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Many of you watched President Barack Obama’s recent State of the Union speech. In it, President Obama made numerous observations and proposals pertaining to the economic well-being of the United States. It is the position of Post Carbon Institute that the President, however well-intentioned, is overlooking critically important considerations.

In the open letter below, we call on President Obama to face reality and ask our fellow Americans to do the same. We are seeking the support and endorsement of our community. If you agree with the tone and content of this message to the U.S. President, please leave your comment/endorsement on this page.

The stakes could not be higher.

What You Can Do

  • Endorse this letter by adding your name to the comments below. Ask your friends and colleagues to do the same.
  • Send this letter (as PDF below) to your local newspaper and suggest they run as an op-ed.
  • Push back on PCI to improve our tactics and outreach strategies.

February 1, 2010

Dear President Obama,

Your State of the Union speech last week laudably referenced clean tech and renewable energy several times. We ask that you follow your words with action, by leading the transition to a post-carbon economy and a healthier world.

You also spoke of our need to face hard truths.

Hard truth: Our continued, willful reliance on fossil fuels is making our planet uninhabitable. We are evicting ourselves from the only paradise we’ve ever known.

Hard truth: No combination of current and anticipated renewable sources can maintain our profligate energy usage as the global supply of fossil fuels heads for terminal decline.

For the recently released Searching for a Miracle, Post Carbon Institute Senior Fellow Richard Heinberg conducted a “net energy” analysis of 18 different energy sources (including nuclear and “clean coal”). He concluded that the amount of energy available after accounting for the energy used in extraction and production of those sources is—at our current and anticipated rates of consumption—insufficient to get us “over the hump” to a post-carbon world.

Our 29 Post Carbon Institute Fellows—experts in the leading economic, energy, and environmental issues of the day—all agree that this "net energy" deficit is just one of many interrelated crises shaping the 21st century. Each crisis alone creates formidable challenges; in combination, their complexity admits no simple solution. But given their direness, inaction risks tragedy.

Mr. President, we respect you and your advisors and appreciate the enormity of the dilemmas you and all of us confront. When a great leader frames a great challenge, a resilient people will rise to meet the opportunity. And so we ask, Mr. President, that you tell the American people that we must:

1. Face reality. In a carbon-constrained world, true prosperity comes not from heedless growth, but from shared security, community, and liberty.

2. Prepare for the future. Conservation, with an emphasis on building a green economy and revitalizing struggling communities, offers cost-effective “found” energy, and the most immediate and long-term return on investment.

3. Lead the way. A substantial investment in renewable energy, with an emphasis on distributed solar and wind, offers the best hope for moving to a sustainable economy and environment.

Mr. President, lead us in creating a future worth inheriting. Post Carbon Institute and our Fellows will support you and your team in whatever capacity we can. We believe that the American people, and the world’s people, will support you as well.

With hope,

Asher Miller
Executive Director
Post Carbon Institute
707-823-8700 x109

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Reader Comments


From: Jerry, Sep 10, 2010 09:06 AM

Environmental issues must look much further past cap and trade, which would only have a minimal effect, but is for some reason, the most talked about initiative in the US concerning climate control. If each of us simply cut down on our washer and dryer use, we would have a much larger effect!


From: Foo Lim, Mar 2, 2010 02:11 PM

Endorse this letter for a more sustainable future!

From: George Collins, Mar 2, 2010 02:09 PM

Despite or perhaps "because of" Global Warming persists despite the recent cold snap.

wave energy, efficiency and fuel-saving for cars

From: Eva Schlottmann, Feb 28, 2010 04:35 PM

Dear Asher/Richard, One addition to your letter could be the wave energy available now as a renewable energy.
Also, efficiency and 'doing with less'. I sell magnets for cars that
save 5 to 20% fuel, also in heating. Contact me if you want to
know more. Kind regards, Eva.

Facing reality, transitioning to sustainability

From: Mike Murphy, Feb 28, 2010 02:47 AM

Mr. President, I endorse the Post Carbon Institute's sensible recommendations above. If you are sensible, you will, too.
Meanwhile, my partner Birdie & I are not waiting for gov't or corporate leadership. We 2 old farmers have just lost our farm, but not our knowledge & skills in growing food, for ourselves & others. We are moving to a nearby city, where--if we have even 100 sq. ft. of ground--we plan to to establish a year-round garden (and help others to establish year-round gardens, too). We will have an apricot tree on the south side of the house, w/ beds of hardy greens (chard, collards, spinach, bok choy) on either side, over which we can throw a high-low tunnel in winter, as necessary. We'll even have a 20 sq. ft. patch of corn, inter-planted w/ delicata ("sweet potato") squash (good keepers, too). Of course, some tomatoes, and potatoes grown under increasing layers of mulch (thus dramatically increasing yield), some zucchini & beans & greens & beautiful, nutritious amaranth, & maybe a melon or 2. We'll find room for garlic & onions & carrots & sugar beets {kids will love those sweet green tops, and ask for seconds!).
We'll call ourselves: "The Garden-eers: Willing Gardeners, Creating Year-Round Gardens For Others," and so help others make gardens too, until the whole city is ribboned with gardens. Heck, we would even be willing to come to the White House and help you set a more sustainable example.
We welcome the comments and input of others:

No Nukes

From: John Irwin, Feb 27, 2010 08:56 AM

Nuclear Energy is not yet safe. This is why it got so expensive. Corn-based ethanol harms fuel efficiency & its production harms the environment. Its no help.

The Future

From: Anita Wald-Tuttle, Feb 26, 2010 09:23 PM

We need a green economy with renewable energy as rapidly as possible. You, Mr. President, could be the champion to lead us into a future worth being in.

The fossil fuel / food connection

From: Lisa Perrine, Feb 26, 2010 02:22 PM

Few people seem to understand the connection between the coming decline of fossil fuel availability and food production. Driving less or switching to electric vehicles will not fix this issue. Most of the food being produced today comes from giant agrobusinesses whose operations are entirely based on cheap and available fossil fuels. The world's so-called "green revolution" in food production was all about the increased use of fossil fuels, for fertilizers, pesticides and the like. As those materials become more and more expensive and less and less available because of the decline of their source materials, fossil fuels, the green revolution will cease to exist. Feeding our ever expanding numbers of humans will become a crisis issue around the world.

no nuclear solution

From: Phebe Fletcher, Feb 26, 2010 11:36 AM

Trading the problem of global warming for a problem of storing nuclear waste for thousands of years is not a solution.

The "O" Word

From: Steve Dearlove, Feb 26, 2010 08:47 AM

Until we (both in the West and globally) start facing the two elephants in the room: the "O" word (overpopulation) in combination with MOR (misappropriation of resources) things will unravel rather violently.

No amount of re-engineering of our energy needs/supplies will avert social and economic upheaval across the globe unless we stare these two issues in the face.

Voluntary simplicity may end up being not so voluntary.

carbon arcing is the solution guys to Hydrogen !!!!!

From: Thomas Campbell, Feb 25, 2010 10:41 PM

water has positive Ion's and Negative Ion's so if you use negative charge electrons even when we do not see what is going on in water with the use of the electrons will deionized the positive Ion's out of water which in turn of VAC that it pulses then backs up into a metal body getting a capacitor coupling charged up then you have to send that charge with a switch causing a carbon arcing to accure through the whole mass of Distilled water which breaks from top to bottom single atoms of hydrogen from top to bottom but the single atoms of hydrogen at top then goes into air because of its gaseous weight of it which means it can not bond back into the water in an open fuel cell !!!

post-carbon world

From: Wanda Laurin, Feb 25, 2010 06:34 PM

We are seeing a revolution in alternative energies. The fastest and most painless way to embark is to provide the means for citizens to use them in their homes and businesses. My suggestion is: instead of rescuing the corporations with bailouts, rescue your citizens with alternative energy incentives.

capacity building

From: Cabot Lyford, Feb 25, 2010 05:43 PM

Mr. President, you will find support in surprising places when you give your support to the decentralized solutions outlined in this letter. It may take time to build capacity, but worth the investment!

Confidence and Bold Initiative

From: Hans Kindt, Feb 25, 2010 04:39 PM

We are not cowards... NONE of us. We need to get REAL and get serious and unite somehow. We CAN do it. Please spell it out to us ALL... we actually need to grow up and be mature.. i think that cutting expenses AND raising taxes WILL fly IF you can be totally REAL

open letter

From: John Peck, Feb 25, 2010 02:01 PM

James Hansen's open letter to your administration on the eve of its accession remains unanswered. It deserves a considered, courageous reply.

energy shortage with oil as partner

From: Dave E Petersen, Feb 23, 2010 07:36 PM

Please divorce us from oil - even by 2020 its too late to be nothing short of 50% supplied by solar/wind/geothermal. You are so irreparably misled by special interests, listen to those that don't have an agenda.

Limits to Growth

From: John Hawthorne, Feb 23, 2010 07:03 PM

I concur with the Post Carbon Institute letter. I recently read "Limits to Growth", The 30 Year Update. A systems approach to looking at growth. It is time for the Next Revolution: Sustainability.


From: vincent vulcan tuminello, Feb 23, 2010 02:39 PM

I endorse the letter, someone send the president a copy of Michael Rupperts "Confronting Collapse". Not that he or the elites are unaware of the issues. The fact of the matter is, we have entered the beginning of a correction of a human population explosion, and they offer no way of packaging this in a digestible message. Get off the grid, do it now.

This is not Tea Party Politics

From: William Richards, Feb 23, 2010 07:52 AM

A phone call to Jimmy Carter might be a good start.
Good Luck to all.

A healthier world NOW!

From: Julie Dunn, Feb 22, 2010 10:18 AM

Let's get a move on, there's no more time for banter and inaction!

