The speech, titled “Combating the Threat of Global Climate Change,” will address the undeniable evidence that the planet is warming and the serious implications that change will have on communities and businesses along the coastline. “Global warming is among the most significant challenges we face,” Whitehouse said. “Congress is finally taking action – but we need public support to act boldly. I hope this event will give Rhode Islanders an opportunity to speak out.”
Whitehouse, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) committee, has been active in efforts to address climate change during his first year in Congress. He traveled to Greenland with the committee last summer to see firsthand the effects of climate change on its massive ice cap, which holds about 10 percent of the world’s supply of fresh water. He has worked closely with Rhode Island’s environmental community to raise awareness of the potential impact of global warming on the Ocean State.
Whitehouse supported the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act of 2007, legislation passed by the EPW committee that will reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 65 percent by 2050. He fought successfully to make sure the committee’s bill included protections for coastal communities, wildlife, and land and marine ecosystems against the impact of global warming. Whitehouse is also a cosponsor of the Global Warming Pollution Reduction Act, which would cut global warming pollutants by 80 percent by 2050 – the toughest and most progressive proposal introduced in the Senate. In addition the senator has been a supporter of federal research funding in the areas of environment and climate change. Such research is currently underway at Brown.
The senator’s speech will serve as a kick-off for Brown University’s involvement in Focus the Nation, a multiday teach-in event aimed at engaging millions of students and citizens with decision-makers about solutions for global warming. Focus the Nation events will occur simultaneously around the country.
Brown is offering several panel discussions and a symposium on energy-related research and action as part of the teach-in. The panel discussion topics include corporate responsibility, religion, emerging economies and the media as they relate to climate change. A complete schedule of events is available online.
Whitehouse’s address and other Focus the Nation events are sponsored by the University’s Environmental Change Initiative and by the student organization EmPOWER. All events are free and open to the public.