Elected Leaders Need to Work Together

The following is text of an email sent by Senator Whitehouse, with minor edits:

Today marked the 200th time I’ve stepped onto the Senate floor to urge Congress to take bipartisan action on climate change – and protect our atmosphere and oceans. 2017 was the warmest year ever for our oceans, with sea levels rising at their fastest rates in millennia. Leading scientists and our own national security community agree: Burning fossil fuels as we do now is creating hazards ahead. We need to get serious about climate change.

Every time I speak to the Senate, I’m hoping this will be the speech that breaks through. Even though my “Time to Wake Up” sign is dinged up, I’m still here fighting, and I’ll keep fighting – even if it takes another 200 speeches to get a bill that can solve this problem.

Trump and the GOP can’t silence me while I demand action on climate change.

Our planet’s future should be something we all agree on. Our environment doesn’t play politics, and we all want a healthy planet for our kids and grandkids. There was a time when Republicans joined Democrats in supporting climate action – the Clean Air Act passed the Senate without a single nay vote, and Mitch McConnell voted to expand that act, saying, “I had to choose between cleaner air and the status quo. I chose cleaner air.”

So why, as we grow closer to crossing a point beyond which the damage could be irreversible, is it nearly impossible to fight carbon pollution?

The answer lies in the Supreme Court’s shameful 2010 Citizens United verdict, which gave Big Oil limitless influence on politics – flooding elections with dirty money, lashing out at anyone who doesn’t fall in line, and quashing any productive bipartisan progress. Big Oil has cast a dark shadow over Congress, and with Donald Trump’s swamp oozing with special-interest sludge, we’re in the fight of our lives – and for those of future generations.

We need to commit to treating climate change like the crisis it is. Dark money makes the fossil fuel industry feel invincible, but I’m fighting back against its influence – and I need you by my side.

Since Trump and his cronies took power last year, they’ve done everything wrong for our planet: pulling out of the Paris climate agreement, approving the Keystone XL and the Dakota Access pipelines, killing the Clean Power Plan, proposing offshore drilling nearly everywhere in the U.S. – just to scratch the surface of this administration’s catastrophic climate policy.

Our oceans absorb most of the excess heat trapped in the atmosphere by greenhouse gas emissions – and over the last 20 years, that’s the energy equivalent of several atomic bombs exploding in the ocean every second. We have to act now.

This isn’t about disagreeing on partisan policy. It’s a clash between the power of the fossil fuel industry and science-based reality. With Big Oil undermining peer-reviewed science at every step, standing up for truth is more important than ever. And the truth is pressing: We have a narrow window to save our climate – and I’m not going to let the fossil fuel special interests bully us into silence.

Now is our chance to send a message to Trump and Big Oil’s bullies: We won’t let them ignore climate change any longer.

Without a doubt, we are fighting for our children’s world. The question is whether we can take action in time. Thanks for leaning in with me.