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Don’t make a choice that your children will regret

Filed under: — group @ 4 November 2016

Dear US voters,

the world is holding its breath. The stakes are high in the upcoming US elections. At stake is a million times more than which email server one candidate used, or how another treated women. The future of humanity will be profoundly affected by your choice, for many generations to come.

The coming four years is the last term during which a US government still has the chance, jointly with the rest of the world, to do what is needed to stop global warming well below 2°C and closer to 1.5°C, as was unanimously decided by 195 nations in the Paris Agreement last December. The total amount of carbon dioxide the world can still emit in order to have at least a 50% chance to stop warming at 1.5 °C will, at the current rate of emissions, be all used up in under ten years! This time can only be stretched out by making emissions fall rapidly.

Even 2°C of global warming is very likely to spell the end of most coral reefs on Earth. 2°C would mean a largely ice-free Arctic ocean in summer, right up to the North Pole. Even 2°C of warming is likely to destabilize continental ice sheets and commit the world to many meters of sea-level rise, lasting for millennia. Further global warming will likely lead to increasing extreme weather, droughts, harvest failures, and the risk of armed conflict and mass migration.


Meltwater on the Greenland Ice Sheet. Photo with kind permission by Ragnar Axelsson.

In case you have any doubts about the science: in the scientific community there is a long-standing consensus that humans are causing dangerous global warming, reflected in the clear statements of many scientific academies and societies from around the world. None of the 195 governments that signed the Paris Agreement saw any reasons for doubting the underlying scientific facts; doubts about the science that you see in some media are largely manufactured by interest groups trying to fool you.

You have a fateful choice to make. The policies of candidates and parties on climate change could hardly be more different. Hillary Clinton would continue to work with the international community to tackle the global warming crisis and help the transition to modern clean and renewable energies. Donald Trump denies that the problem even exists and has promised to go back to coal and to undo the Paris Agreement, which comes into force today, the 4th of November 2016, as culmination of over twenty years of negotiations.

Please consider this carefully. This is not an election about personalities, it is about policies that will determine our future for a long time to come. While the presidential race has gotten the most attention, voters should consider climate not just at the ‘top of the ticket’, but all the way down the ballot. Don’t make a choice that you, your children and your children’s children will regret forever.

David Archer, Rasmus Benestad, Ray Bradley, Michael Mann, Ray Pierrehumbert, Stefan Rahmstorf and Eric Steig

215 Responses to “Don’t make a choice that your children will regret”

  1. 201
    Thomas says:

    @ Dan & Martin, well you’re welcome to believe whatever you wish. However, if you’re willing to think things through clearer than assuming the media / press secretary talking points are true, then have another look at the actual facts from 2008 onward at your leisure, some tips include:

    A quote from James Hansen: (I’ve mentioned it before, this repeat is for your convenience)
    In a word: bribes. Seven years ago (2009), then Senator John Kerry (a Democrat) admitted to me that fee-and-dividend was better, but, he said, in words that still ring in my ears, “I can’t get one vote for that.”
    Instead, liberals (Democrats) pushed for Waxman/Markey cap-and-trade, with every vote bought and paid for by giveaways to special interests, the bill stretching to over 2000 pages.”

    Right-wing collaboration with the fossil fuel industry is obvious, but connivance of liberals is widespread. Soon after Dick Gephardt retired as the Democratic leader in the U.S. House of Representatives he began receiving $120,000 per quarter from Peabody coal for lobbying, almost half a million dollars per year from a single source.

    Hansen again:
    I am a political Independent, fed up with both of our major parties. I have begun writing a piece in which I argue the case for a third party, not in 2016, but soon thereafter, if, as seems likely, the threat of a downward spiral in the economic prospects for young people becomes more apparent.”

    But the Democrats who are still in office in Kentucky campaign and legislate differently than most Democrats in Congress. They keep their distance from Obama. He says Obama is “toxic.”

