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Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) joined Senators from the Senate Climate Action Task Force on the Senate floor to urge action on climate change.  Senator Murray talked about impacts in Washington state and the efforts the state has made in addressing climate change.

“Climate change is no less a challenge than any of the other issues we face, and we have a moral obligation to address it,” Senator Murray said.  “Addressing this challenge will create good paying jobs here at home in fields like pollution management, energy efficiency, and renewable energy goods, and best of all, we can pass a healthier planet on to our children. I’m hopeful that Republicans and Democrats can find common ground and come together to move us forward.”

Full text of Senator Murray’s speech, as prepared:

“Mr. President, as a member of the Senate Climate Action Task Force, I am so proud to join with my many colleagues this evening to discuss an urgent concern that the Senate has been unable to act on for far too long.

“Climate change is real.

“We have all seen the overwhelming scientific evidence that it is occurring, and that it is caused by human activity.

“But it’s not just science – we see the impacts all around us.

“We see a rise in asthma attacks among children as warmer temperatures increase the pollution that triggers such attacks.

“I see the impacts in my home state of Washington and I hear the concerns of my constituents from Sequim to Spokane to Walla Walla.

“We know that rising sea levels threaten Seattle and ports throughout my state critical to our economy.

“We see them in our rural communities facing longer-lasting and more severe droughts that wither crops and turn our forests into kindling for wildfires.

“And we see it in our local fishing communities, where ocean acidification hinders shellfish development and threatens an industry that contributes millions per year to Washington’s economy.

“These impacts have enormous costs.

“They are devastating to the families and communities that suffer from drought, superstorm, or  wildfire.

“But Mr. President, this isn’t just an environmental issue, it’s also a budget issue.

“It’s not just about rising temperatures, it’s about rising costs.

“As chair of the Budget Committee, I can tell you that this issue is a burden to American taxpayers.

“Federal disaster recovery spending alone has increased year after year, as the number and size of weather-related disasters rises.

“And these costs will likely continue to rise if we do not act.

“And unfortunately Mr. President, while so many of my colleagues across the aisle talk about the need to address our debt to avoid burdening future generations, too many of these same senators refuse to take action to address the climate debt we are passing on.

“And most frustrating of all is that we know what can be done to fix this problem.

“We know the solutions to reduce pollution and emissions that cause climate change create good-paying jobs.

“Jobs that put money back in families’ pockets through low-cost energy sources and increased efficiencies in homes.

“These solutions make our nation more energy independent, and our businesses more globally competitive.

“And they give us cleaner air and water, and protect the health of our children and grandchildren.

“I know that we can take these steps because I’ve seen it in my home state of Washington.

“In Washington, our biodiesel producers are replacing imported oil with clean, renewable, home-grown fuels.

“Companies like McKinstry, who have made a home in the Northwest, are leaders in helping cities, hospitals, and others create energy efficient, sustainable buildings.

“In the past, the United States has led the world in innovative ways to create energy, but recently we have ceded our clean energy leadership to countries like China and Germany because too many have stood in the way of making necessary investments. 

“When we passed the Bipartisan Budget Act this past December, we proved that Democrats and Republicans can put ideology aside and work together to make progress on our nation’s challenges.

“Climate change is no less a challenge than any of the other issues we face, and we have a moral obligation to address it.

“And as I have said, addressing this challenge will create good paying jobs here at home in fields like pollution management, energy efficiency, and renewable energy goods.

“And best of all, Mr. President, we can pass a healthier planet on to our children.

“I’m hopeful that Republicans and Democrats can find common ground and come together to move us forward.

“I commend each and every one of my colleagues for being here tonight to call attention to this pressing issue.”