'Prove Us Wrong or Stand Down': Kerry's Hourlong Floor Speech on Climate Change

Step aside, Moammar Gadhafi’s 100-minute UN General Assembly speech or Hugo Chavez’s 8-hour TV addresses: Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) had 8,037 words to share with his colleagues on climate change today.


In what was touted as a “major floor speech” on the eve of the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, Kerry urged Congress to fight the “insidious conspiracy of silence on climate change — a silence that empowers misinformation and mythology to grow where science and truth should prevail.”

“Thomas Paine actually described today’s situation very well,” Kerry said. “As America fought for its independence, he said: ‘It is an affront to treat falsehood with complaisance.’ Yet when it comes to the challenge of climate change, the falsehood of today’s naysayers is only matched by the complacency of our political system.”

Saying that the danger posed by global warming “could not be more real,” the senator charged that in the U.S. “a calculated campaign of disinformation has steadily beaten back the consensus momentum for action on climate change and replaced it with timidity by proponents in the face of millions of dollars of phony, contrived ‘talking points,’ illogical and wholly unscientific propositions and a general scorn for the truth wrapped in false threats about job loss and taxes.”


“Climate change is one of two or three of the most serious threats our country now faces, if not the most serious, and the silence that has enveloped a once robust debate is staggering for its irresponsibility,” Kerry said.

“All you need to do is look out your window. …For the first time in memory, the Augusta National azaleas bloomed and wilted before the first golfers teed off at this year’s Masters.”

“Frankly, those who look for any excuse to continue challenging the science have a fundamental responsibility that they have never fulfilled: Prove us wrong or stand down,” Kerry added. “…And by the way—good luck in the effort!”

Here is the nearly 55-minute video:



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