" />
Building a world of
resilient communities.

MAIN LIST

 

Open Letter to President Obama

Many of you watched President Barack Obama’s recent State of the Union speech. In it, President Obama made numerous observations and proposals pertaining to the economic well-being of the United States. It is the position of Post Carbon Institute that the President, however well-intentioned, is overlooking critically important considerations.

In the open letter below, we call on President Obama to face reality and ask our fellow Americans to do the same. We are seeking the support and endorsement of our community. If you agree with the tone and content of this message to the U.S. President, please leave your comment/endorsement on this page.

The stakes could not be higher.

What You Can Do

  • Endorse this letter by adding your name to the comments below [here on poscarbon.org]. Ask your friends and colleagues to do the same.
  • Send this letter (as PDF below) to your local newspaper and suggest they run as an op-ed.
  • Push back on PCI to improve our tactics and outreach strategies.

February 1, 2010

Dear President Obama,

Your State of the Union speech last week laudably referenced clean tech and renewable energy several times. We ask that you follow your words with action, by leading the transition to a post-carbon economy and a healthier world.

You also spoke of our need to face hard truths.

Hard truth: Our continued, willful reliance on fossil fuels is making our planet uninhabitable. We are evicting ourselves from the only paradise we’ve ever known.

Hard truth: No combination of current and anticipated renewable sources can maintain our profligate energy usage as the global supply of fossil fuels heads for terminal decline.

For the recently released Searching for a Miracle, Post Carbon Institute Senior Fellow Richard Heinberg conducted a “net energy” analysis of 18 different energy sources (including nuclear and “clean coal”). He concluded that the amount of energy available after accounting for the energy used in extraction and production of those sources is—at our current and anticipated rates of consumption—insufficient to get us “over the hump” to a post-carbon world.

Our 29 Post Carbon Institute Fellows—experts in the leading economic, energy, and environmental issues of the day—all agree that this "net energy" deficit is just one of many interrelated crises shaping the 21st century. Each crisis alone creates formidable challenges; in combination, their complexity admits no simple solution. But given their direness, inaction risks tragedy.

Mr. President, we respect you and your advisors and appreciate the enormity of the dilemmas you and all of us confront. When a great leader frames a great challenge, a resilient people will rise to meet the opportunity. And so we ask, Mr. President, that you tell the American people that we must:

1. Face reality. In a carbon-constrained world, true prosperity comes not from heedless growth, but from shared security, community, and liberty.

2. Prepare for the future. Conservation, with an emphasis on building a green economy and revitalizing struggling communities, offers cost-effective “found” energy, and the most immediate and long-term return on investment.

3. Lead the way. A substantial investment in renewable energy, with an emphasis on distributed solar and wind, offers the best hope for moving to a sustainable economy and environment.

Mr. President, lead us in creating a future worth inheriting. Post Carbon Institute and our Fellows will support you and your team in whatever capacity we can. We believe that the American people, and the world’s people, will support you as well.

With hope,

Asher Miller
Executive Director
Post Carbon Institute
707-823-8700 x109

Download and share this letter as a PDF
 

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

Sign up for regular Resilience bulletins direct to your email.

Take action!  

Find out more about Community Resilience. See our COMMUNITIES page
Start your own projects. See our RESOURCES page.
Help build resilience. DONATE NOW.

 

This is a community site and the discussion is moderated. The rules in brief: no personal abuse and no climate denial. Complete Guidelines.


Will Climate Chaos Reign in the Anthropocene?

“Far from being self-stabilizing, the Earth’s climate system is …

The Mystery of the Missing Carbon

It’s a whodunit with huge consequences for life on Earth.

Defra Reports Reveals Extent of Impacts on People Living near Fracking Wells

People that live near fracking sites could be affected by health problems …

Supreme Court Rejects Argument to Dismiss Landmark Fracking Case

The Supreme Court of Canada has rejected a motion by the country's most …

The Limits to Growth and Greece: Systemic or Financial collapse?

But, could it be that all the financial circus that we are seeing dancing in …

Earthcare, Literally Speaking

Humans often “speak to” nature, as when we assume a dominant …

The gift of clear mind: Laudato Si'

We cannot begin to say how refreshing it is to see Pope Francis face the …