    Key Democrats Launch CoalBlue Project – Leading Democrats form coalition to advance sustainable coal – run by ‘former’ Democrats in office.

    06/02/14 In West Virginia, Senate nominee Natalie Tennant promised she would “stand up to President Obama, [EPA Administrator] Gina McCarthy, and anyone else who tries to undermine our coal jobs.”
    “President Obama’s new EPA rule is more proof that Washington isn’t working for Kentucky,” Grimes said. “When I’m in the U.S. Senate, I will fiercely oppose the President’s attack on Kentucky’s coal industry because protecting our jobs will be my number one priority.”

    They used to be Democrats. Now they really could hand Donald Trump the White House.

    and recent Democrat games:

    The EPA was proposed by President Richard Nixon and began operation on December 2, 1970

    Everything done about AGW/CC by Obama has needed the 46 year old EPA to do it. Except for the Paris Treaty which will likely be un-ratified asap by Trump, and where the EPA provisions will also likely be scuttled.

    So much for being mislabeled as “the great negotiator” and a “motivational speaker” and a “deft politician” able to gain BIPARTISAN agreement on issues. It’s more than Obama, it’s whole Administration that has been asleep at the wheel and totally ineffective when it comes to AGW/CC issues.

    The Democrats as a whole under President Obama have all done little more than rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

    HISTORY says:
    May 16, 2009 – Excerpt from President Obama’s weekly address:
    “Chairman Henry Waxman and members of the Energy and Commerce Committee brought together stakeholders from all corners of the country – and every sector of our economy – to reach an historic agreement on comprehensive energy legislation. It’s another promising sign of progress, as longtime opponents are sitting together, at the same table, to help solve one of America’s most serious challenges.”

    What came of that? Nothing.

    October 23, 2009 – Excerpt from President Obama’s speech at MIT:
    “Everybody in America should have a stake in legislation that can transform our energy system into one that’s far more efficient, far cleaner, and provide energy independence for America — making the best use of resources we have in abundance, everything from figuring out how to use the fossil fuels that inevitably we are going to be using for several decades, things like coal and oil and natural gas; figuring out how we use those as cleanly and efficiently as possible; creating safe nuclear power; sustainable — sustainably grown biofuels; and then the energy that we can harness from wind and the waves and the sun. It is a transformation that will be made as swiftly and as carefully as possible, to ensure that we are doing what it takes to grow this economy in the short, medium, and long term. And I do believe that a consensus is growing to achieve exactly that.”

    What came of that? Nothing.

    On the occasion of Senator Barack Obama’s election to the Presidency, the Center released the following statement of Eileen Claussen, President, Pew Center on Global Climate Change
    November 5, 2008 – President-elect Obama faces an array of urgent challenges when he assumes the Presidency on January 20, but I am confident that he will provide the leadership needed to enact a comprehensive climate policy that significantly reduces U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.
    I am equally optimistic that new leadership will provide the impetus we need to forge a strong green energy economy and restore America’s standing in the world community, and I look forward with great anticipation to working with the Obama administration to achieve these critical goals.

    What has Obama achieved? Next to nothing.

    ME: Clinton’s rhetoric for President was the same as the empty promises during 8 years of Obama – promises about the future – hypothetical plans – un-achievable new Laws being passed – and the loss of the presidency as well as major Democrat election losses across the nation.

    Can all this really be blamed on the Republicans and the denier industry alone? No. What you have here is a lack of leadership and a dereliction of duty and a failure to deliver on Obama’s election promises that HE would make a difference.

    The only thing Obama has achieved is the opposite. A whirlwind of anti-science political rhetoric for 8 years that he has never been able to counter leading to electoral defeat after defeat.

    What he promised?

    Senator Obama envisions legislation that leaves scant wiggle room on emissions cuts and exacts a price from the start for emissions permits. He would use $15 billion a year from those proceeds to promote non-polluting energy sources and cut energy waste.

