An open letter to the president-elect:
Perhaps we can help you bring us together on the most important issue facing humankind. More than 97 percent of climate scientists have given you a flying start. They’ve proven that global warming is real, and we are causing it by burning too much fossil fuel. Backed by that scientific consensus, hopefully you can demonstrate your leadership ability by bringing climate change deniers and doubters onboard. Eighteen U.S. scientific organizations and the National Academies of Science from 80 countries want to help you. They already support the consensus view.
Their scientists are joined by every major religious faith in officially acknowledging that human-caused climate change is not a hoax. Scroll down to see if your faith is among them at www.mtcares.org/welcome-to-mtcares/. Climate change and our reinforcement of it no more requires a “belief” to be real than does gravity. The damage we’re doing to the planet has not and will not spare the children of deniers, Democrats or Republicans. Since, faith leaders want to see the country unite, joining with them on this issue would be a good place to begin.
In your own political party, four (Republican) former Environmental Protection Agency administrators also know human-caused climate change is not a hoax. Please bring the rest of your faction together with them.
And those secret briefings you’ll now get? Many of us respect the generals involved. Their studies advise of threats to U.S. national security within the next 20 years posed by global warming: political instability, mass refugee migration, terrorism, or conflicts over water and other resources. They conclude that human-caused climate change is at least as great a threat to our security as terrorism. Surely we can be duty-bound together in support of our military and intelligence professionals from the National Intelligence Council (NIC) (classified study for Congress), Council on Foreign Relations, Center for Navel Analysis, CIA, U.S. Defense Department, and Institute for Strategic Studies.
Nobody wants to see projections from the World Bank and the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change come true. They warn that unless we put the brakes on global warming, more economic migrants will be clamoring at our door as increased desertification and higher seas from melting ice help drive hundreds of millions from their homes to ours.
Oceans provide more than $20 trillion each year in goods and services. This bounty depends on the temperature of warming oceans and the concentration of acidifying carbon dioxide in them. Surely you do not want to see increased ocean acidification continue to destroy food sources for millions, or bleach more coral reefs adjacent to luxury hotels.
And the Paris Climate Accord you vowed to scuttle – the one all 195 participating UNFCCC member states and the European Union came together to unanimously support? Please don’t rip that togetherness apart! All but Iraq, Syria, Uzbekistan and Nicaragua have followed-up by signing it. As of November, 114 nations completed the process with ratification. They comprise 78.96 percent of global CO2 emissions.
We understand we owe a debt to fossil fuel workers who built our world economy. They should not be disadvantaged because the world is transitioning to an economy where electricity from the wind and sun is now cheaper than electricity generated by fossil fuel. The Pew Research Center’s May-June 2016 poll indicated support for renewable energy is overwhelming. It found 89 percent of us want more solar farms; 83 percent want more wind farms. Thus, fossil fuel workers will need climate justice along with those in countless areas becoming dryer or more riddled with the stronger cold and warm weather becoming the norm in our changing climate. We must care for fossil fuel workers, just as we need to look after the innumerable jobs in agricultural, ocean-food, ski, sport-fishing, tourism and other industries that will continue to be damaged if we warm the earth even more.
So be a great leader, Mr. President-elect. Bring us together. Embrace the POWER+ plan put forth by President Barack Obama to help coal communities find new routes to economic prosperity. Or champion similar measures suggested by Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, which ease acceptance into the renewable energy economy. Humankind needs your bold leadership to survive!
Russ Doty is a retired Montana legislator, consumer energy attorney and Minnesota administrative law judge who writes frequently on environmental and energy issues from Greeley, Colorado for Writers on the Range, OpEd News, and media in Montana, Colorado, and Minnesota. His website is www.MTCARES.org.