Month 3, Day 8: When the Methane Hits The Fan…

Stickin’ with the North Pole farts for the time being. I’m on my way out to a gig, so my brain is pretty close to empty. When I’m tired and distracted I write workmanlike letters that address the issues without rhetorical flourishes. This is one of them.

Dear Representatives Waxman and Markey,

I write to urge you to initiate action on the extremely troubling news of Arctic methane release. According to a recently-published article in the journal Science, billions of tons of methane under the sub-sea permafrost in the Arctic ocean is now entering the atmosphere. This is certain to accelerate the greenhouse effect even further, since methane is 25 times as powerful as carbon dioxide in trapping heat,

Climatologists’ prediction models haven’t yet been revised to account for the new data, but it’s pretty clear (unless you’re a FOX News commentator, a Republican, or George Will) that our current “worst-case” scenarios are hopelessly optimistic.

While this news is sure to trigger a round of fart jokes from Sean Hannity and his colleagues, it is a sad fact that while some of us strive to ensure humanity a safe and sustainable future, our corporate sector is heavily invested in denying the nature of the threat. With the recent Supreme Court decision in Citizens United opening up the floodgates to corporate influence in elections, we can look forward to thinly disguised climate denialism saturating our airwaves in the months leading up to November’s election.

Will the American public fall for it? Will our nation’s citizens believe it when they’re told that “Carbon Dioxide is life,” or “Methane is good for you?” Given the precipitous decline in scientific literacy in our country over the past several decades, I think it’s all too likely that this latest news won’t be treated with the respect it deserves.

I urge the two of you to initiate action in the House of Representatives. A sub-committee needs to study the problem and make recommendations for legislative action. America has to lead the world in addressing these crises.

There is no time to waste; no time to lose.

Yours sincerely,

Warren Senders

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