Month 3, Day 4: Faxin’ my Senators

It’s the last day of the great national call-in days on climate, as promoted heavily by 1Sky, Move-On and lots of other organizations. I called John Kerry’s office twice yesterday. I figured I’d write a fax to Kerry and Brown today — I did one for both my Senators last week…and now it’s time to hit ’em again.

Dear Senator Kerry and Senator Brown —

It is absolutely essential that our government address the severity of the climate crisis with speed and clarity. Despite the bleating of so-called “skeptics,” there is absolutely no doubt that global climate change is real. There is no doubt that it’s already affecting us. And there’s no doubt that human activity is implicated as its most important cause.

To be sure, there may be other causal factors as well. Scientists acknowledge this — but the possibility of other causes for climate change is not an excuse for doing nothing. The only thing that we can change is our own behavior.

The cost of strong and aggressive action in the face of global climate change is ultimately very small. Why? Because all the things we have to do to deal with climate change are things we have to do anyway. We need to rebuild our energy infrastructure; we need to stop burning oil and coal (and to find ways to transform local economies that rely on these industries); we need to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions; we need to be less wasteful in our energy use; we need to stop taking carbon out of the ground and putting it into the atmosphere.

We have to do these things because they are the right and responsible thing to do. Accomplishing them will cost less than the Iraq war.

On the other hand, the costs of inaction are very high. If global warming is real (note: it is), then failure to act will certainly mean huge economic and environmental devastation. A trillion dollars of prevention is worth a quadrillion dollars of cure. If global warming isn’t real (note: it is), we will have transformed our energy infrastructure, incentivized energy conservation, regained competitiveness with China, stopped giving money to the Saudis, and kept CO2 and other greenhouse emissions low. All good stuff. As a recent cartoon put it, “What if it’s all a hoax and we build a better world for nothing?”

The cost of inaction is catastrophe; the cost of action is less than our country’s most recent military misadventure.

Those who rise to the occasion and support robust climate legislation that does what it’s supposed to do (including setting a goal for atmospheric CO2 that is environmentally reasonable, not politically expedient — which is to say, 350 ppm), will be justly celebrated by our children and their children and their children’s children. Those who place transient political considerations above the long-term health of our planet and its population will be justly reviled.

We need strong climate/energy legislation, and we need it without temporizing. This is an “all hands on deck” situation; there is no time for timidity, cupidity or stupidity.

Yours sincerely,

Warren Senders

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