An open Letter to the World's Leaders

Honorable Leaders,

As our climate continues to change due to our extravagant use of fossil fuels, new sources of those fuels are being discovered in the Arctic regions.

Given that it is our own profligate use of fuels that has caused these new sources to be revealed, does it not make sense to conserve them?  Is it not blindingly obvious that burning these fuels will make climate change  worse?

And yet there is a race to be first to reach, extract, and profit by this new 'wealth'. Some of the Arctic oil and gas is already in the pipelines. Much has already been consumed.

In the past days, when there was a gold-rush, prospectors would carry guns. Today's participants in the new cold-rush have nuclear weapons. I, and many others,  find that worrying. How can you get the message of global climate change across to people who are prepared to back up corporate greed with weapons of mass destruction? Certainly not by arguing that anthropogenic climate change is of itself a weapon of mass destruction.

The people most at risk from global sea level rise are the poorest people in the poorest nations. When, not if, but when millions of people have died, will we gain any satisfaction from putting those responsible on trial for genocide?  Is it not better to be proactive in this. Global climate change deserves the highest place on any political agenda.  Why worry overmuch about the global economy when it is entirely possible that in 20 to 50 years time our global economy will have been severely damaged or destroyed due to climate change.

There is only only one solution to this global problem. We must all use less energy. If this means that governments must control fuel prices in the same way as diamond prices, so be it. All of the solutions to climate change so far offered are hare-brained. It is like offering an aspirin to cure cancer.

If we set up solar power farms in the tropics to supply energy to higher latitudes, we are just transfering energy from the tropics to those latitudes faster than the geo-atmospheric system does. The bottom line of that 'solution' is more and worse climate change. Power stations in the desert will need barriers against dust. By settling the dust so that it doesn't contaminate the lenses and mirrors, we shall deprive the oceans of a protection against warming.

The laws of thermodynamics determine that whatever energy source we use, it will be degraded into heat in the environment 100%.   Whatever the power source, transmission of electric power to another geographical location is identical in its effect as is the transmission of heat to that location.

We need to put in place an Arctic treaty as a matter of the gravest urgency. Signatories would agree to not use natural resources from north of a given parallel of latitude, even if already doing so. We have an Antarctic treaty that works well. I am confident that beneath the seas and the ice of Antarctica lie vast untapped resources.  Even if global warming makes these Arctic and Antarctic resources more accessible, let those resources remain untapped as a gift from us to our descendants.

If we do nothing about the Arctic 'arms race' then might that not set a precedent for Antarctica? Let us, then, initiate an Arctic treaty on fossil fuels, so that our descendents have no cause to say that this indeed was the age of stupid.

Footnote: this has been my own small contribution to the Earth Hour movement.

"Climate change is potentially the greatest challenge to global stability and security, and therefore to national security ..."
UK National Security report.

"When you forget the dignity of individual human beings, that it is when you are heading towards the destruction of the earth."
Tsutomu Yamaguchi, survivor of both Hiroshima and Nagasaki.