    Says U.S. must lead global efforts to reduce emissions; would institute cap-and-trade system
    “Strengthened institutions and invigorated alliances and partnerships are especially crucial if we are to defeat the epochal, man-made threat to the planet: climate change. … As the world’s largest producer of greenhouse gases, America has the responsibility to lead. (read down the page

    25 Jul 2011 Assessing Obama’s Record on the Environment
    When Barack Obama won the presidency in 2008, environmentalists were optimistic that their issues would finally become a priority at the White House. So how is Obama doing? Yale Environment 360 asked a group of environmentalists and energy experts for their verdicts on the president’s performance.

    Most felt the president’s greatest failures were his tepid support of climate legislation, which ultimately went down to defeat, and his refusal to rally the country to fight global warming. His greatest successes were seen as setting strict vehicle mileage standards and funding energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. [using 1970s EPA powers]
    And his greatest challenge going forward? A majority of our contributors said it was fending off an all-out assault on environmental policies and regulations from Tea Partyers and other conservatives in Congress.
    NOV. 18, 2008
    President-elect Barack Obama, in strongly-worded remarks to a gathering of governors and foreign officials on Tuesday, said he had no intention of softening or delaying his aggressive targets for reducing emissions that cause the warming of the planet.
    October 25, 2012 In A Shift From 2008 Race, Obama’s Hush On Climate
    How did he do up to 2016? Terribly!

    Did Obama ever invite people like James Hansen and Michael Mann into the Oval Office to seek their advice and to support THEIR ongoing work publicly? Nope.

    Did Obama give James Hansen a medal to recognize his and other climate scientists service to nation? Nope.

    Did Obama support the The Constitutional Case for Kids and Future Generations Federal Court Case? Nope. In fact Obama’s Administration has been actively FIGHTING AGAINST this court case.

    Did Obama have several live televised Addresses to the Nation on the critical important of Climate and Energy Policy? Nope.

    Did Obama speak out about and name and shame those behind the climate science denial system? Nope.

    Did Obama take Republicans like Inhofe to task publicly and destroy their credibility in the mind of the public and the media about climate science fact vs denial? Nope.

    Did Obama change the minds of a single climate science denier in the population or in the Congress during his 8 years of Office? Nope.

    Did Obama actually implement a Program for the retraining of fossil fuels workers to become renewable energy workers? Nope.

    Did Obama implement a Program to economically support the regions and cities gutted by the EPA restrictions on Coal Fired power stations? Nope.

    He promised them and Hillary promised them again in 2016 – the reality is nothing was done. Then the swing voters came out and voted for Romney and Trump … not Jill Stein or the Democrats.

    Did Obama listen to the Unions and address their concerns? Nope.

    Did Obama lift a finger or raise a voice over the Dakota Pipeline? Nope.

    Did the majority of American voters, or the population as a whole, support Obama in his failures or his successful policies to tackle Climate Change? Nope.

    Is the USA any less a Climate Science denying nation after 8 years of the Democrat President Obama – the great popular leader for Hope and Change and Environmental Responsibility?

    Nope! In fact it’s far worse and much more polarized than it was in 2008.

    There is much evidence to show this is the case, but it’s only useful to those to know about it.

    When it comes to climate science and policies/laws/regulations to address AGW/CC in the US and globally Barack Obama has been an abject failure.

    In reality 8 years of an Obama Administration has done nothing significant and achieved even less.

    As a President for Wall Street, Auto Makers, Fossil Fuel companies and energy providers, and the GFC connected Corrupted banks insurance companies and Goldman Sachs like Financial interests, President Obama has been a raging success!

    He has also almost single-handedly destroyed all HOPE of the progressive liberals left in the Democrat Party and their desire for achieving sustainable CHANGE for the better with the support of the population as a whole…. leading instead to a President like Trump being elected.

    So yeah, he is still the Hope and Change President of 2008 — he simply lied about whose side he was truly on… and what was going to change.

