Speeches

02.03.16

Time to Wake Up: Energy Bill, Take Two

Mr. President, the Senate is still at work crafting a package of energy legislation that can earn the support of a broad majority and potentially become this body's first comprehensive energy efficiency legislation since 2007. This is my 126th weekly call to arms to wake us up to the duty we owe our constituents and future generations of Americans, not only to unleash the clean energy solutions that will propel our economy forward but also to stave off the devastating effects of carbon pollutio… Continue Reading


01.27.16

Time to Wake Up: Moving Toward a Clean-Energy Economy

Mr. President, today marks the 125th time I have come to the Senate floor to ask this body to wake up to the threats of climate change. This week is a little different because we are currently debating the bipartisan Energy Policy Modernization Act. The bill was crafted by my colleagues, Senators Murkowski and Cantwell, and it may become our first comprehensive energy efficiency legislation since 2007. While the base bill is a good start, we have much work to do before we come anywhere near mee… Continue Reading


01.20.16

Time to Wake Up: Climate Change in Texas

Mr. President, I rise for "Time to Wake Up" speech number 124. Today, let's talk Texas. Polling from the University of Texas at Austin shows that more than three out of four Americans--or 76 percent--now believe that climate change is occurring. Fifty-nine percent of Republicans say it is happening. While most poll respondents say they would support a Presidential candidate who supports reducing coal as an energy source, the number goes up to 65 percent for voters under the age of 35. So, we m… Continue Reading


01.13.16

Time to Wake Up: 2015 Climate Action

Happy New Year. Nothing says "Happy New Year" like the "Time to Wake Up" speech, so I will kick off 2016 with my year-opener "Time to Wake Up" speech recapping some of last year's climate change milestones. They say you only get one chance to make a first impression, and the first impression Senate Republicans chose to make in 2015 was to use their first 3 weeks of floor time--3 full weeks of precious floor time--to help a foreign oil company's tar sands pipeline. Even though it meant the gover… Continue Reading


12.15.15

Time to Wake Up: Corporate America's Call for Climate Action

Mr. President, one of the brightest bright spots at the Paris climate talks last week was the robust corporate presence. Leading businesses and executives from around the world were there in Paris to voice their support for a strong international climate agreement. That brings me here today for the now 122nd time to say that it is time for America's leading corporations and their lobbyists to bring that same message here to Washington to help Congress wake up. Let me use an example of two of t… Continue Reading


12.08.15

Time to Wake Up: Paris Climate Talks

Mr. President, the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Ben Cardin, led a delegation of 10 Senators to Paris this past weekend. We went to support the "high-ambition coalition" on the international climate agreement. It was truly impressive to see so many nations represented at the meeting, active and trying to help. All of us in the CODEL came away from Paris with a good feeling about the prospects for a strong climate agreement. I had the chance to speak at Oceans… Continue Reading


12.01.15

Time to Wake Up: Corporations Funding Phony Climate Denial

Madam President, as the Presiding Officer knows well, every week that I am here and the Senate is in session, I come to the floor to remind us of the damage carbon pollution continues to do to our atmosphere and oceans. Today I rise for the 120th time to urge my colleagues to wake up to the threat of climate change. I am not alone, although it sometimes seems a bit lonely here. We have an advertisement today in the Wall Street Journal--we will find it here in 1 second; well, I seem to have misl… Continue Reading


11.18.15

Time to Wake Up: The Climate Denier Castle

Mr. President, I am here to speak in what is probably my 119th "Time to Wake Up" speech related to climate change. I would like to take this occasion to express my appreciation to a person whom the TV cameras can probably see behind me sitting on the staff bench, Joseph Majkut, who has been a fellow on my staff for over a year now. He has been very instrumental in helping me prepare these speeches. I am grateful to him. Today, I ask that we imagine a dark castle with looming ramparts and tall … Continue Reading


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

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