From: Donovan Russell, Feb 21, 2010 07:49 PM

Either we admit our dilemma and begin to address it honestly - or let those who cannot begin to imagine a different lifestyle, dominate the conversation and lead us into a dead end. Donovan Russell

From: Carla Denyer, Feb 21, 2010 03:14 PM

I am proud to put my name behind this letter. Please be proud to act on it.

Carla Denyer
MEng (Hons) Dunelm AMIMechE


From: Steve Dearlove, Feb 21, 2010 11:09 AM

Everyone: Do yourselves a huge favour and please read "The Long Emergency" by James Howard Kunstler along with George Monbiot's "Heat". If these two books don't scare you into action, nothing will.

I do regular reviews of environmental issues-related books in SABMagazine, published in Canada. Anyone wishing to share their reading lists I'd be interested.

Please tell the truth...

From: Nancy Hurrelbrinck, Feb 20, 2010 04:17 PM

Please have faith in Americans that we can rise to the occasion if told about the energy limitations we will soon face. Don't worry about politics. Just trust us to do what is needed once we know the situation. We need you to lead us.

From: Gloria Flora, Feb 20, 2010 11:15 AM

Indeed,the stakes could not be higher nor the science clearer. Any impartial analysis of the facts along with a review of history will strongly suggest that current lifestyles, patterns of consumption and indeed the very premises upon which we've based policy and action are simply not sustainable. Recall Alan Greenspan, chillingly calm, admitting to Congress that the economic principles upon which he based his recommendations for 40+ years were fundamentally flawed and lead to the current global economic collapse. You, President Obama, and our pantheon of erstwhile leaders and yes, each and every one of us need to re-examine the basic premises of our current energy, food and environmental policy. I think we will see, like Alan Greenspan and our economy, that the bases are just as unsustainable and subject to collapse. Let's not wait until these poorly designed structures do collapse in the seismic upheavals of change staring us in the eye.

From: A Supporter, Feb 19, 2010 10:32 PM

This is for your children's children and their children. And for all beings contained in our planet. Thank you.

clean, not nuclear, not coal

From: Dr. Vince and Dianne Foster, Feb 19, 2010 12:20 PM

We cannot leave a future of dirty water from coal tailings and radioactive waste to our children's children. For shame!

I strongly endorse The Post Carbon Institute's open letter

From: Wilford Welch, Feb 19, 2010 11:30 AM

Technological "solutions" to the energy crisis, the global warming crisis and the overarching "global sustainability crisis", will not allow us to continue the industrial production, economic growth and consumption habits of the past with massive ecological and social system collapses. We have already hit a wall that we have been unwilling to acknowledge and are called upon to make changes that we do not want to even contemplate. As this petition states, it is time to now face reality, and President Obama clearly has the insight and hopefully can muster the skills to address this.

It is time to be decisive

From: Kai Sawyer, Feb 17, 2010 03:27 PM

President Obama, we need drastic change. We need to dramatically change the way we live. You can be a model, and you can also give the resources to the people who are already working on making the transition. The future of the US will be grim if we have another president who is more or less the same as those in the past. Its time to put into practice the "yes we can."

Please set the direction so US is not a leader of pollution, climate emissions, consumption, and military activity (often for energy and corporate interests).

We need sweeping changes. In politics, in the media, in education, jobs, and the way we live. We can't keep doing this, and the sooner we change, the less chaotic it will be.

You can do it. We can do it.
Lets be wise, lets be strong.

Green Energy

From: Richard Tweedie, Feb 17, 2010 10:54 AM

We need to mandate zero emission vehicles. Please view the video "Who Killed the Electric Car?" If ever there was a need for eminent domain, take back the hope and progress from the EV1 and put America back in the car business. Our car Czar has only succeded in killing unions and pushing jobs off shore. Help!

Don't panic!

From: Michael Susylinski, Feb 17, 2010 06:44 AM

We will survive! Its going to take rethinking the way we conduct our lives and what we value in this world. The time for lies and half truths are over. Our generation has been born not knowing a life without oil, but it is a life which we and our children face. Please do not lead us blindly into the unknown. We need a true leader at this critical point in humanities history.

my grandchildrens' future

From: Ann Rogers, Feb 16, 2010 02:42 PM

We need to act now to preserve a future worth living in. Real renewable energy is the only way.

Yes, it will be INCONVENIENT

From: Billy Connelly, Feb 16, 2010 01:08 PM

but it is necessary.

Urgent Action Required

From: Mike Graham, Feb 16, 2010 10:59 AM

I endorse this letter. There is no question that the required changes are painful, but change now will be far less painful than the upcoming forced changes.

Hard Facts

From: Patrick Linton, Feb 16, 2010 10:45 AM

Dear Mr. President,

We all realize how difficult it is to govern and lead in the current, dysfunctional political arena known as Washington DC. Our democracy and the institutions of our federal government appear to most of us to be inept and unable to functionally address the confluence of very real issues facing this country, and all of humanity. Will you please lead boldly in these times of crisis when boldness is the only leadership style that will be effective in these conditions? Will you please muster the courage to face the realities of peak oil and climate change so that your children and mine will have some aspects of the earth left to live on?

Patrick Linton

From: Cami Courtright, Feb 15, 2010 08:09 AM

Sebastopol, CA

PCI letter to President

From: Nayeema Eusuf, Feb 14, 2010 08:00 PM

I endorse this letter. We need to rethink growth, prosperity and scale.

Do the Right Thing

From: Keith Johnson, Feb 14, 2010 12:24 PM

We need to drastically downscale our energy use or face collapse. New highway construction is not the answer to our problems. The sooner we face reality, the better.

patriotic duty

From: Sarah Moore, Feb 14, 2010 09:00 AM

President Obama, as a mother I beg you to face these facts and inspire our country to face the changes we must make as our patriotic duty and challenges that are worth the effort. Please lead.

Time for Action

From: Kevin Lovell, Feb 13, 2010 05:50 PM

Today's Washington is about talk!

Today's Planet is about Action!

Our planet earth and its citizens (all bio-diversity) have come way too far for to turn back now!

Keep Evolution Alive...

fossil fuel depletion

From: Bernard Meyer, Feb 12, 2010 11:21 AM

I have been studying this issue for 10 years. I support and endorse this petition.

nuclear power

From: Greg Nolan, Feb 11, 2010 02:07 PM

  Nuclear Power is a Dead End  
. The US government spent billions in past energy bills to stimulate the nuclear power industry. $25 billion last energy bill. Nuclear power should pay it’s own way. Government cost share on this level is socialism for a dirty, dangerous industry that puts millions of Americans at risk. America’s energy system should be economically viable for the citizens. Do we still have the political will to do this?
   If we want to socialize our energy system why don’t we put $25 billion into loan guarantees for the start up of 4 or 5 new wind machine manufacturing plants built in the windy regions of the United States. These facilities could be like SUV auto plants with a future, perhaps in the export market. Encouraging local investment through tax breaks could build an energy system owned partially by the ratepayers. Profits from this kind of a system would be used to stimulated local economies. Treating this $25 billion, as a loan would mean the taxpayers might see this money again, unlike the money we are pouring into nuclear power. There is a waiting list to purchase utility grade wind machines. Most of the wind machines we are putting up in the US, at the present time, are coming from overseas.
    We have vast untapped wind resources in many economically depressed rural areas of our country. Distributing electrical production has many advantages. It makes our electrical grid stronger and injects democracy and competition into the system.
    Nuclear power plants need fuel, unlike wind machines, and the lack of fuel may limit US nuclear power expansion according to Thomas Neff a research affiliate at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In a newsletter dated March 21 2007 he wrote:  “Small amounts of uranium are mined in the western United States, but the US is largely reliant on overseas supplies.” Currently the US relies on Russia for over half its fuel, under a “swords to ploughshares” deal that Neff originated in 1991. This deal is converting about 20,000 Russian nuclear weapons to fuel for US nuclear power plants, but it ends in 2013, leaving a substantial supply gap for the United States. The newsletter also goes on to say the price of Uranium in it’s low grade form has gone from $10 @ pound to $85 @ pound in the past couple of years… Proposals for new nuclear power electrical plants failed in the 70’s because they cost too much. Why would nuclear power be any cheaper now? The Price-Anderson Act of 1957 limits liability for those that invest in nuclear power plants. The federal government, according to this act, would cover any liability above $10 billion.  Nuclear power would be even more expensive or maybe impossible with out this taxpayer give away.
   When it comes to supporting the expansion of “radioactive” electricity internationally, we need to look closely at the countries of the world that are developing nuclear weapons. Nuclear arms programs almost always start with a nuclear power plant. We thought one of our national security goals was to control the spread of fissile materials. Spreading nuclear power around when there are options is an unfair legacy to leave to future generations.
  Clean renewable energy would be a patriotic investment in ourselves, not an “overseas” expense. We have abundant solar and wind resources in the US, more then enough to power our country. We just need a “moon shot” attitude to get the job done.
  Greg Nolan and Marcia Rapatz live in rural Todd County, Minnesota and work with local food production and wood products. Their home and business runs on solar energy.   

From: Melanie MacKinnon, Feb 11, 2010 01:53 PM

Well said. Now is the time to face reality.

Peak Oil

From: mark rieke, Feb 11, 2010 01:04 PM

Someday soon we will have no choice but to deal with the reality of limited resources. The sooner we do the easier it will be...

letter to the Pres.

From: John Weber, Feb 11, 2010 08:26 AM

Post Carbon Institute is right on. Please no more bail out money for the nuclear industry. Power for the People, think solar!!

help our planet

From: andrew damerau, Feb 10, 2010 03:01 PM

help our planet survive

I endorse this letter!

From: Grahame Dixon, Feb 10, 2010 08:23 AM

I endorse this letter!

Sustainable planet

From: jonathan say, Feb 9, 2010 10:52 AM

Make the strong decisions that won't make you happy now, but will make you a hero in the future. Be the change you promised.

atmospheric carbon

From: Richard Freeman, Feb 9, 2010 07:39 AM

Richard Freeman hopes you will move quickly on this obviously crucial issue and invites you to stay awhile in Montana after your second term for some rest and relaxation in the high country. Best regards, and please acknowledge the mess that we're in!

