Year 1, Month 1, Day 14: Ed Markey Hears From Me Again

Last night I was doing bookkeeping for 2009, so I didn’t write anything. This morning I’m strapped for time, so this letter came out kind of blunt. I also included some footnotes for the first time. This was prompted by the scariest thing I have ever read, over at Daily Kos.

January 14, 2010

Dear Representative Markey,

Thank you for your work in the area of climate change and environmental protection. As we are now discovering, the predictions of climate scientists have been profoundly erroneous. Without exception, climatologists’ projections of the rate and severity of climate change are turning out to be too timid. The world is heating up faster than they expected. Much faster. Much, much faster.

The latest news reveals that we face what is surely the most pressing existential crisis in humanity’s history. The recent discovery of atmospheric methane levels over the Arctic ocean ranging between a hundred and a thousand times normal is a terrifying augury of things to come (see below). Once the gigatonnes of frozen methane locked in the tundra begin to melt, climatic tipping points are going to arrive faster and faster, and the best-case scenarios will look like dystopian nightmares. The worst-case scenarios can be summed up in one word: Venus.

Unless we can learn to set aside international and intra-national differences of opinion and personality conflicts, the outlook for coming generations is dire. Your leadership is needed now more than ever.

Thank you again for your efforts in this field.

Yours sincerely,

Warren Senders

1. “Scientists have uncovered what appears to be a further dramatic increase in the leakage of methane gas that is seeping from the Arctic seabed.”


2. “Fairbanks, Alaska—A team led by International Arctic Research Center scientist Igor Semiletov has found data to suggest that the carbon pool beneath the Arctic Ocean is leaking.

The results of more than 1,000 measurements of dissolved methane in the surface water from the East Siberian Arctic Shelf this summer as part of the International Siberian Shelf Study show an increased level of methane in the area. Geophysical measurements showed methane bubbles coming out of chimneys on the seafloor.”


Annette, the first thing we can do is get a climate bill passed in the Senate and in the House. That’s been bottled up waiting for HCR to go through. The second thing is for our government to commit to binding climate treaties of the sort that we were hoping would emerge from Copenhagen. The third thing is for our elected officials to begin speaking on this subject much (MUCH!!!) more forcefully; if President Obama were to give a nationally televised address on why Arctic Methane is such a huge danger, it would shift the debate onto a completely different level. Similarly, if the President and members of the House and Senate were to speak out vigorously about the need for America and the world to aim for atmospheric CO2 levels of 350 ppm or below. There need to be climate scientists in much more visible positions in our administrative structure; the White House would do well to have very visible public meetings with people like Dr. James Hansen.

And we as citizens need to get well informed. I suggest as a good place to start. Daily Kos’ DK Greenroots series is an invaluable resource. Spend some time reading (you’ll terrify yourself, which is good) and following links….then start writing letters and making phone calls yourself!

14 Jan 2010, 6:30pm
by Annette

Thank you, Warren. Please forgive me for being so ill-informed about this very important subject. Can you please tell me WHAT specific actions our leaders can or should do? Is there an organized effort in the U.S. that they could back? Or are you asking that they take the initiative to draft some sort of legislation? Thank you.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *