Month 7, Day 5: Tiny Little Glimmers. Just Tiny Little Glimmers.

The striking thing isn’t that a famous scientist thinks humanity is likely to go extinct within a century. The striking thing is that many other scientists agree with him.

Dear Senators Kerry and Reid –

The continued forward motion of climate legislation is heartening to those of us who are concerned about the Earth’s future. It is sickening to watch the obstructionist tactics of the opposition party, and those Democrats who, placing narrow interests above that of the nation as a whole, continue to support “business as usual” (BAU for short).

Because it is daily more evident that BAU is not going to work any longer. The Australian biologist Frank Fenner states baldly that continued population growth and unchecked consumption (key elements of BAU, needless to say) are going to bring humanity to extinction within the century — and other scientists nod grimly and say things like, “While there’s a glimmer of hope, it’s worth working to solve the problem. We have the scientific knowledge to do it but we don’t have the political will.”

We need to recognize the nature of the crisis and educate one another, and we have to do it in a hurry.

Which is why I’m writing, begging you: don’t capitulate any more.

Don’t capitulate to the oil interests.
Don’t capitulate to the coal interests.
Don’t capitulate to the natural gas interests.
Don’t capitulate to the financial interests.
Don’t capitulate to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Don’t capitulate to the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page.
Don’t capitulate to the Dominionist Christians who anxiously await armageddon as promised in the Book of Revelations.
Don’t capitulate to Lindsey Graham’s political exigencies.
Don’t capitulate to Glenn Beck’s conspiracy theories.
Don’t capitulate to President Obama’s accomodationist bipartisan instincts.

Don’t capitulate. Make the bill stronger. We need a price on carbon. We need to make the cost of carbon reflect its true cost to our planet and ourselves. How much will it cost to clean up the mess we’ve made? Trillions of dollars, at minimum — and the longer we go on with Business As Usual, the more costly and inconvenient it’s going to be. Those trillions need to be added to the price of carbon, as soon as possible.

We have fooled ourselves that fossil fuels are cheap. They are anything but — and the sooner our economic thinking changes to reflect the true cost of oil and coal, the more likely it is we can avoid the fate Dr. Fenner has predicted.

Yours Sincerely,

Warren Senders

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