Dear Mr President

From: Kieran Cunnane, Feb 9, 2010 04:55 AM

I write to you as concerned citizen of the planet.
We face so many crises of resource depletion, environmental destruction and overpopulation. You are the person in the world with the greatest say and may choose a tribal route or a co-operative one to solve these crises. When your term of office in analysed in history, you will not be remembered for how inspirational or presidential you appeared at the time, but for what you did or didn't do.
You probably know what needs to be done via Al Gore and others, please have the courage to do it.

Our future

From: Brittany Reader, Feb 8, 2010 07:19 PM

Mr. President,

The American people are counting on you and the promise to turn our planet green for our children's future. We need more programs that are available to the public to help make this transition into a cleaner, safer world. We are here to back you up. Let's not wait any longer.

A Time For More Creative Thinking

From: Peter Wong, Feb 8, 2010 02:25 PM

Just as the face of warfare is changing away from state-run armies, the face of effective energy generation is changing away from nuclear and coal power. I hope, Mr. President, that you see that renewable energy (solar, wind) offers America's best option for renewing its economic fortunes. Here's hoping you move beyond fossil fuel thinking and NIMBY-ism and bring the rest of America with you.

An easier truth

From: Joshua Farley, Feb 8, 2010 01:48 PM

More energy use and economic growth in the wealthy nations simply does not make us better off. Per capita income in 1969 in the USA was half of what it is today, and unemployment and poverty were dramatically lower. People were just as satisfied with life then as they are now. We could achieve a 1969 standard of living using current technologies with half our current energy use. Putting out ingenuity to work increasing efficiency and developing new energy sources, we could no doubt achieve that standard of living using one quarter of current energy levels. We need a visionary leader to guide us toward a more sustainable and more desirable future.

Dear Mr. President

From: Nick Black, Feb 8, 2010 01:06 PM

There is little time. There is no way to avoid this crisis. There is only a chance to mitigate it to the extent possible. Now is the time to understand and act.

From: Cecilia Girz, Feb 8, 2010 10:56 AM

This is the most important issue of your presidency. Making the proper decisions on the issue of energy use and production informs your decisions and your legacy on all other issues in the economy and world policy.

Change you can follow through with

From: Alex MacRae, Feb 8, 2010 10:49 AM

President Obama, if the oil industry doesn't absolutely hate you, you're not telling the whole truth about the future of oil in America. Start being brutally honest with your constituents. Use your credibility while you still have some left.

Challenge for a Resilient Future

From: Wes Jackson, Feb 8, 2010 09:32 AM

Now is the time to act while we still have slack.

Global Warming

From: Walter Schwarz, Feb 8, 2010 08:41 AM

A WPA type program to build a smart grid, and thousands of off shore wind turbines plus a generous feed in tariff that would bring the public into the energy business with millions of solar cells would lift the economy out of the depression its now in. Never forget we are headed for a better life one that is energy lean, but time rich, less stressful, healthier and happier. (Transition Town Handbook)

Items #1,#2, & #3

From: James Case, Feb 8, 2010 06:38 AM

Get on them Mr.

security, community, and liberty in a green economy

From: John Shober, Feb 8, 2010 05:50 AM

The clock is ticking.

From: Michele McWaters, Feb 8, 2010 05:42 AM

Like many other commenters, I am also discouraged by the lack of concern for this important issue and hope that you will make an effort to educate yourself regarding the seriousness of the challenges we are facing.

Endorsement of above letter from Post Carbon Institute

From: Sam Hopkins, Feb 7, 2010 11:50 PM

Mr. President,
I first asked my fellow Baltimoreans to face these "hard truths" plus others, 50 years ago as president of the Baltimore Chapter of Zero Population Growth (now Population Connection). Old conservationists like me insist that these hard truths are very OLD. But our political leaders refuse to lead us into facing them. Please be the first to do so.

Your science advisor, John Holdren, knew all this 50 years ago!

Only the rate of population growth declined. So, overpopulation is far worse today. And the rate of our use of nonrenewable resources has increased. So, the crisis is far worse than it was 50 years ago.

But I believe that it is not too late to repent and get serious about conservation and other ways to sustain advanced civilization on this earth.

Future generations

From: Gloria K Rousseau, Feb 7, 2010 10:28 PM

How many will we have?

Let's Inspire The World

From: Justin Mayer, Feb 7, 2010 07:43 PM

It's time to make a huge investment in solar energy.

Global Resiliency in the face of peak fossil fuels

From: Paul Bruce, Feb 7, 2010 04:28 PM

It is absolutely urgent that we begin a dramatic movement away from fossil fuels now, in order to allow for an equitable transition to a post carbon future. Please give every support possible to public transit, cycle friendly development, renewables and organic farming.

PCI letter to Barack Obama

From: Peter Vido, Feb 7, 2010 04:07 PM

Without a book to tell them so, primitive peoples long understood that within each niche of this planet there are limits to growth. We are, presumably, members of a “developed” culture with an advanced science of ecology (a subject now taught in at least some rudimentary form at most schools). That continuous growth within a finite system is an oxymoron should be understood by every high school graduate, not to mention all the economists worth their American dinner. That, apparently, is not the case... because the average citizen (informed by the average media channels) does not know that increased economic growth at this point in history will lead to a slow execution of many members of future generations.

Now, is it the role of the country’s president to make this fact be clear to the masses? Apparently not...

Is he merely a puppet within a corporate agenda so large and complex that we should neither expect him to attempt an explanation of the truth to mere mortals nor blame him for not walking his pre-election talk? Apparently so...

Miracles do happen from time to time, however, and we need several of them NOW. A president manifesting integrity to the people who trusted and voted him in would be one/an example. Masses ready to swallow the truth would be another...

Hoping for a miracle or two, or three...

sustainability or collapse

From: Michael Graham, Feb 7, 2010 03:41 PM

Obama didn't face up to the hard truths for a reason: because politicians win elections by promising more affluence, not less. We the people don't want to hear that our whole way of life--dependent on the consumption of ever-greater quantities of irreplaceable resources--is but a fleeting instant in history. Until we all learn to see through the clouds of lies and obfuscation, the problems of modern civilization will only become more acute.

From: Karl Bursa, Feb 7, 2010 03:39 PM

The time has come for us to embrace our post-carbon future. The sooner the better, for our sake and for the sake of the untold generations yet to come.

Face Reality,Prepare for the Future,Lead the Way

From: Ellen Murphy, Feb 7, 2010 02:50 PM

Clean Coal? Please!

Political Courage Needed

From: Nick Rodin, Feb 7, 2010 02:39 PM

The hard truths stated in the letter
are unpopular, but the greatest test
of any leader is his ability to speak
these truths and motivate the people
to engage them.

post-carbon economy

From: Gail R. Mathews, Feb 7, 2010 02:33 PM

Please keep your promise to transition to a post-carbon economy and a healthier world for us, our children and our grandchildren.
Peace to you!

Transitioning in the Post Carbon Era

From: Debra Birkinshaw, Feb 7, 2010 01:16 PM

Please continue and amplify your efforts to create green jobs and invest in green energy. There is no such thing as "clean coal," and nuclear power/waste is harmful to all living things. Please concentrate a larger part of the budget on wind and solar power.

Sustainable future

From: Michael Jurs, Feb 7, 2010 10:25 AM

We must think beyond fossil fuels to a truly sustainable future.

A future worth inheriting

From: Robert Jones, Feb 7, 2010 10:14 AM

Will my children, and their children, be the last generation to enjoy a life of safety and prosperity? Will they be the ones to face a global disaster from which even America cannot recover?

We are only waiting for our leaders to stand up in front and lead us to a better future, lest we, as a people subjugated to the self-serving greed of heartless corporations, bring our own end upon us in a stampede of panic and chaos.

Please. For our children. Think.

The Need at all Levels

From: Holly Mines, Feb 7, 2010 07:46 AM

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to sign on to this letter. I'm feeling very discouraged here at the grassroots level in rural, red, CA, that this issue is being ignored. Perhaps with some visionary leadership at the top, we could move forward locally, helping to save our watersheds, habitats and natural environment.

The time is now

From: Chris Soderquist, Feb 7, 2010 03:38 AM

We cannot delay in facing reality! We are caught between the evil twins of Peak (Cheap) Energy and Climate Change. This requires nothing less than an honest communication to the American people...and world.

Please do so, and then let's get the conversation moving around how we will prepare for the most livable future we can. We must tackle the "growth is great" paradigm, develop local resiliency, and global resolve and commitment.

There will be tough choices; but the outcome can still be a world that we can all inhabit and embrace...even find fulfilling and rewarding.

I voted for you because I felt you were willing and capable of engaging in the rigorous "telling it like it is" dialogue we so desperately need. Please...don't let us down!

Post Carbon

From: Patrick Quinn, Feb 6, 2010 09:31 PM

Mr. President please do everything in your power especially as President with executive priviledge to get our country off fossil fuels. Thank You

Do not campaign, govern.

From: Justin Craigen, Feb 6, 2010 09:15 PM

I whole-heartedly endorse this letter. As a Canadian citizen, I cannot sway you with votes. It is my hope that you will live up to some of the hope you instilled in your nation, and around the world, and inspire my homeland's apathetic government to action.

The time for talking is over, it is time to lead.

conservation is the way forward

From: Ellen Doudna, Feb 6, 2010 08:04 PM

I was disappointed to hear you speak of offshore drilling and nuclear power. We must stop taking actions for which future generations will pay. Instead, provide incentives for Americans to conserve energy--whether lowering the heat, driving less, growing more of their own food, capturing rainwater or reusing greywater. Also provide incentives for businesses to cut down on energy use--timers on lighting, using half the fluorescent bulbs, energy efficient appliances, energy efficient vehicles or shared vehicles, public transit for employees, and more. It's time for America to begin weaning itself off foreign oil, and reduce dependence on coal and natural gas--not fight for the last drop. I believe you can inspire the American people to make this change.


