Dear Mr. President: Time to Deal with Climate Change

In a letter to President Obama, the editors of MIT Technology Review argue that addressing climate change must take top priority in the next four years.

January 2, 2013

Amid the crises and battles, both predictable and unforeseeable, that you will face over the next four years, one problem will stand out both for the economic and social dangers it poses and for the difficulty and cost of solving it. Whether you can develop a practical and sustainable strategy to address climate change—specifically, to begin lowering carbon dioxide emissions—will define the success of your new term as president. We do not make such a declaration lightly; we are keenly aware of the many other challenges you face. But the potential for global warming over the next decades threatens consequences so dire that they could overwhelm any progress you make toward other long-term economic, social, and political goals.

Altering the course of climate change is a task that will take decades. It will require innovative new technologies and overhauls of the world’s energy, agricultural, and transportation infrastructure. We don’t suggest that you can reverse the warming trend over the next four years, or even that you will be able to significantly decrease carbon dioxide emissions. But with the help of the world’s best economic, technical, and scientific minds, you can formulate a policy that will show the nation—and the world—how we can begin to make the changes necessary to ensure that the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere stabilizes at a safe level. Indeed, it is critical that you do so.

Read more: Dear Mr. President: Time to Deal with Climate Change | MIT Technology Review.

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