Target: US President Barack Obama, and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy
Goal: Cut carbon emissions that are raising the risk of increasingly catastrophic extreme weather.
Typhoon Haiyan, which hit the Philippines on Friday with devastating winds and a massive storm surge, is one of the most powerful storms in modern history. The typhoon is also one of the worst weather-related disasters ever to strike the Philippines, and is believed to have killed thousands of people. While officials are still assessing the full damage, early reports indicate as many as 10,000 people may have lost their lives.
Typhoon Haiyan is a humanitarian disaster of enormous proportions, and the international community must make every effort to provide immediate relief to those who have been affected. Typhoon Haiyan is also a wake-up call: stronger and more deadly tropical storms are exactly the type of extreme weather event that we can expect to see more of, in a world of human-caused climate change. In the wake of this catastrophe, the United States must commit to taking swift action to curb carbon emissions from power plants and other pollution sources.
Last year, Naderev Saño, the Philippines’ lead negotiator at the eighteenth annual United Nations conference on climate change, made an impassioned plea for major economies to commit to reducing carbon emissions, and giving aid to developing nations that are dealing with the effects of a warming climate. According to Saño, 4% of the Philippines economy’s annual Gross Domestic Product already goes toward damage and reconstruction costs from the yearly typhoon season.
As ocean waters warm and absorb more energy, the chances of catastrophic extreme weather events go up, especially in tropical countries like the Philippines. Urge President Barack Obama and US Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy to take swift action to curb climate-warming carbon emissions, and reduce the risk of another Typhoon Haiyan.
Dear President Obama and Administrator McCarthy,
Typhoon Haiyan is both a humanitarian disaster, and a global wake up call. This is exactly the kind of deadly tropical storm that we can expect to see more of as climate change gets worse, and it is time to shoulder responsibility for this reality. In the immediate future, the US must of course prioritize providing aid to the victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines and other countries. At the same time, we must recognize as a nation that it is time to stop exacerbating extreme weather by making climate change even worse.
As the biggest historic emitter of carbon pollution, the United States has a special responsibility to shift to clean energy and cut back on climate warming emissions. Please commit to swiftly reducing carbon emissions from US power plants and other sources. The world can simply not afford another tragedy like Typhoon Haiyan.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: NASA