From: John & Mary Turbek, Feb 6, 2010 05:21 PM

Very Important.

A greener,gentler, kinder place...

From: Mirian Parces, Feb 6, 2010 02:55 PM

We have a responsibility to allow our children to experience a beautiful, clean, healthy world...

True Leadership

From: Lisa Petrie, Feb 6, 2010 02:34 PM

True leadership means having the vision to recognize our most pressing problems, the courage to face up to them, and the creativity to get the people on board. I believe you have these qualities--that's why I voted for you. Now it is time to get out in front of public opinion and lead our country and the world to a secure and liveable future.

Fossil energy-- Going Away

From: A.C. Myers P.E. (inactive), Feb 6, 2010 02:23 PM

Is it meaningful that lawyers, insurance agents,and realtors rule this country,whereas in CHINA 12 of the 13 top rulers are ENGINEERS ?
I doubt the lawyers even know how many gallons in a barrel of OIL
Link up with Richard HEINBERG.Get some expertise to assist on the energy questions.

Prepare for Peak Oil

From: Gerri McNenny, Feb 6, 2010 02:04 PM

Thank you for acknowledging the need to address the issue of our dwindling energy resources. Pay attention to the experts, though, as they caution us on continued reliance on the absolute MYTH of Clean Coal and safe nuclear energy. Neither exists, and we need to rethink our strategies for preparing for a world that will be scarce in readily available oil supplies and quickly heating up from our over-reliance on carbon-based fuels. Let's act intelligently to save ourselves and the planet.

Creating a Future Worth Living In

From: Patricia Steeves, Feb 6, 2010 01:56 PM

I endorse this letter.

post-carbon world

From: Pamela Noel, Feb 6, 2010 12:51 PM

Please President Obama. This problem is bigger than any of us, and it is going to take all of us to solve it. Help us now.

The time is now

From: Mark Swanson, Feb 6, 2010 12:21 PM

I endorse this open letter and encourage the president and leaders of both political parties to work together on green legislation.

The time is now

From: Mark Swanson, Feb 6, 2010 12:21 PM

I endorse this open letter and encourage the president and leaders of both political parties to work together on green legislation.

sustainable economy

From: Nancy Wiens, Feb 6, 2010 11:40 AM

Thank you for your vision. I hope this letter contributes to its formation and realization.

Change We will Live In

From: Tim Wilson, Feb 6, 2010 08:05 AM

It is a disservice to continue to encourage americans to pursue the same overindulgent lifestyle we have been living for decades. It is destroying the planet. We can no longer afford to cling tightly to the status quo. We must now prepare for the change that is closer than any of us imagine. I urge you to abandon the growth at all costs, fossil fuel laden paradigm and begin to encourage the adaptations in our way of life equal to challenges that lie ahead.

Open Letter to President Obama

From: shelagh levey, Feb 5, 2010 07:16 PM

I endorse the above.

From: John Kretsinger, Feb 5, 2010 05:58 PM

All else pales beside this issue.

State of the Union

From: Mark Kokoletsos, Feb 5, 2010 03:25 PM


Letter to the President from PCI

From: Liana Forest, Feb 5, 2010 01:39 PM

As a member of the Transition Towns worldwide movement to support communities in their shift to a world beyond fossil fuels, I would like the President to acknowledge that nuclear energy is not safe and too expensive, and too long to bring into use, while clean coal is a distracting illusion. We need to learn how to use less energy, and to move to renewables as quickly as possible. Plus we have to have a new dream of a sustainable, resilient society, and reject outmoded ideas of continual economic industrial growth.

Carbon Solutions

From: Theodore, Feb 5, 2010 01:34 PM

Focus on reduced carbon solutions, reduce and eliminate fossil fuels in my life time. It is not too late! But it will be if we follow greed, stupidity and our bad habits further in to our futures.

Climate change

From: Alex Berry, Feb 5, 2010 11:36 AM

Yes Mr. President please face the facts on climate change and peak oil

The need to reduce fossil fuel use

From: Tim Newcomb, Feb 5, 2010 11:15 AM

I am a private consultant to companies which wish to count their greenhouse gas emissions. I have counted GHG emissions for cities, universities, schools and large farms.

GHG emissions are large in most of the cases. There are energy efficiency measures and renewable energy measures which will reduce these emissions.

Please put your support behind these measures to reduce GHG emissions in the U.S..

"safe nuclear" & "clean coal" do not exist

From: Joyce E. Olmsted, Feb 5, 2010 05:49 AM

Dear President Obama,

While I appreciate your recognition that we have a need to develop "green energy" please reconsider your position on nuclear energy and "clean coal." Please read and imbibe the message in "Searching for a Miracle" by Richard Heinberg of the Post Carbon Institute.

Joyce Olmsted

From: Elizabeth A. Geiger, Feb 5, 2010 04:59 AM

Support for nuclear power and clean coal are not the way to go. We need RENEWABLE SOURCES of energy, not those that have the ability to do further harm to our environment. It's time you take the lead on doing something that will benefit all of earth's inhabitants not just the rich and corporate.

"safe nuclear" & "clean coal" do not exist

From: Tom Kunhardt, Feb 4, 2010 10:44 PM

Dear President Obama,

These are two of the very few profound differences I have with your perspective on energy; "safe nuclear" & "clean coal".

The change I believe in is moving towards a clean new energy economy - now.

Create a carbon dividend

From: Eric, Feb 4, 2010 10:01 PM

We need a lot of behavior changes and fast. We need you to stand up to Big Oil and Big Coal by creating a revenue-neutral, annually increasing carbon tax on fossil fuels. The tax can be completely paid out to all taxpayers as a carbon dividend, so that clean consumers will benefit and dirty ones will pay. Consumers will see the wisdom in going green ASAP, trickle-down economists can't claim "job-killing taxes", and infrastructure investors can know the future price of carbon.

Tax pollution, not income!

No nuclear, coal or off shore drilling

From: Judith Culver, Feb 4, 2010 08:59 PM

We are deluding ourselves if we think any of these are the solution.

top-down or bottom-up?

From: Kirsten, Feb 4, 2010 07:45 PM

Yes, do provide leadership but remember that you need to follow our lead too. It's sort of an iterative leadership loop. The best ideas, the ones that work, come from the so-called grassroots, not fancy lobbyists.

Well said

From: Jeffrey Siemers, Feb 4, 2010 06:57 PM

I thoroughly endorse Asher Miller's statement. Please show us more leadership on our attempt to transition from fossil fuels to a new economy.

Our Post Peak Future

From: Bob Boeri, Feb 4, 2010 05:40 PM

I urge you, Mr President, to respond positively and courageously to the challenge to think beyond fossil fuels to a truly sustainable future.

Energy and the State of the Union

From: Wayne Thompson, Feb 4, 2010 05:32 PM

Not to be rude but please put your money where your mouth is.

Transition Town movement

From: Rev Jerry Lee Miller, Feb 4, 2010 05:27 PM

I am involved in bringing the Transition Town movement to my hometown of Lancaster,PA. I'd appreciate your support.

Our future

From: Susan Silber, Feb 4, 2010 05:23 PM

I and so many others urge you to take strong action to avert catastrophe by converting NOW to a green economy, through renewable energy and conservation, and riding bikes!

net energy and sound planning

From: paul shippee, Feb 4, 2010 04:55 PM

we have already lost 30 years of planning for the energy transition. i support action that tells the truth to all American people about the energy forecast

Preparing for a Post-Carbon Future

From: Susan Willis, Feb 4, 2010 04:44 PM

Mr. President,

Our dwindling national resources are being enormously wasted in the many military engagements and activities we are currently engaged in around the globe.

In order to focus on the massive energy and climate issues we face in the future, you must begin as soon as possible to end these military activities and redirect funding toward a sustainable future for us all.

An Unsustainable Status Quo

From: Bradley Jarvis, Feb 4, 2010 04:27 PM

In addition to profligate energy use, our society turns most of what it consumes into waste. This waste, and the appropriation of land and other resources that accompanies it, is driving many other species extinct and now threatens ours as well. The scope of this problem demands that we rapidly adopt lifestyle that adopts reuse strategies like those used in the rest of nature. As a bare minimum, we must allow and enable people to meet their basic needs with their local resources, and relearn how to do so ourselves.

Open Letter From PCI

From: Joseph Ford, Feb 4, 2010 04:23 PM

Mr. President,
Please open your eyes. Please acknowledge the difficult realities that we are facing. Please speak the truth… soon. Time is not on our side.

Change? How about it?


From: Larry Urquhart, Feb 4, 2010 04:01 PM

I don't have much more to say and doubt that given the volume of comments they will every be read. I had to enter this to submit it.

Green economy

From: Wanda S. Ballentine, Feb 4, 2010 04:01 PM

While I generally support the message of this letter, I particularly want to highlight this statement: "No combination of current and anticipated renewable sources can maintain our profligate energy usage as the global supply of fossil fuels heads for terminal decline."

We desperately need to face this hard fact and realize we need a very different kind of economy - steady state, not growth -we overshot the carrying capacity of this planet in the '70s, as professor William F. Catton documented in his book, "Overshoot," living on what he called "ghost acreage" - the wealth of the past and future -i.e. fossil fuels.

The govt. should foster the Transition Town movement aimed at building LOCAL SUSTAINABILITY.,

Very soon, it will not be possible to ship goods across oceans and continents.

The stakes could not be higher

From: Vicki Rose, Feb 4, 2010 03:56 PM

Mr. President, we need your leadership!

In support of Post Carbon Institute letter

From: Bonnie Lavine, Feb 4, 2010 03:26 PM

Dear President Obama,
We supported your victory, believing that you can take strong action on the most crucial problem of our times: climate change. Please, enforce changes in legislation, economy and education that will help the planet and prepare us for the future. Thank you!

