I am a UK citizen who has for many years respected the values that America stands for and argued in defence of your country when it was fashionable amongst my colleagues to criticise your nation.
However, I am now moved to write to you in protest at the recent events of your nation’s representatives and the sad demise of the reputation of a nation that was once known for proudly and bravely coming to the aid and rescue of others when in deep trouble. The war graves in Normandy are testimony of your nations proud past.
As you should be aware, your country's representatives have derailed negotiations on reaching a climate change agreement at Bali. We are now left with the unedifying spectacle of the worlds leaders congratulating themselves on achieving an agreement, when all that has been achieved is a commitment to more talks and no binding agreements on CO2 reductions have been reached. We do not have time for more talks. The more we talk, the less action we take and the greater the consequences. We have now engineered an environment for ourselves that does not absorb the greenhouse gases that we produce and the gap between absorption and production is widening. The longer we allow our energy profligate life styles to continue, the worse the problem. As the nation that has produced more CO2 than any other, the USA has a unique obligation to act and to show leadership in this time of global crisis.
The extract from the IPCC report above shows their conclusions and demonstrates why immediate action is so important. Even in the event that we reduce our emissions to zero and are somehow able to remove CO2 from the atmosphere (see CO2 trend on the left graph), we will still experience dangerous warming that will range between 1.8 deg C to 3.8 deg C (see graph on the left). Make no mistake; this is absolutely catastrophic. Failure to take immediate action will almost certainly mean that the current generation of children on the planet will be the last.
As well as selfish intransigence at Bali, the Senate have compounded the problem by signing into legislation the energy bill on Thursday. This bill calls for a renewable fuel obligation of 15 billion gallons of ethanol to be consumed annually by 2015 rising to 36 billion gallons to be consumed annually by 2022. If this is intended to be a part of some environmentally friendly initiative aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions by using biofuels, then again make no mistake in recognising that it is dangerous stupidity to believe this.
We are entering a dangerous and turbulent world were the population is soaring, and food production is collapsing due to the combined impacts of climate change, industrialisation and soil exhaustion. Tensions will grow as food prices rise. Inflation and interest rates will be forced up destroying economic growth. The current sub prime housing crash is a direct result of this changing world and a foretaste of worse to come.
In the face of this looming crisis, you have agreed to convert the world’s breadbasket into a second rate gas pump. The food that would have been grown will now have to be grown elsewhere, and this will be achieved by burning down more of the tropical rainforests, so reducing the carbon absorption of the biosphere. All this for an extremely inefficient way of producing a gas substitute to enable people to continue driving unnecessarily large cars unnecessarily long distances.
This is a desperate legacy to the world, and one that only the most self-interested nation of the world could contemplate.
Your nations inability to show clear leadership and make the sacrifices necessary to achieve cuts in greenhouse gases is in stark contrast to the sacrifices that your young men made for our freedoms in the Second World War.
The next time that I visit your war graves in France, I will pay special respect to those American soldiers who gave their lives and whose legacies are now being so hopelessly squandered.
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