Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Dear Senators and Representatives,

It is much too late for Congress to put more strict regulations in place for the coal and oil industries, or to make them safer and more accountable for the damage they do. A ban on new offshore drilling won't prevent destruction of our environment from spreading.

Oil and coal are fossil fuels that produce heat trapping gasses when burned. As those gasses collect in the atmosphere, they cause what is known as "The Greenhouse Effect." This is the trapping of heat in the atmosphere and resultant rise in termperatures in direct proportion to the quantity of gas emitted from burning the fuels that remains in the atmosphere.

The earth can absorb excess CO2, but its ability to buffer the excess is shrinking as oceans acidify and forests are cut down.

As tragic as the current Gulf Disaster is, it will matter little in the long run if global average temperatures increase by 5-7 degrees this century. That is the conservative estimate for an atmosphere with 750 ppm CO2 by 2100.

It could be more.

The bad news is that even if we drastically reduce our emissions to align the world with the goal of 350 ppm by century's end, the damage WE ALREADY HAVE DONE IS IRREVERSIBLE.

The investment squandered on drilling and exploration, not to mention cleanup, represents a great opportunity cost to the human race, and the entire planet in our charge.

This cost can never be repaid. It's toll is growing higher and higher every day we continue to resource the retrieval and combustion of fossil fuels.

Congress must pass legislation that jumpstarts the clean energy revolution. Half measures, loopholes, and giveaways to polluters won't cut it this time. Now is the moment for action.

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