On Monday night, March 10, the recently formed Senate Climate Action Task Force put on its first event, an all-night talkathon to “wake up Congress” to the need to address the severe impacts of climate change. During the night, 31 Senators (28 Democrats, 2 Independents and 1 Republican) spoke for more than 14 hours, discussing science, policy, impacts and solutions to climate change. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), a moderate Republican, labeled the talkathon a “partisan exercise,” and lamented that she had been unable to participate – this was a missed opportunity. While this event was a start, meaningful conversations on climate policy won’t happen until we can somehow make the debate more relevant to a wider portion of the political spectrum.

The event was not a filibuster, since it pertained to no specific legislation. The Senators involved are drumming up support for future bills, as well as drawing the media and the public’s attention to the issue of climate change. Last year, Sunday political talk shows spent a mere 27 minutes discussing climate change.

Table Hbr 25 Nike Men's Red Shirt T University Obsidian Several members of EESI staff were in the Capitol observing the floor action from the Senate Gallery. We particularly enjoyed Senator Ed Markey’s (D-MA) comparison of climate change to steroid use in baseball. Comparing graphs of home run averages to average global temperature, he said there is an “obvious correlation” between temperature increases and humans “injecting pollutants” into the atmosphere. Senator Barbara Boxer made a forceful and passionate argument that we should not delegate the world’s climate leadership to China.

Full list of participating Senators:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI), Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI), Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE), Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA), Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT), Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM), Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), Sen. Angus King (I-ME), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Sen. Patty Murphy (D-WA), Sen. Charles Shumer (D-NY), and Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), the only Republican who participated.

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