Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Dear President Obama

                                                                                                      February 27, 2013
Dear President Obama:

    We are scholars long involved in exploring the causes, effects and potential cures of the climatic disruption  We are certain that you are  aware that the crisis of climate is devouring the GDP’s of nations, and human welfare outside the GDP’s, as inexorably as its swollen storms and rising seas are filling New York’s subways. We deplore the hoax of Adaptation, and its forlorn corollary of muddling through, advanced by corporate interests in preserving the lucrative fossil fuels business as long a possible. We observe that you are, uniquely,  in the most powerful position at this moment to check the momentum and start a correction of the chaos that will end this civilization. The long-term objective, of course,  is a re-stabilized climatic system and a revitalized civilization built around renewable energy.  But for the moment we urge:

1.    Reject immediately the proposal for any pipeline or other innovations to support the tar-sand oil development.
2.    Simultaneously announce a  major US effort to meet the objectives agreed to by all nations under the  1992  Framework Convention on Climate Change, namely, stability in the composition of the atmosphere.
3.    That objective must be supplemented by a national program designed to help all nations join us in reducing the atmospheric burden of heat-trapping gases, especially carbon dioxide, over the next century, to 1900 levels.
4.    That objective will require an abrupt turn away from fossil fuels and their further production anywhere. Developing the alternatives opens large opportunities to industry that the US can subsidize and encourage in various ways, using those opportunities to leap over the fiction of a US financial crisis.
5.    The initiative will require a revision of forest management to the world’s everlasting advantage.  All remaining  primary forests must be preserved to avoid further releases  of carbon from deforestation. Second, forests can be restored to all normally naturally forested regions. That  is a necessary step to provide in part for the continued removal of  carbon from the atmosphere over the next decades. (The human benefits in land and water management globally are prodigious.)

    This transition is an essential turn in human affairs if we are to avoid a cascade of substantially irreversible changes in the structure of the biosphere that will make it far less congenial as a human habitat as the arctic and boreal zones warm over the next years and flood the world with carbon  The world is no longer large enough in proportion to human needs for us to shrug off corporate profligacy  and assume all will be well. Our world is now, as the subways of New York,  yielding and shrinking before a rising sea of troubles.

    Yours truly,     s/ 7.2 billion of us