Last week we thanked the 398 students and other young people who were arrested to protest the Keystone XL pipeline and the climate injustice being handed down to our generation. Today we are thanking the more than 30 Senators that underscored the urgency of the climate fight by staying up all night to talk about climate.
Up4Climate mattered because these Senators just demonstrated that the momentum on climate change is growing. Climate change was once a taboo political topic for Senators; now they are openly demanding action on it.
These Senators spoke about climate change in the overarching and interconnected context that it should be viewed: as a crisis that impacts almost every aspect of our lives. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) spoke to this by talking about how climate change is not just an environmental issue, but a budgetary issue, and one that we literally cannot afford to be wrong on. Going in to detail of the ever rising costs of inaction and the almost immeasurable future costs that my generation will bear if we do not take significant action.
Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) addressed this by telling an eloquent story that would have been good enough to have been on this week’s series premiere of ‘Cosmos’. He talked about his time in orbit as an astronaut for NASA and seeing from space the impacts we have on our planet; being able to observe the thin wisps of gas that make up our atmosphere and make all life on Earth possible; and how this led him to understand just how fragile our planet is.
Last night we saw Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) willing to stand up against an “all of the above” energy plan. He described this policy in a way I am sure all of us have used when being asked a question by our parents at one time or another: “When I hear somebody say 'all of the above,' it's like when I ask one of my teenagers something and he says 'Whatever.'” Sen. Kaine used this analogy to describe ‘all of the above’ energy policy as indifferent, because it is indifferent to the action needed to protect our planet. That we need an energy plan that cuts carbon emissions and deals with worker transition. Business as usual will not cut it, and it is great that Sen. Kaine is helping make that clear.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) took the floor to rail against the billions of subsidies fossil fuel companies get every year to pollute our atmosphere, and the need to rein in those pollution giveaways. He went further and emphasized the need for this Congress to re-authorize clean energy tax extenders for home, business property owners and manufacturers and encourages energy efficiency; the cleanest, cheapest resource we have to cut our nation’s energy bills, and reduce emissions for years to come.
These were just some of the powerful and inspiring testimonies from the Senators last night. And they helped show that Washington’s leaders get it. By speaking out last night, these Senators displayed a concrete manifestation of support for climate action. Even though there is no likely major climate legislation this year, it shouldn’t be lost on anyone that these Senators are supporting the most immediate step we can take as a nation to cut dangerous carbon pollution right now, the President’s Climate Action Plan. The support of these Senators will help ensure that this critical step forward will succeed. For taking this action we should thank these Senators and continue to encourage them to further speak out, advance the President’s Climate Action Plan, and find new ways to act on climate. Click any of the links below to thank them directly for staying #Up4Climate!