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Guardian: A Letter to Obama

Authors: James Hansen, and Anniek Hansen
December 29, 2008


Dear Michelle and Barack,

We write to you as fellow parents concerned about the Earth that will be inherited by our children, grandchildren, and those yet to be born. Barack has spoken of 'a planet in peril' and noted that actions needed to stem climate changehave other merits. However, the nature of the chosen actions will be of crucial importance.

We apologize for the length of this letter. But your personal attention to these 'details' could make all the difference in what surely will be the most important matter of our times.

Jim has advised governments previously through regular channels. But urgency now dictates a personal appeal. Scientists at the forefront of climate research have seen a stream of new data in the past few years with startling implications for humanity and all life on Earth.

Yet the information that most needs to be communicated to you concerns the failure of policy approaches employed by nations most sincere and concerned about stabilizing climate.

Policies being discussed in national and international circles now, which focus on 'goals' for emission reduction and 'cap and trade', have the same basic approach as the Kyoto Protocol.

This approach is ineffectual and not commensurate with the climate threat. It could waste another decade, locking in disastrous consequences for our planet and humanity.


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