Whitehouse: ‘There Is Only One Leg On Which Climate Change Denial Stands: Money.’

Okay, it’s not the White House, but rather Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), the smart one, the one that doesn’t push climate silence.

Here’s an amazing Whitehouse speech from earlier this month, “Time to Wake Up: Magical Thinking on Climate Change“:

Here’s the powerful ending:

We need to face up to the fact that there is only one leg on which climate denial stands: money.  The polluters give and spend money to create false doubt.  The polluters give and spend money to buy political influence.  The polluters give and spend money to keep polluting.  That’s it.  That’s it.  Not truth, not science, not economics, not safety, not policy, and certainly not religion, nor morality.  Nothing supports climate denial.  Nothing except money.  But in Congress, in this temple, money rules; so here I stand, in one of the last places on Earth that is still a haven to climate denial.

In our arrogance, we here in Congress think that we can somehow ignore or trump Earth’s natural laws, laws of chemistry, laws of physics, laws of science, with our own political lawmaking, with our own political influence.  But we’re fools to think that.  The laws of chemistry and the laws of physics neither know, nor care, what we say or do here.  So we need to wake up.  We need to walk not in the counsel of the wicked, nor sit in the seat of scoffers, but with due humility awaken to our duty and get to work. Because here on Earth, God’s work must truly be our own.

Finally, here’s Chris Hayes’s take on the speech.

35 Responses to Whitehouse: ‘There Is Only One Leg On Which Climate Change Denial Stands: Money.’

  1. Camburn says:

    And the sensitivity to CO2, as current literature indicates, continues to be less than earlier projected.

  2. The only thing bad about this is the fact that coverage by Chris Hayes, or Rachel Maddow, or even the recent Eugene Robinson OpEd in WAPO turns this into “just another liberal power grab” for the ideological right wing… the type that follows Limbaugh. They don’t have to think about the facts, just know it must be all part of a plot since the “liberal media” mentioned the subject.

    Before these ideologues change, they will have to hear the objective truth of climate change from the likes of George Will, Charles Krauthammer, etc.

  3. Timothy Hughbanks says:


  4. John M says:

    Guess we can strike him off the short list of nominees for the Democratic Presidential Candidate in 2016

  5. Alexandre says:


  6. Superman1 says:

    The excess energy is going into heating the atmosphere, heating the deep ocean, endothermic processes like melting the Arctic cap and the ice sheets, etc.

  7. Superman1 says:

    It’s like a boxer who gives a few on the chin, then a few on the solar plexus, then a few on the ribs, to soften up the opponent before the final blow. That’s what Mother Nature is doing to the biosphere in diversifying the energy distribution.

  8. Mike Roddy says:

    I agree, Wes, but were Krauthammer or Will to tell the truth, he would lose his Opinion column contracts. They are trapped, too, and is why it’s an inner problem.

    There are times in countries’ histories when people sacrifice their lives for the greater good. We are full of men who won’t even give up a few extra dollars, even if (as with Will and Krauthammer) they are already millionaires.

    As the song goes, “We are not men, we are Devo”. Devolved indeed.

  9. catman306 says:

    Put Whitehouse in the White House (or someone we can support.)

  10. Harry Middlemas says:

    Darn, and that is exactly where I was going to suggest he belongs. But you are probably right, anyone who speaks truth like that is over qualified for the Whitehouse.


  11. Merrelyn Emery says:

    All the great religions of the world plus psychiatrists, social scientists etc all preach the benefits of humility and a sense of belonging because once feelings of superiority take hold, a person is set on a path of increasing maladaption. That’s why children must be allowed to make small mistakes and learn to cope with failure. In this case, the learning will be too late and the failure will be catastrophic, ME

  12. Paul Klinkman says:

    He’s way popular. Best guess, they’ll want to stick Whitehouse in the Vice Presidential slot because he attracts lots of votes, but they’ll have a centrist such as Hillary for Prez because she attracts lots of nonrenewable fuel company money to the campaign. Hillary is 98% likely to complete her term of office. Exception: they tried to bury Teddy Roosevelt in the Vice Presidential seat and it backfired when President McKinley got shot.

  13. rollin says:

    One of the scariest scenes I have ever seen in a movie and one of the truest occurs near the end of “Tall Tale”. The head hired thug stands in a railroad tunnel about to collapse, with dust falling all around him, and tells the young farmer boy that it doesn’t matter if he is killed. They will never stop coming. There will always be more like him as long as there is a profit to be made.

    Appropriately, the temporary solution to hold back “progress” was magical in nature.

  14. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    I think that Will and Krauthammer are Rightwing True Believers. If they grew a conscience and saw that real wickedness of denialism, and the whole Rightwing project, they would be dispensed with, no doubt. But, honestly, can you recall any Rightwing MSM propaganda die-hard ever repenting?

