Open Letter to Barack Obama

Dear Mr. President,

I’d like to congratulate you on your tremendous and historic rise to the helm as you assume the mantle of leadership of the US today.

These are unprecedented times we live in, with global economies and ecologies in a state of severe disrepair. In saying that you are the “change” we can believe in, you have instilled hope in those who look forward to a new direction, steered by new perspectives and new priorities.

The question we ask is not when the Titanic of our planet is going to hit the iceberg. We’ve already hit it, and the ship is leaking. We ask of you a sense of urgency to pull back the inhabitants and future generations from an ecological tipping point, and to quote you, “roll back the threat of a warming planet.”

This is the moment, then which will define our generation. These are the specific massive actions I urge you to take “boldly and swiftly:”

1. Rethink the KYOTO Protocol and institute phased targets for reduction of carbon emissions. Signal to the world the US commitment to this purpose.

2. Ban the construction of new coal-fired power plants and phase out coal plants without carbon sequestration, as they are the single largest contributor of greenhouse gases, generating as much carbon emissions as the global burning of fossil fuels

3  Move away from a consumerist, throwaway, fossil-fuel based, auto-centric, model of US growth, towards renewable energy, recycling, diversified transport and sustainable development

4  Move away from an industrial model of agricultural production for biofuels which compete with food and harm the environment. Promote GM-free, pesticide-free and chemical fertiliser-free development of agriculture

5  Substitute income tax with a carbon tax on individuals based on their carbon footprint, so those who consume more resources have to pay more.

6  Restructure the tax system to impose a carbon tax on environmentally harmful activities, so that the true social and ecological costs are reflected in the market price.

7 Ensure that US multinational companies operate with the same environmental standards in developing countries as on home ground. In addition, companies outsourcing much of their manufacturing to countries such as China and other developing countries, account for ecological costs to local communities

In your words, “ Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But they will be met.”

Thank you, Mr. President for saying  “Yes, WE CAN”



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Posted by on Jan 20 2009. Filed under Climate Change, Government Policy. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

2 Comments for “Open Letter to Barack Obama”

  1. Hi Bhavani,

    Well written. What is your opinion on Bio fuels?

    Hopefully, US will reduce use of Bio fuels too. I am not sure of the statistics, but the percentage of corn used for bio fuel is larger than consumed as food.

    During the commodity boom in 2007-2008, the major reason for inflation and high cost to agri-products were due the demand for Bio-fuel.

    My Heartfelt congratulations to the Mr Obama.



  2. Hi Swarna, I’ve included Biofuels in point no. 4. I believe the right way to produce biofuels is that it is from a non-food source, does not compete with agricultural land that can be used for food, or does not involve the clearing of primary rainforests (in case of palm oil). If there is a net carbon Debit in the process of making biofuels, it exacerbates the problem, rather than solving it.

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