PCI letter

From: Denise Johnson, Feb 4, 2010 03:02 PM

My family and I support what has been stated in this letter.

Open Letter fom PCI

From: Masa Kepic, Feb 4, 2010 02:35 PM

I hope this letter is read & taken heed of. It is only a matter of time before steps are taken towards a Green Economy, with Renewable Energy...the question is, will that time come soon enough to safeguard the planet & future generations?

Even Sir David Attenborough made a special TV programme warning of the consequences of Global Warming.

Energy Future

From: John Duvall, Feb 4, 2010 02:18 PM

We cannot solve our energy problems by only looking at the supply side. Half the "solution" has to come from the demand side - conservation in energy generation, transportation, building, etc. A tremendous amount of awareness raising needs to happen, and that's what the "bully pulpit" of the presidency is for. Forget worrying about second terms, and do the right thing now!

I endorse PCI's position

From: Don Dwiggins, Feb 4, 2010 02:13 PM

This is the real change we desperately need: think the politically unthinkable reality, speak the politically unacceptable truth, adopt the politically impossible policies --
for the sake of Sasha and Malia, and all our children, grandchildren, and their descendants.

What will you tell Sasha and Malia and their children in 30 years if you fail them now?

From: Frank Warnock, Feb 4, 2010 01:58 PM

Dear President Obama,

You can't stimulate a corpse. Our future as a carbon-based economy is in rigor at this point - or should be. It is time to tell the truth; we cannot sustain the unsustainable.

Among other livable communities initiatives, please support the Active Communities Transportation Act, sponsored by Reps Earl Blumenauer. This puts clean, grean, active and healthy transportation options in the hands of the people.

During the bush administration, a republican controlled Congress - with the slimmest of majorities - rammed through legislation at will, with little to no bi-partisan support. Remember the "Golden Spine" award for the few Dems who did stand up? Why is it the Democratic Party must insist on republican support to get anything done?? They have demonstrated time and time again it's not about the issues, but about obstruction for the sole purpose of our demise.

Prove to us the Democratic party has at least some progressive qualities remaining. Otherwise, your supporters will be voting 3rd party in the mid-terms and presidential elections in '12.

Open Letter

From: Don Hall, Feb 4, 2010 01:42 PM

While I believe that President Obama recognizes the scale of the challenges we are facing with energy, I also know that he is highly constrained by current political realities. True democracy requires that politicians follow the lead of the people they represent, and, in my opinion, the vast majority of Americans have not even been introduced to the kinds of issues that Post Carbon Institute is basing its recommendations on. Therefore, it is our job to educate and inspire the public and build a strong movement for a post-carbon future. While there is no guarantee that our leaders will follow, if we do not create this movement, I am not very hopeful that change will come from Washington DC.

Net Energy Analysis

From: Earl Gerhard, Feb 4, 2010 12:28 PM

The inconvenient truth of the net energy balance is never discussed. None of the present day energy corporations a willing to see any drop in their profits. The people of America must insist on a rational energy policy to create a positive future. Thanks for keeping this in the spotlight. Earl

green recovery

From: Patricia Kearney, Feb 4, 2010 11:58 AM

I agreed strongly with your State of teh Union speech ideas on reviving domestic manufacturing through a GREEN economy but there is no such thing as "clean coal."

Our Energy Future

From: Dale Trembley, Feb 4, 2010 11:30 AM

What are we leaving future generations?

State of the Hard Truths

From: DONALD JOSLIN, Feb 4, 2010 11:19 AM

Mr. President - 5 years ago (at age 51) I earned a new degree in solar energy in order to be prepared for the new "Green Economy" - I'm still waiting for it to happen. Very disappointed with the lack of progress. What are we waiting for. Right now solar modules are the cheapest they have EVER been! The time is NOW Mr. President.

Breathe In The Notes Of Change

From: A.H. Scott, Feb 4, 2010 11:06 AM

Hopefully the melody of ethics and economics can begin the dance of preserving this earth. Mr. President, that would be a true change that we could all believe in. And, in this case of our environment: Breathe In.

"Conservation is a state of
harmony between men and land."
- Aldo Leopold

Mr. President, show us leadership

From: Maria Rotunda, Feb 4, 2010 10:53 AM

President Obama- You were elected to usher in change. Your legacy is more than what the historians will write. You need to join the mass at the grassroots and lead us onto a sustainable path.

fossil fuels

From: Kelvin Rodolfo, Feb 4, 2010 10:50 AM

I heard with great dismay during the SOTU the call for "clean coal". This is a pernicious idea. The chemical facts are implacable: Burning one ton of coal carbon generates 3.7 tons of carbon dioxide. Carbon capture and storage? Mine one ton of coal carbon and stuff almost four tons of CO2 back into the Earth?


From: Karyn Curtis, Feb 4, 2010 10:20 AM

Please listen to people who have dedicated their lives to solving our shared problems.

Sustainability is the answer

From: Susan Stout, Feb 4, 2010 10:04 AM

Let's work toward a sustainable future!

Sustainable energy future

From: Asia Mahon, Feb 4, 2010 09:36 AM

I love my country and want to help create a future with prosperiety and hope, not limitation and struggle. I believe we need to act now (yesterday)in making our communities more resilient to fossil fuel decline and price surges due to scarcity in all energy resources. We need to lokk at the small picture to create a big picture that works for all.
Sincerely, Asia Mahon- a Daughter of the Mayflower

PCI Open Letter to President Pbama

From: Rose M. Stevens, Feb 4, 2010 09:32 AM

Please keep your own family in mind when considering what to do to give them a future worth inheriting. Thank you.

Saving our world

From: Lee Temple, Feb 4, 2010 08:01 AM

Advancing the green adjenda will provide all the jobs we need to transform our recession into sustainable, earth-friendly growth, and help save our future too.

I Endorse the PCI's Feb. 1, 2010 Open Letter to President Obama

From: Ryan Sandridge, Feb 4, 2010 07:19 AM

Furthermore, I think throwing Republicans a bone by stating we need to support "Clean Coal" and "Off Shore Drilling" is a mistake. Neither of these actions supports the elimination of human dependence on fossil fuels!

governing solutions

From: Don Morrison, Feb 4, 2010 07:17 AM

in a market economy, soolving these problems will begin by porviding postive incentives for the things we need (renewables) and taxing consumption of the non-renewable resources


From: Jennifer Hartley, Feb 4, 2010 06:47 AM

It is a sign of respect to the people to believe in their capacity for understanding and sacrifice. We can face the job of mitigating the coming collapse with grace, or we can make it infinitely worse by insisting on perpetual growth and telling falsehoods. The people can take the truth! We need leaders who are willing to do the right thing, not the politically expedient thing!

post carbon world or carbon-destroyed world?

From: louise turner, Feb 4, 2010 06:43 AM

one solution to our one-banking-healthcare-environment-war-problem

stop Fed funding of our military/industrial/gov/media complex that squanders human resources on imperial goals

direct human capital to support, not destroy, environmental and human health and well being

Responsibility for our children

From: Gail Skipworth, Feb 4, 2010 06:27 AM

As a guardian of this planet I am responsible for my children to inherit the planet which all creatures share.

From: Terry Ross, Feb 4, 2010 06:15 AM

I'm writing in support of this letter. Please do not forget green jobs as a road to economic recovery.

From: PAT COOKMAN, Feb 4, 2010 05:23 AM

Full speed ahead on renewable solar and wind energy. What are we waiting for?

Electric rail & bus

From: Anthony Perl, Feb 4, 2010 03:38 AM

The President's initiative to move high(er) speed rail onto America's transportation agenda is laudable and long overdue. All the projects that are pursued should include medium term (or sooner) plans to run the trains on electric propulsion, the most proven way to transition surface mobility to post-carbon energy sources.

Anthony Perl
PCI Transportation Fellow

PCI Open Letter to President Obama

From: Carl E. Hartung, Feb 4, 2010 01:14 AM

Signing in support of this letter.

our grandchildren's future

From: Kathy Kerridge, Feb 3, 2010 10:24 PM

We must start to address these problems now, or we will be leaving a terrible world for our grandchildren.

sustainable future

From: Rhoden Streeter, Feb 3, 2010 10:21 PM

For a sustainable future we must move away from coal.

there is no such thing as clean coal perhaps "cleaner" we need more far sighted solutions

The Hard Truth to the President.

From: Matt Simonet, Feb 3, 2010 09:48 PM

The truth of the matter Mr. President is that you need realize that the end of the carbon "lifestyle" is almost here. We have to prepare and be proactive to a future of healing the earth and our communities. We need to set the example but also learn from those who have made steps in the right direction. Those who are going to a simpler yet more gentle way on the earth. Our Car addiction has to be put to a halt. We will have to learn to walk and bike again, to truly live one with nature, and children will learn how to actually take care of themselves and each other as they once did. This is the only future we must embrace in order to save a future for all human kind.

Facing Hard Truths

From: Glenn Ingram, Feb 3, 2010 09:26 PM

We have a lot of tough times ahead. It is time to start looking to the future and getting us on the path of energy descent.

Steven Chu knows the truth

From: Jon Cooksey, Feb 3, 2010 09:25 PM

...but he isn't allowed to talk about it for fear of crashing the markets. Bernanke is clueless - the recession was about oil. Let's start talking about reality.

Support of Open Letter to President Obama

From: Lawrence LaVerdure, Feb 3, 2010 09:16 PM

The president needs to know and rely upon the vast network of support for renewable energy in this country.

New York City can prepare...or deny there's a problem.

From: Dan Miner, Feb 3, 2010 09:06 PM

New York's business and government circles are making some good efforts toward sustainability, but are still in denial about fuel supply constraints. It's time to blow the whistle, and open up the discussion. - Dan Miner, Sierra Club NYC, chair.