  15. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    That’s not quite correct, I would say. The humane currents in religions are like that, but many religions these days are dominated by fundamentalists, who, being Rightists, are the exact opposite type. Arrogant, chauvinistic, belligerent, supremacist, violent and xenophobic, this type is well represented in Islam, Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, and even, as we see from Myanmar, Buddhism. I even neglected Shinto, where the signs from Japan are lamentable. And God save us from intolerant, bellicose, ‘atheists’. I prefer a gentle agnostic, like Bertrand Russell or Harold Steptoe, every time.

  16. Superman1 says:

    Will the day ever come when a politician will stand up, look his constituents squarely in the eye, and tell them they need to tighten their fossil fuel belts to the last notch, and then beyond, if we are to avoid climate catastrophe? Berating other politicians sounds good and feels good, and makes points with the Amen Corner here, but does essentially nothing to solve the real problem.

  17. catman306 says:

    The last time I voted for someone like that was for Jimmy Carter in 1980. That was a big defeat for love of the natural world versus love of money.

  18. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Quite right Mulga, there are myriad fundamentalist or extremist offspring from all the major religions today plus a few new ones in similar vein. Our very sick cultures have provided a breeding ground for hatred. However, we know the conditions for the growth of healthy people and may produce them again in the future, ME

  19. Superman1 says:

    “all preach the benefits of humility”. You and Mulga would do well to heed their advice!

  20. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    We live in hope.

  21. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Beyond parody. And to think that I had begun to miss you, and dread the thought that you had bitten the kryptonite ‘black pill’.

  22. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    ‘Profit’ for the Rightwinger is all about insatiability. There is never ‘enough’, and they always want ‘more’. The pathopsychology is brutally simple. If you are hollow, inside, where others possess a soul, with no love for anything, not even yourself, the pathological over-compensation is to pile up loot in order to convince yourself of your merit, or even your very existence. Moreover, this type is often ridden with the dread of death, so possessions become a bulwark between oneself and that ultimate dispossession. And the dead souls fear and hate others, and, as all ‘wealth’ is misappropriated, stolen or pillaged from others and from the natural world (another enemy in its indifference)its acquisition by one form of larceny or another, is immensely satisfying. ‘It is not enough to succeed-others must fail’-so that I might feel superior.

  23. Superman1 says:

    Keep the old song in mind: You don’t tug on Superman’s cape…And you don’t mess around with Jim!

  24. Syd Bridges says:

    At last, a politician speaking the truth. We cannot remake Nature’s laws to suit ourselves. This is the truth that dare not speak its name, enunciated by a Senator. Congratulations, Senator Whitehouse!

  25. Merrelyn Emery says:

    I am hoping that our Aboriginees will be among the survivors. They have not forgotten The Laws, ME

  26. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Gees Louise! I wished him an eternal and enjoyable break from his onerous duties, ME

  27. Solar Jim says:

    Thank you senator.

  28. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Yes. I’ll go bush and see if they’ll take me, when the Collapse arrives. The cities will soon turn into charnel-houses.

  29. Beth says:

    Joe, just a quick thank you for leading me to the amazing “Time to Wake Up” speeches by the amazing Senator Whitehouse.

    Here’s a speech which has me hoping that, since “money rules,” the corporations “in our corner” stick by and support Senator Whitehouse as he continues his fight to convince Congress to act to slow climate change.

  30. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    He’s not what Nietzsche had in mind.

  31. Desertphile says:

    There are several reasons why denialists reject the massive, convincing, conclusive evidence that human-caused climate change has happened ans is happening—- not just one. Greed is the single greatest reason, but there are at least four more. “Free Market Fundamentalism” is one; conspiracy mongering is another; fear is yet another; hatred and envy of intelligent, educated “elites” is yet another. See the book “Engaging with Climate Change: Psychoanalytic and Interdisciplinary Perspectives” for the subject.

  32. I cannot even believe that the leadership of this country are quoting scripture as a means of discussing a scientific issue and rational decision making about how to fix the mess we are making?

    What in the name of God is going on? This is supposed to be leadership, not theology!

  33. fireofenergy says:

    I have said that too… The laws of physics will not magically change for us. Even though it must take a doubling of CO2 in order to raise temps just about 1 decgree C, the unkowns really lie in all the different feedbacks (such as methane release and negative albedo causing further heating, spiraling out of control, etc).

    What’s really weird is that the laws of physics ‘might’ actually ‘know’ what we’re doing…

  34. fireofenergy says:

    Imagine that, an arrogant non-denier!

  35. fireofenergy says:

    EDIT: (Superb animated explanation of the ‘observer’ effect)!