Time to Wake Up

U.S. Senator Whitehouse and Senators from the Senate Climate Action Task Force gather on Capitol Hill in Washington

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse is shown here having fun with some of his colleagues prior to launching what we used to call a teach-in.  They spent 15 hours last night into this morning highlighting the manifest dangers of climate change.  Whitehouse has been a vocal leader on the issue, delivering a series of floor speeches as part of his “Time to Wake Up” campaign.  He is part of a wholly reinvigorated effort in the US Senate to move the climate agenda.  Climate Progress has essential messages from most of the more than 30 Senators who took part.  One new Senator, Ed Markey, is well known for coauthoring the Waxman-Markey bill which passed the House in 2009, but died in the SenateReuters quotes Markey last night:  “We hope that by staying up all night … we will signal a new dawn of climate change action in Congress.”

Last night’s wake-up call further indicates how Democratic members of Congress (plus Angus King and Bernie Sanders, both Independents) are on the move to substantially advance the cause of addressing climate change – before it’s too late.  The Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, has been in the vanguard, creating time each week in his caucus meetings for climate change.  Reid has also supported the creation of the new Climate Action Task Force.  Meanwhile, over in the House, Henry Waxman and others have created the Safe Climate Caucus.

Furthermore, Harry Reid, an old amateur boxer, last week went after the Koch Brothers.  As you know, Charles and David Koch have been a powerful force pushing to neuter environmental protection and, for all intents and purposes, to substantially undermine democracy.  Reid was not pulling his punches on how the Kochs operate.  “I believe in an America where economic opportunity is open to all. But based on their actions and the policies they promote, the Koch brothers seem to believe in an America where the system is rigged to benefit the very wealthy.”  Here is Reid’s fact sheet on the Kochs and a video of his speech, “Why the Kochs are dangerous for America.”  The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee followed up with a new website as part of their message that the “GOP is Addicted To Koch.”

To see more about last night’s climate teach-in, go to the Twitter site, #Up4Climate.

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