Global realities

From: Kim Wardwell, Feb 3, 2010 08:58 PM

Thank you for sharing our concerns for the planet Mr. President. The salmon, the polar bear and great whales beg us to respond.

"clean energy"

From: Tracy Maria Lord, Feb 3, 2010 08:55 PM

The era of belief that any amount of tehnology or innovation will replace what petroleum has done for us is long over. Not a single leader has attempted to produce, much less defende, a credible senario for our imminent transit into post-petroleum living. Our leaders need to work a little harder on preparing the population psychologically if not materially for this massive shift in how we conduct our daily lives.

real change

From: Aerin Herr, Feb 3, 2010 08:55 PM

Now is the time. We, the people, are tired of the status quo. Let's actually make real change happen and stop pandering to lobbyist, and corporate and special interests.

climate change

From: Faye Smith, Feb 3, 2010 08:52 PM

Please give up the idea that we can continue with life as usual in the face of the changing climate, even with non-polluting energy, because we have already gone beyond the capacity of the earth to sustain us.

Truly Non-Toxic Engery

From: Roy C. Treadway, Feb 3, 2010 08:21 PM

Only energy efficiency, conservation, and truly renewable energy (wind and solar)have a chance of solving the challenges of our earth.

Facing the inconvenient truth

From: Rick O'Neill, Feb 3, 2010 07:57 PM

It is time to put ethics and the long term well being of the world ahead of short term economic gain for a few.

Solar and Wind

From: Helen Livingston, Feb 3, 2010 07:01 PM

Please take us into a sustainable future on a wave of solar and wind power.

Need action on HADR TRUTHS

From: Alan Page, Feb 3, 2010 06:53 PM

A confounding problem to the above hard truths, is the disconnect between our currency creation system and biological reality. The HARD TRUTHS are biological realities, we need a national strategic banking system that is not profit driven. These HARD TRUTHS will require competent currency management and availability of credit for the development of the new technologies and implementation of local systems that will replace these out modded energy sources and consumption models. Our current banking model destroys more than it facilitates. The governmental red tape to collect taxes and manage revenues for repayment of debt that should not exist must be eliminated as we address all the other HARD TRUTHS.

Alan Page


From: Naomi N Nemes, Feb 3, 2010 06:36 PM

Dear Mr. President,

With all due respect, stop being a schmuck. Stop trying to be "nice" to the people who are screwing you over and have screwed the environment, the American people and the people of the world over for over eight years. They have no intentions of playing nice with you and will only use your good intentions to screw you over too.

You know what needs to be done for the people, not just of America but of the world, and this is one of those things. Please learn a lesson from this last election period and start playing hardball. If you have the power to force it through, then DO IT!! You are not only the first black president, but the first president that, to my knowledge, was raised in foreign countries and you have a unique experience and perspective on our world and the human race that no president has had before. Please use that perspective and stop trying to be friends with people who want to overthrow you and continue screwing up our country and our natural world for their own obscene monetary gain.

I think you're a good man, and you know what needs to be done to fix this mess. The world can't afford to have these thugs continue on the way they have, and the world can't afford to wait while you try to make everyone happy, even the fanatics. I commend your high-minded ideals for even trying, but it has been made clear that it is not going to work and now it's time to really fight for what is really right.

Don't betray the world just to spare the feelings of a few nasty old men who will never have any respect for you anyway. We respect you and we are relying on you. Please don't let us down.

Thank you.

future reality

From: Barry Horsley, Feb 3, 2010 06:18 PM

Yes, we need to face reality and let the American people know that oil, natural gas, and eventually coal will not be available for consumption. Even renewables, such as wind and solar power currently rely on an oil economy to be produced and to operate. People need to be made aware of this so that they can make preparations for their own future and the future of their descendants.

From: Susan L. Wright, Feb 3, 2010 06:09 PM

Dear Mr. President,

Unless you are going to move the nuclear energy industry toward the Integral Fast Reactor ditched under Clinton, the dollars poured into this industry that continues to pile up nuclear waste that we have no capacity to deal with 65 years after this industry started are so much money dumped into an economic black hole. I applaud your closing the Yucca Mountain boondoggle, but we have no way of dealing with the nuclear waste we have generated to date, let along bringing in more plants making more. Please don't waste any more dollars on these scientifically unsupported projects--and that goes for biofuels, mountaintop removal coal mining, the natural gas projects in the Northeast that are permanently tainting the groundwater supplies and aquifers we will be needing to tap for our survival and offshore drilling that will lead to more oil spill disasters. Your leadership on clean energy in the stimulus package is to be applauded. But all our dollars need to be directed there, and the American people must be educated about the need to drastically change our energy gobbling lifestyle. We have already passed Peak Oil. We must use the rest of the energy available to create a society that can transition to the time when cheap energy is a faint memory. NOW is the time to seize the day. Please don't delay further biding the next election cycle.

A Supporter

let's grow up

From: Jill Robinson, Feb 3, 2010 05:18 PM

We have been acting like toddlers-thinking the whole world is there for our exclusive benefit. We know, from the experience of rising to a national emergency in WWI and WWII, that we can grow up, pull together, and act for (and sacrifice for) the greater good. Surely we can do the same for a global emergency. But it will never happen without strong, inspiring leadership. You are called to provide that leadership.

Green it is

From: Bob, Feb 3, 2010 05:18 PM

Do it!!!!


From: Shelly O'Grady, Feb 3, 2010 05:16 PM

We can't afford to continue down the destructive path we've all been walking on. Climate change, peak oil, species already taunting us! Don't guide us towards more drilling and "clean" coal. Take a risk Obama,your daughters will thank you!

alternative fuel sources

From: elizabeth ann ooms, Feb 3, 2010 04:28 PM

I know the big energy businesses are putting a lot of pressure on you to leave well enough alone, but I urge you to resist this and keep encouraging and educating people that we need to change our energy sources or we will be sorry.

Do something real

From: Stephen Wathen PhD, Feb 3, 2010 04:15 PM

Dear President,

Do something real. You can´t keep talking and hoping things will work out. You need to use some muscle. Give em a bit of "Give em hell Harry" unless you want to go down in history as the jellyfish president.

Open letter to Pres. Obama

From: Sari Steuber, Feb 3, 2010 04:01 PM

Americans need to face up to the truth about fossil fuel depletion, climate crisis, and species extinction. We are at a critical moment in history and most Americans are still "blissfully" unaware. Please make it a priority to shine the light of reality on our unsustainable culture.

Fossil fuels

From: Ronalee Johannsen, Feb 3, 2010 03:50 PM

Our children and grandchildren deserve a healthy and positive future; we must plan now so that a good life will be available to them!!!

Be Brave and Lead

From: Richard Fireman, Feb 3, 2010 03:30 PM

Let's stop supporting false solutions. Conservation, energy efficiency, and renewables need the $ you are foolishly giving the nuclear, biofuels, and dirty coal industry. We could be coal free by 2030 if you were brave and used your rhetorical skills to teach and lead the American public


From: Joseph FitzGerald, Feb 3, 2010 02:46 PM

We must do what is necessary to ensure our grandchildren inherit a habitable world, as we did. We cannot continue our short-sighted, live-for-today, care-less, 'whistling through the graveyard' attitude toward tomorrow.

Post-Carbon World Requires a New Consciousness

From: Robert M. Saper, Feb 3, 2010 02:36 PM

Mr. President, please act as a leader in facilitating a new and sustainable way of supporting communities of place. We need to localize energy and food production while also addressing the links between transportation patterns and CO2 output. These are also major equity issues that have to do with providing access to new and sustainable employment for Americans. Helps us get to a peaceful and sustainable future through visionary leadership.

nuclear power

From: Patricia Hamilton, Feb 3, 2010 02:25 PM

All our efforts for a green economy and a safer world for our future generations is for naught is nuclear waste is not taken care of, just as you promised in your campaign. Why are you choosing to break that promise now?

We need the best minds working on this

From: Keith Akers, Feb 3, 2010 02:15 PM

The republic will not survive this crisis without having the best minds in the country working on these problems. Let's get to work on this. We are ready to help.

endorsement of open letter to Pres. Obama

From: lucas wheeler, Feb 3, 2010 01:58 PM

The "net energy" deficit is clearly a core element, of humanity, having to face the physical "limits to growth". The American people deserve to hear that truth spoken by their commander in chief.


From: Christian Villiom, Feb 3, 2010 01:51 PM

Our current paradigm rests on the assumption, that the earth is an infinite resource and an infinite garbage can. We cannot continue digging up the earth and turning it into garbage. We need planning, constraint and realism. We need to realize the time for extravagance is over and the time for sharing our common resources for the benefit and survival of all, is now!

letter to Obama

From: Marian Weaver, Feb 3, 2010 01:12 PM

One definition of insanity is "Doing the same thing again & again while expecting different results" A sane response to the energy & environmental crises facing us will have its costs, but it will be small compared to pressing on with our current course of madness.

I endorse this letter

From: Chris Martenson, Feb 3, 2010 01:09 PM

The single most important thing we can do right now is to become careful stewards of what energy remains.

I seek a future shaped by design and not disaster.

This letter outlines an important set of steps that lead towards a better future.

Chris Martenson

Open Letter to President Obama

From: Tim Turmelle, Feb 3, 2010 01:07 PM

Unfortunately, focusing on the art of the possible is not going to cut it when our situation will soon be impossible unless we act now. We need your leadership and use of the bully pulpit to get people on board.

Green jobs

From: Sahra Harding, Feb 3, 2010 01:04 PM

Please identify the clean energy and green job plans with more specificity so that the American Citizens can follow up with our full attention.

Tell the people about peak oil now!

From: Robert Blurton, Feb 3, 2010 12:57 PM

Let's get started trying to save the country now while there is still time.

THE way to show leadership

From: Alan Stein, Feb 3, 2010 12:48 PM

Commit to a truly sustainable path for America.

