Month 3, Day 28: Keeping the Pressure On

This goes off to John Kerry. Now I’m just anxious that the Senate will actually DO some climate legislation…and that it won’t be just another industry giveaway.

Dear Senator Kerry,

Now that health care legislation has been passed (and congratulations and thanks for your advocacy on this landmark achievement!) it’s time for the next chapters of the Democratic agenda. I understand that next on the legislative menu will be financial reform, which I think is an excellent choice. The misbehavior of the big banks and investment firms is all too obvious to anyone who’s been paying attention. The only worry we have is that the bill will contain too many loopholes and giveaways to the fiduciary miscreants who got us into this mess in the first place.

Interestingly enough, that’s the same worry I have with the climate legislation you are developing with Senators Graham and Lieberman. Will the worst polluters in the world be given concessions that allow them to continue their environmentally destructive behavior in the years to come? Make no mistake, to allow this (in the name of “maintaining a positive relationship with the business community” or some similar phrasing) will be to doom any efforts to address climate change responsibly. We need to get atmospheric CO2 down to 350 ppm or less; we need to take immediate action to deal with the two unresolved dilemmas of the climate crisis — oceanic acidification and polar methane.

This is as grave a crisis as humanity has ever faced. Regardless of what we do, it’s a given that the lives of our grandchildren will be unimaginably different. If we take the right action now, their lives may be different in a positive way: sustainable, frugal, globally responsible. If we fail, their lives may be something we wouldn’t wish on our worst enemies. The short-sighted and irresponsible behavior of big oil and big coal (and of the US Chamber of Commerce, among others) should ensure that these parties no longer deserve a seat at the negotiating table. Their contributions to climate change legislation are guaranteed to weaken its effect and impede its implementation.

It is time to put planet over profit. No more concessions to the Carbon Lobby!

Yours Sincerely,

Warren Senders

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