There was a beacon in the smog surrounding the U.S. Capitol building this week.
While the House and Senate pushed for arctic drilling, attempted to revive the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, and tried to delay rules on mercury emissions standards — all while failing to extend a key tax credit for wind — four climate hawk Senators attempted to put these actions into a powerful climate context.
Standing on the Senate floor for an hour on Wednesday, Senators Bernie Sanders (D-VT), Al Franken (D-MN), Tom Udall (D-NM) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) delivered a wide-ranging colloquy calling on the President and Congress to address the “enormous crisis” of global warming.
Here’s a great clip featuring Senators Sanders, Franken and Whitehouse:
Senator Whitehouse has delivered three great speeches on the Senate floor about global warming since October. During his last delivery in December, he was joined by Senator Franken. This time around, they brought in two more climate hawks, Senators Udall and Sanders.
Here’s a piece of the Senator Sanders’ speech:
According to virtually the entire scientific community in the United States of America and around the world, according to virtually every agency of the United States government, global warming is real and it is significantly caused by human activity. And people are mistaken if they believe that the impact of global warming will just be in decades to come. We are seeing very negative impacts today, and what the scientific community tells us, if we do not begin to reverse greenhouse gas emissions, those problems in America and around the world will only get worse.
Now, if there is a silver lining in all of that is that, Mr. President, right now, we know how to cut greenhouse gas emissions. We know how to move to energy efficiency, mass transportation, automobiles. We get 50, 60, 100 miles per gallon. We know how to weatherize our homes so that we can cut significantly the use of fuel. And what we also know is that in the middle of this recession, if we move in that direction, energy efficiency and sustainable energy, we can create over a period of years millions of good-paying jobs.
So let me conclude by saying this. We now have the opportunity to be in a win-win-win situation. We can save consumers money. We can significantly reduce greenhouse gases and protect our planet, and we can create substantial numbers of jobs that we desperately need in the midst of this terrible recession.
When is Obama going to talk like this?