A Brave Speech

By Daniel de la Calle


I thought this video of Senator Sheldon Whitehouse’s speech at the US Senate deserved to be posted on its own.  Everyone of these 23 minutes is worth listening to.  Below you will find a transcript of the part where he talks about Ocean Acidification and HERE the whole text.

“In April of this year, a group of scientific experts came together at the University of Oxford to discuss the current state of our oceans. The workshop report stated:
Human actions have resulted in warming and acidification of the oceans and are now causing increasing hypoxia.
Acidification is obvious — the ocean is becoming more acid; hypoxia means low oxygen levels.
Studies of the Earth’s past indicate that these are the three symptoms . . . associated with each of the previous five mass extinctions on Earth.
We experienced two mass ocean extinctions 55 and 251 million years ago. The rates of carbon entering the atmosphere in the lead-up to these extinctions are estimated to have been 2.2 and 1 to 2 gigatons of carbon per year respectively, over several thousand years. As the group of Oxford scientists noted:
Both these estimates are dwarfed in comparison to today’s emissions.
As I said earlier, those are 7 to 8 gigatons per year. The workshop participants concluded with this quote:
Unless action is taken now, the consequences of our activities are at a high risk of causing, through the combined effects of climate change, overexploitation, pollution and habitat loss, the next globally significant extinction event in the ocean.
The laws of physics and the laws of chemistry and the laws of science, these are laws of nature. These are laws of God’s Earth. We can repeal some laws around here but we can’t repeal those. Senators are used to our opinions mattering a lot around here, but these laws are not affected by our opinions. These laws do not care who peddles influence, how many lobbyists you have or how big your corporate bankroll is. Those considerations, so important in this town, do not matter at all to the laws of nature.” 

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