From: Gabe Prindle, Feb 3, 2010 12:46 PM

Be the Change you promised you would....

open letter to pres. Obama

From: Lizette Gilday, Feb 3, 2010 12:32 PM

Please help us move forward !

open letter To President Obama

From: shawn stormann, Feb 3, 2010 12:30 PM

Peak Oil and Climate Change are the two greatest challenges humanity has ever faced as a species. please heed the advice of the Post Carbon Institute. Please start telling the American public the truth. Please use your influence to create real, and lasting change. This can be your legacy.

renewable energy now

From: Bobbie Morgan, Feb 3, 2010 12:23 PM

This is your moment for true leadership, President Obama. Seize the day!

Cap and Trade

From: philip wheeler, Feb 3, 2010 12:21 PM

President Obama -- Do not abandon Cap and Trade legislation and keep your campaign promises.

Our Future Depends on Renewables

From: Karen Summerly, Feb 3, 2010 12:13 PM

Mr. President, your daughters and all future generations depend on us getting off fossil fuels as fast as possible. Please increase your efforts on this! Thank you.

From: Jessica Lundie, Feb 3, 2010 12:01 PM


Hard Truths

From: Margaret Bartenhagen, Feb 3, 2010 12:00 PM

We cannot create a different future if we continue to act as we have in the past. The emphasis on nuclear and "clean" coal is continuing to act as we have for decades. We need an emphasis on truly safe and clean alternatives as we move forward.

We must do this together

From: John Fish, Feb 3, 2010 11:55 AM

I know it's almost inconceivable that the only way of life we've ever known is going to be forced to come to an end, but I'm convinced that it's true. Please join us, President Obama, and help lead this great endeavor.


From: Edward L. Kehoe, Feb 3, 2010 11:41 AM

Time is or has run for addressing the problem of global warming. We need to organize the nation on a wartime footing as was done in WWII.

Cost in BTU's

From: Mark Cheley, Feb 3, 2010 11:38 AM

A rising sea level will flood many areas. We can a large area of farmland from flooding if we dam the Golden Gate ie. Golden gate and golden locks. If we don't have the "BTU's" to do this, how will we do this? 2500 sq.mi. is a lot of farmland.

face hard truths

From: David Ward, Feb 3, 2010 11:38 AM

Time is running out and there will be no second chance. Please do what you know is pono.

Renewable Energy

From: Bill Jacobson, Feb 3, 2010 11:30 AM

We are on a joy ride burning in a geological instant millions of years of sun energy stored as carbon. It cannot continue. Let's change now.

No carbon is the way to go

From: Jenny Kimmel , Feb 3, 2010 11:27 AM

We must make this change - foremost for survival, but duly for our health as society, a people, a world.

From: Betsy Shafer, Feb 3, 2010 11:24 AM

Let us transform from old ways of approaching problems and actually solve the problems at hand wisely and sustainably. It is without a doubt we are dependent on natural resources, but let us create new methods through appropriate technology so we may co-exist with our surroundings rather then the old fashion model of exploitation of resources. Every day we choose how to live, why not develop a conscious lifestyle?

re: heading over a cliff

From: Nick Parsons, Feb 3, 2010 11:17 AM

I believe this letter does not go far enough. For the sake of our climate as well as for our energy security, a total mobilization is necessary. We need to transform our energy infrastructure towards renewable energy, and we need to anticipate and manage the inevitable transition to a low-carbon future. Time is running out if it hasn't already.

America led the world...

From: William Josey, Feb 3, 2010 11:09 AM

... in the 20th, partly due to having so much good oil. Time to show leadership for the 21st!

post carbon agenda

From: Rich Peters, Feb 3, 2010 11:00 AM

time is of the essence

serious action now!

From: C Robb Worthington, Feb 3, 2010 10:56 AM

Time's a wasting, we need a green economy yesterday! Please help the country face the realities of the carbon twins, peak oil and climate change. Denial is for the deluded.

Positive change is our only hope

From: Larry McClung, Feb 3, 2010 10:56 AM

Mr. Obama, instead of pouring trillions more into nuclear weapons and a bloated military budget, it is time for you to show real leadership by funding high speed electric trains and electric cars.

fossil fuels/global climate change

From: Annette Klapstein, Feb 3, 2010 10:54 AM

We MUST drastically reduce our use of fossil fuels IMMEDIATELY, or we run the risk of causing the literal extermination of the human race. If there are any survivors of the climate holocaust, they may feel that the dead are the lucky ones, because they will be living in something closely resembling hell. This is your great-grandchildren and mine we're taking about - and even our children are certain to suffer immensely during their lifetimes.

Post Carbon greening

From: Sheila Curren, Feb 3, 2010 10:30 AM

Dear President Obama:
I believe that this proposal offers the best options with which to pursue survival and greening of the planet.

From: David Meldrum, Feb 3, 2010 10:30 AM

It's way past time we stop playing and paying for being the global cop on the beat and instead take the leading role in the renewable energy sector before China does.

Letter to President Obama

From: gerald Anderson, Feb 3, 2010 10:29 AM

We are falling -peak energy -peak
resources -peak money.The later is a indicator of the life style adjustment we need to make. Please help us.

All Our Challenges Are Linked

From: Ebo Thorbas, Feb 3, 2010 10:25 AM

Our nation is ready for the system-wide changes that can make it possible to address all our challenges collectively.

That brave act is all we can be served by if we are to break out of our self-destruction.

Please serve all your people.

clean, sustainable energy sources

From: Nancy Bryant, Feb 3, 2010 10:22 AM

We regard you as someone who is looking into the future and who could make or influence significant decisions that would enhance the health and wellbeing of the entire planet. We are behind you.

Peak oil

From: Stig Antonsen, Feb 3, 2010 10:16 AM

Peak oil is THE defining moment for humankind in the 21 century. Just as the 1&2 WW was in the 20th.

From: Denise Dunn, Feb 3, 2010 10:04 AM

If the US starts NOW on an energy descent plan then there will be hope for our children. It is essential that we change behaviours in the developed world. Please resist the naysayers and the business as usual crowd, Mr Obama, and stand up for the common good.

our future

From: A Finneran, Feb 3, 2010 10:00 AM

depends on wise and hard decisions

transition to a sustainable life

From: Lu Gamble, Feb 3, 2010 09:55 AM

The above letter does not go far enough in telling the truth. There is plenty of evidence that the lifestyles of peoples in developed countries must downscale tremendously; and that the future for peoples in the developing world will not ever be able to arrive at where we in America are now. This truth has only been voiced by a very few on the leading edge, but the sooner we can face the realities, the more chance we have as a species to survive and even thrive.

carbon reduction and clean energy economy

From: chuck, Feb 3, 2010 09:54 AM

We need to be agressive about carbon reduction and leading the clean energy economy if we want to be a strong country long into the future. As an American, it is important to make the hard decisions and do the right thing.

support for the obama administration and the federal government's role in transitioning us past fossil fuels

From: Michael George, Feb 3, 2010 09:37 AM

We cannot make this transition without a strong framework in place from the federal government. The markets, and even state governments, suffer from a gross lack of information, the commons problem, and the failure to account for externalities and geopolitical consequences of fossil fuel dependence.

In sum, the public is too ignorant to deal with this problem. The media is hopelessly incapable of informing the public.

We need a paternalistic guide to get us where we need to be!!!

Our children

From: Charles D. Seaman, Feb 3, 2010 09:37 AM

We must deal with the issues surrounding our use of fossil fuels in order to lave a viable world to those who come after us.

The only TRUE future is a clean future

From: John Cutler, Feb 3, 2010 09:37 AM

If we don't clean up the environment and turn to clean energy, all the other things (e.g., healthcare) will become irrelevant.

Need to lead nation on energy

From: Judith Haran, Feb 3, 2010 09:27 AM

Please prioritize this critical issue and provide leadership on ramping up renewable energy in 2010!

build a green economy

From: Margie Haley, Feb 3, 2010 09:27 AM

There is no time for delay.

energy policy

From: joann Kerr, Feb 3, 2010 09:24 AM

Deal with resource depletion now and strongly promote conservation by all americans otherwise no renewable sources will be enough for our energy uses. We cannot keep using coal and oil to the detriment of the Earth while we work on the technology, unless we use it less not more drilling, more destroying VA to get to coal, more radioactive waste, etc. Send out non-partisan messengers to tell Americans the truth, not the truth as a politician knows it but the truth as supported by facts.

Hawaiian Isles

From: Micah Miller, Feb 3, 2010 09:16 AM

Please help the State use gassification of biomass for creating electricity instead of using coal and oil.

Educate the Public

From: Susan Shamel, Feb 3, 2010 08:47 AM

The American citizenry is misinformed and underinformed about the seriousness of this issue due to a huge moneyed lobbyist campaign by the fossil fuel giants. To truly have a democracy, we need an informed public, which is sorely missing. We need you to be a leader and inform the American people of the truth on this issue, through speeches, ads, and mailings. Thanks you.

Elininating CO2

From: Joseph Daleiden, Feb 3, 2010 08:20 AM

By far the most effective way of reducing carbon emissions is to announce a steady annual increase in carbon tax at the retail level, e.g., an increasing tax on gasoline up to $6 a gallon over the next decade as well as a increasing tax on emissions from power plants

hard truths

From: Carolyn McCreary, Feb 3, 2010 08:16 AM

We must do this together.

Our Post-Carbon Future

From: Michael Babitch, Feb 3, 2010 08:11 AM

There is no more serious issue facing us than this one, along with global warming! The people of this country MUST be engaged via the "Bully Pulpit". There is no other way to overcome the now ridiculous odds that the special interests have in their favor!

Life Worth Living

From: Kevin Field, Feb 3, 2010 08:07 AM

Dear Mr. President,

We can not build a future worth living on the environmentally destructive values of acquisition and consumption. Our economy needs to be re-engineered to value conservation and sustainability. Renewable, non-polluting energy sources need the full force of federal support - tax incentives, research funding, regulatory cooperation, etc. It is time to speak, and act, Truth around this devastating situation. Pollution and environmental degradation need to be accounted for in the production and consumption of energy.