  2. 202
    Dan says:

    re: 201.
    That is without question one of the most outrageous and disingenuous comments posted on this blog in years. This in particular: “It’s more than Obama, it’s whole Administration that has been asleep at the wheel and totally ineffective when it comes to AGW/CC issues” shows you really have no clue about what you are talking about. Not even close. And this is worse: “In reality 8 years of an Obama Administration has done nothing significant and achieved even less.”

    Your cherry-picking rivals the “best” climate deniers. You regurgitate what you want to believe. Epic critical thinking failure display.

  3. 203
    Susan Anderson says:

    Yeah, blame Obama and Democrats for continuous obstruction from Republicans.

    That’s a great way to make things worse. Oh, I forgot, y’all just did, by hating on the people who were trying to help.

    Unfortunately, those who abstained and attacked and voted for Public Enemy Number 1 are about to find out what a mess that is. And they are punishing the rest of us as well.

  4. 204
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Yes, Susan, the planet is f**ked, but Thomas can feel so pure and superior. It is, after all, all about Thomas.

  5. 205

    Yep, Thomas is not contributing anything useful to the discussion. It’s ego all the way down.

  6. 206
    Martinjb says:

    Kevin (@205): I coulda sworn there was a turtle in there too.

  7. 207
    Thomas says:

    Believe whatever you wish. :-)
    I’m still on Jim Hansen’s side, except for a F&D carbon tax/price being a rational solution.

  8. 208
    Doc Snow says:

    “Kevin (@205): I coulda sworn there was a turtle in there too.”

    The hard shell probably fooled you.

  9. 209

    “Kevin (@205): I coulda sworn there was a turtle in there too.”

    The hard shell probably fooled you. ;-)

  10. 210
    Hank Roberts says:

    Thomas has good information.
    He ought to put it somewhere people will read it.
    Get a blog, please, and place pointers in threads like this one.

    I suggest Eco-Equity as a good example of doing it right.

  11. 211
    Hank Roberts says:

    The growing role of methane in anthropogenic climate change

    Published 12 December 2016
    Environmental Research Letters, Volume 11, Number 12

  12. 212
    Hank Roberts says:

    Data point:

    The Ross Ice Shelf (RIS) grounding line has retreated more than 1000 km, from the continental shelf edge to its present location, in the time since the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) [Conway et al., 1999; Shipp et al., 1999]. Of interest now is whether or not that retreat will continue, and if so, at what rate.

    Century-scale discharge stagnation and reactivation of the Ross ice streams, West Antarctica
    23 May 2007
    DOI: 10.1029/2006JF000603

    hat tip to AGU at
    Rapid ice flow rearrangement induced by subglacial drainage in West Antarctica
    19 November 2016
    DOI: 10.1002/2016GL070430

  13. 213
    Thomas says:

    Thou Shall Not Commit Logical Fallacies


  14. 214
    Thomas says:

    List of Fallacies, False claims & Illogical ‘arguments’ made about my good self and the information I have provided or commented on include:

    Special Pleading
    Black or White
    False Cause
    Ad Hominem
    Loaded Question
    Appeal to Emotion
    Tu Quoque
    No True Scotsman
    Texas Sharp-Shooter
    Personal Incredulity
    Ambiguity/Semantic Games

    Likelihood of an improvement in discussions/comments and rational intelligent thought based on Objective Evidence and Historical Fact is 0%

    (dbl shrug)

    Meanwhile many others do understand what is being said, ref’d, and why.

  15. 215
    Hank Roberts says:

    > my good self and the information I have provided

    RC is not all about you, or about any of the other uniquely valuable individual contributors who have come here to explain what they have to offer to benefit the world.

    The scientists can point to their contributions — which appear in the journals — and discuss that work here with interested readers. That’s an example worth following for how to do education.

    Don’t take offense when others critique your presentation. Learn from that.