Sheldon Whitehouse on climate denial in US Congress – full speech

US Senator takes issue with Congress sceptics who blocked a resolution acknowledging climate change

By Sheldon Whitehouse

First, let me say the very first paragraph of the resolution is this – whereas the 2014 National Climate Assessment stated the most recent decade was the nation’s warmest on record, US temperatures are expected to continue to rise.

There is some evidence that certain temperatures have been flat for a few years. Atmospheric temperatures, with that little rhetorical device omits to consider is two things.

One. 93% of the heat that comes onto the Earth from global warming goes into the oceans. Maybe 3-4% goes into the atmosphere.

That’s 93 to 3.

So if there’s any change in the ocean, which regulates the temperature of the Earth, then it’s going to have a pronounced effect on atmospheric temperatures. And the ocean continues to warm.

People will say no the earth stopped warming to 12-15 years. No. If you look at it the oceans are continuing to warm. There has been this step in atmospheric temp at a certain level.

The other thing that gets left out when our friends say that is that this isn’t the first step.

You look at the history of how this got to be the hottest decade on record, and over and over you can look at the graph and you see these steps.

To pretend that each step is the last one is completely against the science. So to say we have no warming is just not factual.

To say the government is colluding…that’s a fairly tough word to use.

Let me tell you some of the government agencies who areso called colluding together – who believe that climate change is real and that carbon pollution is causing it.

NASA: We trust them to send our astronauts to space, to deliver a rover the size of an SUV to Mars safely, and drive it around, sending data and pictures back from space.

You think these people know what they’re talking about?

We trust NOAA with weather predicting. And that’s what they tell us. Nobody’s saying thing they’re incompetent about weather predicting, and don’t listen when they warn you about storms.

But somehow when they’re talking about cc they are colluding.

How about the United States Navy? The Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet Admiral Locklear has said the number one threat we face in the Pacific comes from climate change.

Is he colluding when he says that? This is a career Navy man, who the people of America have trusted with the security of our Pacific theatre.

And it’s exactly consistent with what to Department of Defense Quadrennial review said last time – four years ago and most recently.

And if you want to ignore the federal government, if you live in word where you believe the federal government colludes with itself to make up things that aren’t true. Ok.

But look at the property casualty insurance and reinsurance industry.

They’re the people with the biggest bet on this. They have billions of dollars riding on getting this right.

And they say climate change is real, carbon pollution is causing it, we’ve got to do something about it.

So does the US Congress of Catholic Bishops, because they care about the affect this will have on people who have the least.

So does every major US scientific society. Every single one.

So you can take a poll or petition and say it has 30,000 names on it. I’m told the names on that petition are the Spice Girls.

Are people from MASH like Dr Frank Burns. It’s almost a comedic effort.

And when you say they are 9000 who have degrees. That’s what? 0.00003% of our population of 300m? Maybe I got a zero wrong there.

The idea you can’t find 9000 people who think the earth is flat is a bit of stretch.

The idea we should base policy on a petition that imaginary people are on…rather than on what NASA, NOAA, the US Navy and every single scientific society and the entire property casualty reinsurance insurance industry are telling us is just extraordinary.

And if you want to go to the private sector you have to look no further than Coke, Pepsi, Walmart, Mars. Go over to toe candy draw and you can get wonderful Mars products.

It’s a huge company – they’re going carbon neutral and they are desperately concerned about climate change.

Look at Nike. Google. Apple. American company after American company.

The only place other than the 9000 people who joined the Spice Girls and Major Frank Burns where denial is credible any longer is here in Congress, where the money from the fossil fuel industry still has such a pernicious effect.

But even among the Republicans – they are losing their young voters on this – people know better.

You poll republicans who are under the age of 35 and a majority of them will say that somebody who believed in climate denial is ignorant, out of touch, or crazy.

That’s what the young Republicans think.

So – time is on our side. The day will come when the United States Senate can face the fact that climate change is real.

This is a transcript of a speech made by US Senator Sheldon Whitehouse on July 29 2014. You can watch his address here.

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