Month 3, Day 7: Got Methane?

The Arctic methane release continues to be my cause du jour. Not much to add here; I just took yesterday’s letter, shuffled some of the clauses, exchanged synonyms and made it germane to the job description of the Secretary of State instead of the President.

Dear Secretary Clinton,

I write to urge you to initiate international action on a very disturbing component of the global climate crisis. According to a just-published article in the journal Science the sub-sea permafrost that has kept gigatonnes of methane locked in for thousands of years is now melting.

Methane is 25 times as powerful as carbon dioxide in trapping heat, which will accelerate the greenhouse effect even further — and the effects of adding such quantities of this greenhouse gas into the atmosphere have not yet been included into climate scientists’ prediction models. Our current “worst-case” scenarios are probably over-optimistic.

Our government needs to spearhead an international effort to address this crisis before it is too late. We would like to see all the nations of the world form a unified response to this common threat, combining our resources, skills and innovations to keep our planet safe for our children and their children and their children’s children after them. We would like to see the United States of America leading this effort, earning the gratitude of generations to come.

I urge you to make the multiple elements of the looming climate crisis (atmospheric CO2, Arctic methane release and oceanic acidification) a major area of concern in your dealings with the international community.

There is no time to lose.

Thank you for your attention.

Yours Sincerely,

Warren Senders

Year 1, Month 1, Day 13: A Letter to The Secretary of State

In over ten whole minutes of web searching, I could not find a fax number for the Secretary of State’s office, so this one is going off by snailmail.

Dear Secretary Clinton,

Over the long run, there is no issue more likely to contribute to profound global instability than runaway global warming. Projections of the sociopolitical effects of climate change include severe disturbances to farming economies caused by erratic weather, increased risk of near-apocalyptic fires in forested areas affected by severe heat, “water wars” triggered by drought and the elimination of glacial melt as a source for important rivers and aquifers, and, of course, the inevitability of millions of climate refugees, many in the world’s poorest nations.

Add to this the increasing likelihood that oceanic acidification will profoundly affect the food chain of much of earth’s life, and the terrifying prospect of gigatons of arctic methane being released into our atmosphere and bringing a greenhouse effect of unimaginable magnitude, and the possibility of a planetary enactment of a Biblical apocalypse becomes disturbingly likely. While some Dominionists may view this as desirable, hoping for the Rapture is not a valid environmental policy.

As the leader of the free world, the United States needs a diplomatic strategy that simultaneously fosters long-term thinking among the world’s governments (because a multi-decade gap between cause and effect is inherent in the processes of climate) and prompt and vigorous action (because the window of time in which our actions can make a difference to our descendents is rapidly closing). It is absolutely crucial that we take the initiative to bring about a worldwide agreement to reduce atmospheric CO2 to 350 ppm or less, as recommended by Dr. James Hansen and other climatologists.

Please make sure the world knows that America is ready to lead, both in finding ways to mitigate the unavoidable effects of climate change and in preventing further catastrophic changes from coming to pass.

Failure in this area is a guarantee of failure for all of us — all six billion of us.

Thank you,

Warren Senders

A little long, but what the hell. Writing a shorter letter would have taken an extra fifteen minutes or so.