Pelosi Remarks at Wake Up Congress for Climate Action Rally


Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi joined Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Democratic leaders in the House and Senate for a “Wake Up Congress for Climate Action” Rally.  In her remarks, Leader Pelosi called on Congress to take immediate action to address the crisis of climate change.  Below are the Leader’s remarks:

We’ve got to keep in mind all of these great leaders.  Thank you, Senator – Chairwoman – Barbara Boxer, Chairman Whitehouse, for your great leadership to bring us together today.  Time to wake up, Congress.

“I’m going to focus on the word ‘time.’  First, let me say: I’m so honored to be here with all of you, to see your enthusiasm, to catch your spark, to renew our energy on this subject, to be here with these great leaders in the House and in the Senate who have made saving our planet a priority.

“To Senator Boxer, who has been working on this issue for decades – really a visionary, long ago viewing this as a challenge to our generation.  Senator Whitehouse: thank you so much for having – I know he’s got many more plans for all of us – but thank you for what you are doing to bring us together today.

“Time: it’s about time.  It’s about time for us to wake up, Congress.  It’s about the time that we have lost because of the opportunities that have been missed in the past several years – because there have been those in the Congress of the United States who did not respect science.  What we’re talking about here is evidence-based.  They reject the science.  They say: ‘You have to have faith or you have science.  You have to take your choice.  You can’t have both.’  We say: ‘science is an answer to our prayers.’

“It’s the time, when the head of the United Nations came to my office and he said – and this was in ’09, and Ed Markey can attest to this because he was in the room – he said: ‘You must pass the Waxman-Markey bill now.  Because if we do not act immediately, by 2012 it will be too late.’  Let’s hope it isn’t too late, because hopefully the technology has picked up a faster pace.  But again, all about time.

“So I thank all of you, because this is – you hear people say this about subjects – this is a challenge to our generation.  Now, I see several generations in the room – for all of the time that we share together on this planet.  And this is something that brings people together who respect evidence, who respect science, who respect the facts.

“When we were putting together Waxman-Markey, we had at the same table concerned scientists and evangelicals – the scientists for obvious reasons; the evangelicals because they believe, as I do, that this is God’s creation, and we have a moral responsibility to preserve it.  And even if you don’t share that faithful view, we all know that we have a responsibility to future generations to preserve the planet.

“Scientists, evangelicals, people of faith, people of science, labor, environmentalists, the business community, working people, everybody coming together to understand – military leaders – that this is about the safety of our country.  It’s a national security issue; it’s a health issue in terms of the air our children breathe and the water they drink; it’s an economic issue for us to be number one in innovation in terms of the green technology; and again, it’s a moral issue.

“So thank you.  And I know we’re going to have alarms going off at five o’clock, and if they keep on ringing until it drills down into people’s minds that we have this moment – we have a decision to make.  The evidence is clear.  The recent report that came forth from in our own country, not an international study that some might ‘pooh pooh’ because it’s international – you know how it is around here…

[Laughter]

“…our own study, and we in that Committee, we went underneath, under in Greenland – we saw the melting of the glaciers in Alaska.  What more do they need to see?  What more do they need to know?  We’re not even asking to be visionaries, to see into the future.  We want to let them know what is self-evident.

“So now it is my great pleasure, and I’m so happy to do this, because he’s such a champion on this issue – but let me thank all of you.  Let me make a commitment to you that we’re not going to waste one second, that we’re going to use every moment to present the science, to show the enthusiasm, not to take ‘no’ for an answer.  Are you all ready for that?

[Applause]

“…I’m taking orders from Barbara Boxer – you understand that, don’t you, gentlemen?

[Laughter]

“It’s now my privilege to present the great champion for the environment, the leader for many of the causes that we care about – and by the way, they’re all connected.  He represents the great state of Oregon in the United States Senate: Senator Jeff Merkley.”

[Applause]

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