Month 3, Day 19: Inside the White House?

Looking around for someone new to badger, I located Nancy Sutley, the Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. She posted on her organization’s website (buried in the White House site) about President Obama’s proposed Greenhouse emission reductions for the US Government. I liked that, although the target numbers as mentioned don’t go nearly far enough.

So she gets a letter. She’ll get a fax, too, if I can figure out what the number is.

Dear Ms. Sutley,

I was delighted to learn of President Obama’s commitment to reduce the U.S. Government’s carbon emissions. A 28 percent reduction is indeed substantial. With a target date just ten years in the future, this will require swift and decisive action on retrofitting buildings, changing energy use strategies, and rewarding conservation initiatives within bureaucratic systems.

President Obama’s proposed reduction is commendable, and an excellent step in the right direction. But it’s not enough.

America needs to lead the world in achieving genuine and total “energy independence.” That phrase is often used to mean “energy we don’t have to buy from OPEC,” or “non-oil energy.” What it should mean is “independence from fossil fuels.” Whether it’s oil or coal, it’s the same thing in the end: taking carbon out of the ground and putting it in the atmosphere. And that, quite simply, is no longer sustainable.

The scientific evidence is clear and unambiguous: we need to bring atmospheric CO2 down to 350 ppm or below if we are to prevent a climate catastrophe of unimaginable proportions. It is time for the Administration to address this issue clearly and unambiguously; there is little time left if our actions are to have any effect.

A 28 percent reduction in GHG emissions is a laudable but inadequate target. I hope that in the months to come, you and the White House Council on Environmental Quality will be advocating forcefully for much stronger policies on sustainability, and towards the ultimate elimination of fossil fuels from our government’s energy diet.

Thank you,

Warren Senders

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