precipice of an environmental catastrophe. The burning of fossil fuels has unleashed a flood of carbon pollution that is pushing the climate system planet wide into conditions that are unprecedented in human history. It has already permanently altered the world that we will leave to future generati… Continue Reading


09.10.15

In Support of the Iran Nuclear Agreement

Congress presently has the heavy responsibility to conduct a thorough and rigorous review of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran. After numerous briefings from officials involved in the negotiations, consultation with scientific and diplomatic experts, meetings with Rhode Islanders, and a great deal of personal reflection, I have decided to support the plan. I do so because it blocks the pathways through which Iran could pursue a nuclear weapon, establishes unprecedented inspectio… Continue Reading


08.04.15

Time to Wake Up: Kentucky Senators on Climate Change: Duck, Deny, Disparage

Mr. President, this is actually the time of the week for me to deliver my 109th "Time to Wake Up" speech. I find it a little bit frustrating these days because climate change used to be a bipartisan issue. Over and over again, we had bipartisan, serious climate change bills. In fact, the first big climate change bill in the EPW Committee was Warner-Lieberman--John Warner, Republican of Virginia, and Joe Lieberman, Democrat of Connecticut. But then came Citizens United and all that dark money beg… Continue Reading


07.28.15

Time to Wake Up: Wisconsin Governor Ignores Threats of Climate Change

Mr. President, in poll after poll, the American people have told this Congress that it is time to wake up to the ever-growing threat from carbon pollution. Two-thirds of Americans support the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan to cut emissions from powerplants and invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy. Even a majority of Republicans support action to reduce carbon pollution. But we do nothing. So here I am again, for the 108th time, for a speech of which the Presiding… Continue Reading


07.21.15

Time to Wake Up: Florida Officials Out of Step

Mr./Madam President, this is the 107th time that I have come to the floor to urge my colleagues to wake up to the threat of climate change. All over the United States-state by state by state-we are already seeing the real effects of carbon pollution. The American people see it. Two-thirds of Americans, including half of Republicans, favor government action to reduce global warming; and two-thirds, including half of Republicans, would be more likely to vote for a candidate who campaigns on f… Continue Reading


07.15.15

Time to Wake Up: In RI, Our Home, Our Shores, and Our Way of Life Are at Stake

Mr. President, as folks around here know by now, I come to the floor once a week to say as clearly as I can that it is time to wake up to the mounting hazard of climate change. Today is the 106th consecutive time. Why do I do it? Why do I care so much? Because I know the harm we are causing through carbon pollution spells trouble for my home State of Rhode Island. I see it already. We are the Ocean State. Here is a recent headline from the Washington Post: "Human impact on the oceans is growin… Continue Reading


07.14.15

Sen. Whitehouse Delivers Remarks in Support of the Every Child Achieves Act

Mr. President, I wish to join Chairman Murkowski in expressing my satisfaction and pleasure with this bill we are on and join her in commending the leadership of Ranking Member Patty Murray and Chairman Lamar Alexander. As a result of their work, we have a significant piece of legislation before us. It received bipartisan support in the committee, and I think the secret of their success was that they knew how to let Senators be Senators and work on a bill, really on the merits of it, without a l… Continue Reading


07.13.15

Sen. Whitehouse Recognizes Twenty Years of Normalized Vietnam-US Relations

Mr. President, I am here to recognize a historic milestone: the 20th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between the United States and Vietnam. This occasion has some personal significance for me and my family. My father served as Deputy Ambassador to Vietnam; in effect, the chief operating officer of that conflict. I lived with him in that country for several months during the Vietnam war. If he were alive today, he would be proud of the work both countries have done to rec… Continue Reading


07.08.15

Time to Wake Up: Climate Change in Tennessee

Mr. President, this is the 105th time I have come to the Senate floor to urge my colleagues to wake up to the reality of climate change. I know the Presiding Officer is a veteran of several of these speeches. For far too long, far too many of us in this Chamber have simply dismissed the evidence of climate change. They have ignored the sober warnings of scientists, generals, of doctors, of economists, even of big company CEOs that these risks are real. The warnings are clear: If we continue on o… Continue Reading


06.24.15

Time to Wake Up: Papal Encyclical

Mr. President, I am on the floor today for the 104th time--one of these days, I am going to get it right--to urge that we wake up to the dangers of climate change. The scientific community has been sounding the alarm for decades. Our most respected scientific institutions are virtually unanimous in their verdict: Carbon pollution from humans' burning of fossil fuels is warming our atmosphere and oceans, raising and acidifying our seas, loading the dice for more extreme weather, and disrupting t… Continue Reading


06.17.15

Time to Wake Up: There Will be no Avoiding Climate Change in the 2016 Election

Mr. President today is my 103rd time coming to the floor to ask my colleagues to wake up to the urgent problem of climate change. Pretty much everyone is telling us climate change is a problem. First of all, there are the scientists, virtually every major scientific society and agency. Then there are our military and national security leaders, leading American companies, doctors, and faith leaders who are all telling us this is a problem and asking us to wake up. The American people understand… Continue Reading

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