President Barack Obama, June 2010 (re Gulf oil spill)

The Gulf of Mexico oil spill is a matter that affects all inhabitants of planet Earth.

Safer exploitation and stricter regulations address only the short-term problem. There can never be full protection against “accidents.” As sources are sought in the oceans and the Arctic, the likelihood of such disasters is only increased. Nor are the tar sands an alternative, for that exploitation is highly polluting and wastes relatively clean energy in the process, points you well know.

We do not wish to address the issue of “peak oil” at all for, however long or short the period, we have global warming and acidification of the oceans to deal with.

The great issue to be addressed is the level of greenhouse gas emissions our oil-based industrial way of life creates. We commend you for stressing alternative, renewable energy sources. Your references to America’s “addiction” to oil could equally well be applied to us. As concerned Canadians we are ashamed to be “traffickers” feeding this oil addiction.

We urge you to use your communication skills to challenge your fellow Americans to rethink radically how to move to a truly sustainable way of life. The G8 and G20 summits are opportunities to encourage all “partners” to take stronger action to mitigate the climate crisis.