A Quarter of the Senate Will Stand Up for Climate Action All Night Long

It’s time for Congress to wake up to the threat of climate change, and tonight it will hear a powerful alarm bell. At least 25 Senators will hold the Senate floor through the night and call for national climate action.

A full quarter of the Senate will add their voices to the millions of Americans demanding clean energy and low-carbon solutions.

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse has been leading the charge. He is a passionate advocate for climate action and has delivered more than 55 speeches from the Senator floor urging Congress to tackle this crisis.  Recently he joined forces with Senator Barbara Boxer and launched the Climate Action Task Force to shine a spotlight on the issue.

Together they are galvanizing other Senate champions, including Majority Leader Harry Reid, who recently said, “Climate change is the worst problem facing the world today. We have no more important issue in the world than this issue, period.”

We can tackle this daunting challenge if we move farther down the clean energy pathway. The Senators holding the floor tonight want to accelerate that process, and they deserve our support. Follow their progress on Twitter at #up4climate and click here to urge Congress to wake up to climate change.

Fossil fuel companies would have us believe climate solutions are out of reach. The truth is they are already in front of us—bringing jobs, clean air, and economic activity to communities across the country right now.

I just returned from California, a state that’s had enormous success with low-carbon energy.  The legislature passed a law to curb carbon pollution eight years ago, and the state is on track to generate 33 percent of its electricity from renewable resources like wind and solar. These measures have helped attract billions of dollars in venture capital and put 360,000 Californians to work in the clean economy.

Meanwhile nine Northeastern states have been so effective at reducing carbon pollution from power plants that they agreed to raise the bar and reduce emissions by 50 percent (relative to 2005) by 2020. The first three years of the regional initiative alone generated $1.6 billion in economic benefits and saved consumers more than $1.3 billion in energy costs.

Climate action is working for Americans, and now Congress should bring these benefits to the whole nation. They can begin by supporting the Environmental Protection Agency’s forthcoming limits on carbon pollution from power plants—the largest source of climate change pollution in the United States.

Yet some Members of Congress are still trying to stand in the way of progress. Last week Republicans in the House passed a bill design to block the EPA’s ability to limit carbon pollution from power plants. Interestingly, this effort to undermine carbon limits garnered fewer votes than recent attempts.

The drive to ignore science and prop up dirty fossil fuels seems to be losing steam, and the push toward climate action is moving forward. You can add to the momentum by calling on Congress to wake up to climate change. And we can all thank these Senate champions for sounding the alarm.

About the Authors

Frances Beinecke

Former President

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