Speeches

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


06.10.15

Sen. Whitehouse Discusses the Consequences of Climate Change at the NECPUC Symposium

Good morning. Thank you, Meg Curran and Rachel Aslin Goldwasser, NECPUC Executive Director for inviting me today. To our New England neighbors, welcome to beautiful Rhode Island. There's a popular expression in Washington these days-maybe you've heard it on the news: "I'm not a scientist." For some reason, I hear that all the time. It's "Climate Change is a Hoax 2.0" from politicians trying to weasel around the carbon pollution problem. Imagine if we answered other policy questions that w… Continue Reading


06.10.15

Time to Wake Up: The American Opportunity Carbon Fee Act of 2015

Mr. President, I rise this evening to introduce, along with my lead cosponsor, Senator Schatz of Hawaii, the American Opportunity Carbon Fee Act of 2015. We announced this legislation this afternoon at an event hosted by the American Enterprise Institute, and I want to thank the American Enterprise Institute for their hospitality. I think their interest in this idea clearly reflects the difference between core conservative economic principles and simply being pushed around by the hectoring of t… Continue Reading


06.10.15

Sen. Whitehouse Unveils Proposed Carbon Fee Bill at American Enterprise Institute

Thank you Arthur [Brooks] and thanks to the American Enterprise Institute for hosting this event. I am excited to introduce today the American Opportunity Carbon Fee Act of 2015, and I look forward to a productive discussion of its merits. Thanks also to Jerry Taylor and Benjamin Zycher for participating in the conversation that will follow my remarks and for offering your input on my bill. And thank you to Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii, my lead cosponsor of this bill, who will be here to sp… Continue Reading


06.02.15

Time to Wake Up: Conservative Support for Carbon Fee

Madam President, today I am here for the 101st time to urge this body to wake up to the threat of climate change. It is real, it is caused by carbon pollution, and it is dangerous. There is a legislative answer to this problem that my Republican colleagues should consider, and that is a carbon fee. The unpleasant fact here in Congress presently, anyway, is that Congress is ruled by the lobbyists and the political enforcers for the fossil fuel industry. But outside this Chamber, where the fossi… Continue Reading


05.18.15

Time to Wake Up: 100 Speeches, 100 Reasons to Act on Climate

Mr. President, April 18, 2012, was not the first time I spoke on the Senate floor on the dangers of carbon pollution, but it was the first in the weekly series that brings me here today with my increasingly dog-eared sign. Opponents of responsible climate action do best in the dark, so I knew if anything was going to change around here, we would need to shine some light on the facts, on the science, and on the sophisticated scheme of denial being conducted by the polluters. I decided to come t… Continue Reading


05.13.15

Time to Wake Up: A 21st Century Trade Deal Must Acknowledge the Reality of Climate Change

Mr. President, I am here today for the 99th time to remind us that we are sleepwalking our way to a climate catastrophe, and that it is time to wake up. NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the United States, recently announced an ominous milestone. This March, for the first time in human history, the monthly average of CO 2 in our atmosphere exceeded 400 parts per million. This chart shows the global concentration of carbon dioxide over the last few years as measured by… Continue Reading


05.06.15

Time to Wake Up: Climate Denial Recalls Tobacco Racketeering

Mr. President, I am here for the 98th time to urge this body to stop sleepwalking through history. Climate change is real, it is already harming the United States, and it is time for the Senate to wake up and address this threat. The science that links carbon pollution to global warming is nothing new. It dates back to President Lincoln. In the century and a half since, we have measured changes in the climate that scientists virtually unanimously say are caused by our burning of fossil fuels. A… Continue Reading


04.28.15

Time to Wake Up: Climate Change in the Arctic

Mr. President, the evidence of climate disruption caused by carbon pollution is clear and overwhelming. Yet the Senate is sleepwalking through this history. I am here today for the 97th time to say that we must wake up. Climate disruptions are felt in every corner of the globe, from the ocean floor to the reaches of the atmosphere and from pole to pole. Indeed, the United States is an Arctic Nation. We have been so since Secretary of State Seward negotiated the purchase of Alaska from Russia in… Continue Reading


04.21.15

Time to Wake Up: Scientific Freedom and Silence in the States

Mr. President, as Americans celebrate the 35th Earth Day this week, I rise for the 96th time--I seem to be coinciding with the Presiding Officer's schedule so he has been treated to his share of these speeches--to urge this body to wake up to the threat of climate change. It is real, not a hoax. It is caused by carbon pollution, and it is already making changes that we are already seeing in the world around us. We must cut our carbon pollution to prevent even bigger climate changes--changes in o… Continue Reading


04.14.15

Time to Wake Up: Don't Listen to McConnell on Climate Change

Mr. President, the distinguished majority leader, the senior Senator from Kentucky, is resolutely opposed to any serious conversation about climate change. Under his leadership, the Republican Party in the Senate has exactly zero legislation for addressing carbon pollution in any serious way. The majority leader has even written to Governors around the country urging defiance of the climate change regulations of the U.S. Government, namely, the Environmental Protection Agency's forthcoming clean… Continue Reading


03.25.15

Time to Wake Up: Oceans Warn, We Don't Listen

Mr. President, I have come to the floor today to urge this Chamber to wake up to the urgent threat of climate change. I have done this every week the Senate has been in session for nearly 3 years. Today is my 94th time. I have asked my colleagues to heed the warnings from our scientists, from our military and national security professionals, from many of our leading American corporations and executives, from their own home-State universities, and from so many of our faith leaders. Since it is … Continue Reading


03.18.15

Time to Wake Up: Corporate Climate Responsibility 2.0

Mr. President, to change the subject from sentencing reform to climate change, I come to the Floor today for - I guess, it's the 93rd consecutive week that the Senate has been in session, to urge that my colleagues to wake up to the urgent threat of what results from our levels of carbon pollution. It is an opportune time now to consider a step-up in American corporate responsibility on climate change-call it Corporate Climate Responsibility 2.0. Americans can celebrate and applaud the fact t… Continue Reading


03.12.15

Time to Wake Up: What Big Oil Companies Say Vs. What They Do

Thank you, Mr. President, there are a lot of people-scientists, doctors and health professionals, our military and security leaders, the insurance and reinsurance industry, most of our major utilities, even faith leaders-who agree that climate change is a serious problem and an important priority. In the private sector, many corporate leaders see climate change as both a moral challenge and a financial opportunity. Indeed, as I rise today now for the 92nd time to urge my colleagues in Congre… Continue Reading

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