Skip to main content

Yesterday in Detroit, in the middle of January, in the middle of winter, people were walking in shorts, washing cars in their driveways, and rollerblading. At its peak the temperature reached 59°F, which is 30 degrees above average.


I am one of those people who cringe with every new report on climate change evidence. I worry for the species who struggle in vain to survive in an environment that is changing too fast. I feel sorry for the children who are being born into a mess that their parents are knowingly making.

And I get mad at the policy makers who aren’t doing enough to address the problem. When I read the articles stating that scientists underestimated the speed and severity of climate destruction, and our very life on this planet is threatened I wonder, “Doesn’t President Obama know this?? Isn’t someone telling him? Who can I get to tell him?”

The other day I had a moment of clarity: I will tell him. I don’t mean to sound naïve, I know he has hundreds of experts and advisers around him, and he is a smart man. But he isn’t getting the message (cue Bill McKibben’s latest article) and maybe if he hears it enough, he will.

So here’s my letter (below the fold). I invite anyone to use any part of it for your own letters if you’re so inspired.

January 9, 2013

Dear President Obama,

Congratulations on your re-election. I know there are many important things to be done in your second term, but I hope that addressing climate change is at the top of your list.

As I’m sure you’re aware, climate change threatens life as we know it on the planet, and it is already happening. From record drought, to extreme storms like Sandy and Katrina, to coasts disappearing in rising seas, to commerce being blocked on the drying-up Mississippi River, the signs are frightening.

I live in Michigan, and we lost our entire tart cherry crop last year because of the incredibly warm temperatures in March. Our Great Lakes are at record low water levels, and they’re further stressed by warming-induced algae blooms that choke off the lakes’ ecosystems.

In my opinion there is no greater problem that faces the United States (and the world) than climate change. Since most scientific predictions have underestimated the rate of climate change and the damage inflicted by climate change, there is no time to waste in addressing it. Thank you for the efforts you and your administration have made so far: promoting renewable energy sources, implementing strong fuel efficiency standards, etc.

However, in order to have a true impact and avoid runaway warming, we will need more measures that are revolutionary and paradigm shifting. This is a great opportunity for you to exhibit leadership and establish a legacy as someone who has literally saved the world.

Here are just a few suggestions of possible measures:

•    Stop the Keystone XL pipeline. NASA scientist James Hansen has said that implementation of this pipeline will mean “game over” for the climate. Given that, why on earth should that project proceed??

•    End subsidies to the fossil fuel industry, and implement a fee on carbon emissions to wean our nation off of fossil fuels.

•    Reverse your position on an “all of the above” energy strategy. As Bill McKibben points out in his Rolling Stone “Do the Math” article, existing fossil fuel reserves must stay in the ground if we are to have any hope of stemming runaway climate change.

•    Implement the energy strategy proposed by Stanford professor Mark Jacobson, who outlines an approach whereby we can satisfy the whole world’s energy needs through renewables, using existing technologies and at affordable costs. I am enclosing a copy of his 2010 paper that details this approach.

Climate change is not a political issue. As Bill McKibben states in his 1/6/13 article “Obama Versus Physics,” the physics of climate change doesn’t care about our politics:

“Physics couldn’t care less if precipitous action raises gas prices, or damages the coal industry in swing states. It could care less whether putting a price on carbon slowed the pace of development in China, or made agribusiness less profitable.

Physics doesn’t understand that rapid action on climate change threatens the most lucrative business on Earth, the fossil fuel industry. It’s implacable. It takes the carbon dioxide we produce and translates it into heat, which means into melting ice and rising oceans and gathering storms. And unlike other problems, the less you do, the worse it gets. Do nothing and soon you have a nightmare on your hands.”

Mr. President, we are the generation of people who understands that we are destroying our planet, yet we aren’t doing enough about it. It is a moral obligation for us to stop climate change before it’s too late, and half measures will not matter.

Please show us that you want to act on your statement that “Climate change is not a hoax.” Make it your administration’s top priority. Talk about it in your State of the Union address. Implement bold new programs that show the United States’ leadership on this issue.

Save the world!

Thank you very much for your consideration.


Diane Cheklich

Originally posted to doppler effect on Sun Jan 13, 2013 at 10:09 AM PST.

Also republished by DK GreenRoots.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (8+ / 0-)

    "You get what you settle for."-- Louise Sawyer

    by doppler effect on Sun Jan 13, 2013 at 10:09:55 AM PST

  •  Great letter. I better write one (5+ / 0-)


    Babylon system is the vampire... ~Bob Marley

    by sfinx on Sun Jan 13, 2013 at 10:21:25 AM PST

  •  Great letter -- tipped/rec'd. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Arlys, doppler effect, profewalt

    I'm in Eastern Canada. We lost our apple crop in 2012 because of the lack of rain. (Prices immediately went through the roof).

    BTW, another diary was just posted by A Siegel regarding 2 major climate change events:

    Pray-in for the Climate: Tuesday, January 15, in front of the White House

    Forward on Climate Rally, February 17 (12 am-4 pm, including a march to the White House)

    Mark your calendars everyone! :)

    Climate activists unite: we need a symbol. A name. A vision. Join the discussion.

    by Eowyn9 on Sun Jan 13, 2013 at 10:41:50 AM PST

  •  Need is .. (3+ / 0-)

    to go beyond letter to Obama but use this for letters to the editor, material shared with others (such as this diary, but also Facebook, your email contacts, etc ...)

    Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

    by A Siegel on Sun Jan 13, 2013 at 11:07:44 AM PST

  •  Mark Jacobson is a waste case. (0+ / 0-)

    Right now, having just finished the second worst year in recorded history for increases in climate change gases in the earth's atmosphere, Jacobson runs around repeated the same failed rhetoric that has been going on for more than 60 years with no result:     So called "renewable energy" will save us.

    I have a list of similar remarks made in the 1960's, 1970's, 1980's etc, many of them dribbling out people of the same ilk:   People who hate, beyond all rationality, the world's largest, by far, source of climate change gas free energy, nuclear energy.

    The asshole in question, Jacobson, wrote a long and very stupid paper in the RSC journal Energy and Environmental Science Energy Environ. Sci., 2012, 5, 8743 that between 15 and 1100 people (the most probable number being 130) could "eventually" die of cancer as a result of the Fukushima nuclear event - the number thus far observed is, um,  strong>zero, assuming that 50 year old still unproved "linear threshold hypothesis - which posits that bananas are a dangerous radiologic poison - is true.

    He then went into an insipid rant that the same thing "could" happen at Diablo Canyon, attempting to scare the bejeebers out of people who are even dumber than he is.

    I note that Jacobson's "most probable" number is less than the number of people who died pretty much instantaneously from Hurricane Sandy - through which I, among many others, personally survived.

    Nobel Laureate Barton Richter slapped this bit of selectively attentive stupidity down in the very next paper in the same journal.  Energy Environ. Sci., 2012, 5, 8758

    Right now on this planet with a collapsing atmosphere - not even counting climate change, the air pollution, according to the World Health Organization,3.3 million people per year, about 9000 a day, about 377 an hour, 6 to 7 every minutes, one every 9 to 10 seconds.

    Thus, assuming this functional idiot is correct - he probably isn't - the lower limit of Fukushima deaths is equal to about 2 minutes of air pollution deaths or, at the upper limit, less than 3 hours at the upper limit.

    In his smack down Richter wrote:

    What struck me first on reading the Ten Hoeve–Jacobson (T–J) paper was how small the consequences of the radiation release from the Fukushima reactor accident are projected to be compared to the devastation wrought by the giant earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on March 11, 2011. The quake and tsunami left 20 000 people dead, over a million buildings damaged and a huge number of homeless. This paper concludes that there will eventually be a 15-130-1100 fatalities(130 is the mean value and the other numbers are upper and lower bounds)from the radiation released from reactor failures in what is regarded as the second worst nuclear accident in the history of nuclear power. It made me wonder what the consequences might have been had Japan never used any nuclear power. My rough analysis finds that health effects, including mortality, would have been much worse with fossil fuel used to generate the same amount of electricity as was nuclear generated.
    The bold is mine.

    In other words, Richter made the point that even though they were destroyed by a natural disaster, the Japanese reactors at Fukushima save lives, and conversely the Japanese decision to shut the reactors to find out if they were safe, thus replacing them with dangerous fossil fuels, killed people because there are zero dangerous fossil fuel plants on this entire planet that can be turned on without killing people.

    I voted for this President based on my assumption that he is a reasonably smart guy.   If it is so one would hope that he could see through this guy Jacobson, his dubious professorship at Stanford notwithstanding, and do the appropriate thing, which is to ignore him.

    Albert Einstein famously remarked that the definition of insanity is to repeat the same experiment over and over and over expecting a different result.    The expensive "renewable energy will save us" experiment - which has sucked hundreds of billions of dollars, hundreds of billions of euros, etc for no significant result - is now 60 years old.   The fact that a relatively young guy, Jacobson, has taken over for equally bad thinking old guys - Amory Lovins comes to mind - to repeat the same damn rhetoric - does not change the fact that the rhetoric - appeals to wishful thinking, fear, ignorance, and superstition - is one of the main reasons that our planet is dying.

    Have a nice week.

  •  Obama doesn't give a sh*t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Words In Action, profewalt

    The faster we all get this the better our time is going to be spent preparing and working on a very local level to help make our communities resilient to what is coming our way.
    Obama has no moral compass to point him in the direction of taking any action other than offering us a couple of pretty platitudes.

    Start working for your community. Food forests, alternative currencies, and natural building techniques will help us more than this president. Get moving, he's not taking our letters, our pleas, or our destruction seriously.

    Remove BP's corporate charter for environmental terrorism.

    by Picot verde on Sun Jan 13, 2013 at 11:56:26 AM PST

  •  This is a copy of my Potus letter and one I used (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    doppler effect, profewalt

    to comment in another diary but I gave myself permission.

    Mr. President,
    Will your State of the Union address mention man made global warming? Will it mention that the completion of the Keystone Pipeline has been scientifically shown to vastly accelerate the rate of global weather disrupting CO2 emissions? Will you reference the fact that Native Americans in this country and Canada are having their land and their health damaged by this pipeline and that American farmers are the next inadvertent targets?. Will you mention that the added CO2 will contribute to the next Hurricanes stronger than Sandy or Katrina? Will you use this as a teaching moment exposing that the Canadian oil will be piped to refineries and then shipped around the world to the highest bidder while the environmental disasters stay in this country?

    I'd tip you but they cut off my tip box. The TSA would put Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad on the no-fly list.

    by OHdog on Sun Jan 13, 2013 at 12:37:23 PM PST

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site