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Up All Night: US Senate To Address Climate Change Options

More than two dozen legislators are pulling an all-nighter tonight (Monday March 10) on the Senate floor to talk about climate change and what actions must be taken.

The Senate Climate Action Task Force was formed in January, as a "wake-up call" by Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) to seek action inside & outside Congress, and "change the minds around here" to "the catastrophe that's unfolding before our eyes," Boxer said then. "Our goal is to wake up Congress."

Now they're getting together for what's being dubbed a "talkathon" about climate change, starting Monday evening after the final votes of the day until Tuesday morning at 9:00 am EST. (Technically this isn't a filibuster because there's no legislation being debated, so hopefully some shenanigans can be avoided.) Precisely what's on their agenda isn't clear; the goal appears to be simply putting the conversation in the spotlight, without advancing any specific legislation -- or at least break some legislators' pattern of ignoring climate change. Nevertheless, renewable energy is likely to be a big talking point, especially if conversations move into tax reforms, energy efficiency, strengthening state renewable portfolio standards (or even forging a national RPS), ways to incentivize renewables even more, or even some version of a carbon tax.

"We're going to show the growing number of Senators who are committed to working together to confront climate change," pledged Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii). Offered Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.): "All you have to do is look at China to see what happens to your country when you throw the environment under the bus."

For everyone at home who also wants to stay up all night to talk climate, there's a Twitter hashtag (#Up4Climate) to follow all the activity. There's also a petition you can sign to help raise climate change awareness.

Here's the list of (so far) 26 Democrats and two Independents, representing a quarter of the Senate, who will be talking away through the wee hours tonight:

  • Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.
  • Dick Durbin, D-Ill.
  • Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.
  • Patty Murray, D-Wash.
  • Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii
  • Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I.
  • Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.
  • Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.
  • Ron Wyden, D-Ore.
  • Bill Nelson, D-Fla.
  • Maria Cantwell, D-Wash.
  • Benjamin L. Cardin, D-Md.
  • Bernard Sanders, I-Vt.
  • Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.
  • Mark Udall, D-Colo.
  • Tom Udall, D-N.M.
  • Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H.
  • Jeff Merkley, D-Ore.
  • Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.
  • Al Franken, D-Minn.
  • Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.
  • Chris Murphy, D-Conn.
  • Martin Heinrich, D-N.M.
  • Angus King, I-Maine
  • Tim Kaine, D-Va.
  • Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.
  • Edward J. Markey, D-Mass.
  • Cory Booker, D-N.J.

Lead image: The dome of the US Capitol building at twilight, via Shutterstock

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