Markey kicks off Senate climate speeches

Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) kicked off a series of speeches by Senate Democrats to urge actions to address climate change, applauding President Obama’s proposal last week to limit carbon emissions from power plants.

Democrats are framing the floor speeches as a follow-up to the “all-nighter” of floor speeches they staged in March.

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Since that time, news such as May’s national climate assessment from the White House and two reports from the United Nations have shown a new urgency for fighting climate change, Markey said.

“The good news is that the president last week promulgated new rules to control greenhouse gases coming out of power plants in the United States of America,” Markey said.

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a partnership among northeastern states, has shown that states can reduce carbon emissions in a way similar to what the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is seeking with last week’s proposal, he said.

“We know that a flexible system like this can and will work across America,” he said.

Markey also pushed for the United States to lead the world in cutting carbon emissions.

“It is absolutely necessary that the United States be a leader,” he said. “You cannot preach temperance from a barstool.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) followed Markey, calling arguments from Republicans in opposition to climate change action “the rejection of basic science.”

Democrats invited Republicans to debate climate change with them, but only Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) agreed to do so.