President Barack Obama, March 2010

JustEarth sent the letter below to President Obama. His recent state of the union address has important implications for Canada. We support a strong, comprehensive climate action strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

We are part of a global economy, especially intertwined with the United States. If we don’t act now on reducing emissions we risk being punished economically.

Dear President Obama

We are pleased to see an intelligent, pro-science president in the White House, who is concerned about the environment and understands the immediate threat posed by climate change.

As Canadians we recognize that the tar sands project is the major reason Canada is increasing, not reducing, our greenhouse gas emissions.

Prime minister Harper is the leader of a minority government; most Canadians voted for parties with a better position on climate change than his. The province he represents, Alberta, profits in the short term from this dirty oil industry. In the long term, as you know, all are harmed by these greenhouse gas emissions.

We commend you for your green energy initiatives, but consider that it would be unwise to rely on technical solutions to reduce emissions; these are not yet available, nor likely to be in time. Important lifestyle changes will be necessary to make the reductions required.

In any event, fossil fuels are non-renewable and we will all have to switch to other energy sources at some point. Better to do so before catastrophic damage becomes inevitable.

We need a comprehensive climate action plan, with targets to as recommended by international climate experts. Your proposal for a fully-auctioned, economy-wide cap and trade system could be a major component in such a strategy. Your influence is needed to get Canadian participation.