Kate Burchenal

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November 9, 2008

Dear President-elect Obama,

First and foremost, I would like to congratulate you on your recent victory. It was an historical win on many counts, and I, like many of my fellow Americans, greatly admire your perseverance and dedication to this country.

But as you well know, this is not a time to sit back and celebrate, but rather a time to look to and plan for the future. We, the United States of America, and in fact the entire world, are facing hard times. As you put it in your speech in Lansing, Michigan in August, we are “facing a set of challenges greater than any we have seen in generations.” Our economy is in shambles, we are fighting two wars, and we are faced with the dismal prospects of global warming. I am writing to you concerned mostly with the latter issue. Clearly our economic and international problems desperately need governmental attention. However, I wholeheartedly believe that steps toward mitigating global warming will also work to reduce, and eventually eliminate, our other problems.

As unemployment has risen to the highest levels in over two decades, it is time for a change. By undertaking a serious effort to reduce our carbon footprint on the Earth, we can create millions of green jobs that will put many American families back on their feet, and in turn boost the economy. Global warming, and the mitigation thereof, is similarly tied to our tension abroad. The current conflict has stemmed largely from our dependence on foreign oil. By reducing and eventually eliminating this dependence through clean energy options, we can also settle hostilities overseas.

I will not attempt to tell you what needs to be done concerning the issue of global warming. I have seen your New Energy for America proposals, and you definitely understand the direction in which we must head. According to S. Pacala and R. Socolow, “humanity already possesses the fundamental scientific, technical and industrial know-how to solve the carbon and climate problem for the next half century.” [1] It’s all there; we have the plan and we have the means to implement said plan. Now we just need to do it.

We need to expand our use of renewable energy options such as solar power, wind power, and geothermal. We need to improve technology and to create more efficient cars and housing. We need to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by implementing a wide-reaching cap-and-trade policy. And we need all of this to be accessible and attractive to the people of the United States.

In short, we need will power. It is paramount that we follow up on our promises and take steps toward transforming the world that we live in. This, Mr. Obama, is where you come in. You have successfully riled up our nation and given us the hope necessary to pursue real change. This is the time and you are the man to lead us.

Again, Mr. Obama, I would like to congratulate you on an impressive victory. I wish you all the best in your undertakings as President of the United States, and have the utmost confidence in your abilities. Thank you for your time.


Kate Burchenal

  1. Pacala, S., and R. Socolow. "Stabilization Wedges: Solving the Climate Problem for the Next 50 Years with Current Technologies." Science Magazine 305(2004): 968.