Kevin Field
carpenter/cabinetmaker in Chicago, IL

From: Gwenn Cody-Wald, Feb 3, 2010 08:06 AM

I support you in all your efforts to bring long-needed change!!! Please continue to steer towards long-term planetary stability.

The future of mankind.

From: Sara Vallo, Feb 3, 2010 08:02 AM

Dear Mr. President:
It is time to tell it like it is. As Thomas Friedman says in his book, Hot, Flat, and Crowded, "How we respond now will decide the future of human civilization. We are the people we've been waiting for. There is no one else. There is no other time. It's us and it is now." Please don't wait to initiate the necessary changes. The longer we wait, the harder it will be to save this planet.

3 things (there are more...!)

From: Dr Mandy Meikle, Feb 3, 2010 08:00 AM

We have a choice - prepare now for a hydrocarbon-constrained future or deal with the shock of having it imposed by nature.

#1 - reduce energy demand (including waste) and renewables become capable of supplying our needs (as opposed to our wants!)

#2 - have every alternative energy scheme looked at with respect to its 'net energy' - the amount of energy produced by a process has to be considered in light of how much energy went IN to that process. Nuclear, clean coal & biofuels all fail this test.

#3 - be honest. People have to understand that in the future we will not have access to cheap energy. We need to gear up for this now, regardless of how impossible it might seem. What's your catch phrase - yes we can?

Alternative Energy needs

From: Jack Markuszka, Feb 3, 2010 07:57 AM

it is time to get of the OIL Drum

the face of reality

From: stephen miller, Feb 3, 2010 07:53 AM

Mr. President:
I commend and support the effort of the PCI to publicly bring the hard facts of the impending crisis to your attention.

The face of the present reality as I see it is this:

If this nation and the world curtails energy consumption by at least 90% and--

If commensurate cuts are made in CO2
emissions and efforts are made to
increase sequestration in the biosphere and--

if a commitment is made to create
a zero growth economy such as outlined by economist Herman Daly

if an effort is made by all nations to
gradually reduce human populations
to a level consistent with the carrying capacity of a post-carbon

Then there is a chance 50 years hence of still finding a recognizable human civilization and a functional nation state.

It will be painful and difficult to
accomplish this and will
require a sacrifice of much that we now take for granted. But to not make the effort will ensure a level
of human suffering in years to come
far beyond any historic precedent.

This work should have begun half a century ago. Now, well past the eleventh hour there is no time to lose!

Mr President I voted for you because I believed you have the moral courage and intelligence to
deal with the crisis we are facing.
If you and other world leaders continue,
as you did in Copenhagen, to look the other way you will have violated the trust of your office at what is likely the most critical turning point in human history.

The gravity of this crises transcends all political calculus.
I implore you now to stand before the nation and the world and and set the example for leadership. You will have our unwavering support.

Thank you


From: Larry Kelland, Feb 3, 2010 07:43 AM

I read the letter and find that it is perfectly reasonable, and I have studied this issue for years.

America's Future

From: Faron Akins, Feb 3, 2010 07:38 AM

It is imperative, to the generations that follow in our footsteps, that we continue to push forward with technologies that can provide cleaner and more efficient ways to provide for our energy demands.

RE: Obama Energy Proposal

From: Charles Nelson, Jr., Feb 3, 2010 07:35 AM

If we do not explore for our own means of energy, someone else will. I recently sent a letter to each one of the Congressional and Senate members last year of 2009. The letter emphasized our need as the USA as a whole needs to comtinue searching for oil/gas while other industries are moving ahead; hence, other energy substitutes. With the Bush administration, we would not be penalized for drilling dry holes but rather could write some of the dusters (dry holes) off for tax purposes. You see, on avg., there is a producer (upon payout) for every four to five holes drilled. This number may also vary with each oil/gas company. What we need is to educate our members and the American public that we need to have this support for our industry.

China is moving all around the wolrd in search of oil for the moment and is exploring rapidly in areas just off of Cuba, Africa, South America and has recently purchased large amounts of future reserves from Venezuela due to expire in 2012. What is the USA thinking? Bottom line: we need to make things happen and continue to explore and have supporters on our side. Please advise.


From: Carl Gutman, Feb 3, 2010 07:34 AM

Tipping Points are not holding while we dither and act modestly. Climate change calls for incisive and bold action NOW!

Real Solutions to Real Energy Issues

From: Jean Kroll, Feb 3, 2010 07:27 AM

We live in a world of finite resources; but our global economy is currently based on ever-expanding economic growth. This is unsustainable and leadership MUST come from the top.

From: Lisa R. Simpson, Feb 3, 2010 07:19 AM

Please, Mr. Obama, read this letter and commit to finally put the environment and the future of this earth and humankind in the forefront of the political agenda.

Real Change

From: Donna Wellman, Feb 3, 2010 07:11 AM

I endorse this call to action to President Obama.

Face the truth about Economic Growth

From: Christine Patton, Feb 3, 2010 07:09 AM

Please find the courage to face the truth, and tell the truth to the American people. Infinite economic growth is not possible, and by pursuing this fantasy, we are wasting precious time, resources, and finances. Please pursue an agenda of sustainability and equality for all.

Post Carbon Institute's letter of 2/1/10

From: sally s. thompson, Feb 3, 2010 07:05 AM

I endorse the content of that letter & hope you will take a leadership role.

We all need to face the truth and reality

From: James Wurster, Feb 3, 2010 06:58 AM

We are all in this together.


From: Larry Gaylord, Feb 3, 2010 06:51 AM

Time is running out.

Busines as Usual Cannot Continue

From: Ralph Itzo, Feb 3, 2010 06:44 AM

The present capitalist economic model is about to go off a cliff; your message is the most important one of our time. Immediate action is clearly necessary.

I support the Post Carbon Institute's Open Letter to President Obama

From: Perry Phillips, Feb 3, 2010 06:42 AM

The Post Carbon Institute has laid out the essential problems of the looming net-energy gap. I would add that PCI's goals would not only enhance local communities by fostering job growth and energy conservation, but would help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The US must take responsibility and avert disaster. To not do so is a question a legal liability given what is now known.

Perry Phillips

Lead the way

From: nancy williamson, Feb 3, 2010 06:40 AM

Renewable Energy, for our children's future

For the Children

From: Mary Esposito, Feb 3, 2010 06:39 AM

This is important for your children, Mr. President, and for my children and grandchildren. Please do the right thing.

State of Union address

From: Louis Cox, Feb 3, 2010 06:39 AM

Please broaden the base of the advisors you have been consulting. We have to begin preparing now for the post-carbon world that lies just ahead.


From: James E Close, Feb 3, 2010 06:33 AM

Well said. The President needs to start using the words, "Peak Oil", and use them frequently. We're heading towards a brick wall at full speed, and the driver is completely oblivious to what is about to happen.

Facing Reality

From: Pam Jones, Feb 3, 2010 06:31 AM

Mr. President,
The country needs a great leader right now. Please consider this letter carefully.
Pam Jones

Clean Technology

From: Nina Ahmed, Feb 3, 2010 06:28 AM

We trust you, president Obama, and counting that you will make a history by leading the world in this direction of green technology. We will suport your action. Good luck!

Give us a future

From: Dr David Bygott, Feb 3, 2010 06:27 AM

You've already made history. Now help ensure that our kids have a future!

"clean coal" and nukes are not the answer

From: Dina Samfield, Feb 3, 2010 06:24 AM

“Clean coal” methods only move pollutants from one waste stream to another, and all the steps in the complex process of creating nuclear energy entail environmental hazards.

Please support REAL reforms that curtail climate change AND help protect the planet and its inhabitants. In that, I will support you 100%.

nonrenewable resources

From: marion yaglinski, Feb 3, 2010 06:23 AM

PLEASE tell the American people that we need to make an all out effort to reduce our dependency on oil and other non-renewable resources. We need leadership on this issue.

Open letter ot Obama

From: Steve Moring, Feb 3, 2010 06:14 AM

This warning of the Long Emergency needs to come from the top.

Thanks for initiating this letter.

Peak Oil/Energy Descent Plan

From: Karen H. Loughmiller, Feb 3, 2010 06:00 AM

I fully endorse the call to action in the letter above. Please make formulation and support of energy descent plans that will enable us to transition from oil to green power sources an immediate priority. Time is of the essence.


Karen Loughmiller

Support of Improving our Environment

From: George Eddey, Feb 3, 2010 05:43 AM

Do what ever is possible as soon as possible to improve our world's environment.

George and Janice Eddey

Yes We Can

From: Shane Chase, Feb 3, 2010 05:43 AM

Or so I've been told...

Climate Change/Peak Oil/Climate Justice

From: David Gibson, Feb 3, 2010 05:12 AM

Globally the most vulnerable people are suffering and dieing from changes in the extreme weather patterns apparently caused by our response to current economic needs of the richest nations. Europe and the USA should be leading the free world in facing our future in a low carbon world. The Republic of the USA was founded 3 years before the French Revolution started the collapse of the old order in Europe. Don't follow the catch-cries of the clowns "we're OK, let them get jobs", as the USA sinks into irrelevance.
Seize the moment,
Dave Gibson

Open Letter to the President

From: Gregory Greene, Feb 3, 2010 04:56 AM

The President and many of his officials and White House staffers know that what Post Carbon is stating in this open letter is true. It will take tremendous political courage to begin seriously acting on this knowledge, but perhaos the key to success lies in proving the tremendous opportunities in the Green Economy by CREATING GOOD JOBS, and lots of them. When faced with similiar paradigm shifts in the past, it has always been jobs that have brought the pubic on board. And we, the public, need to develop new ways of selling this shift. Moralizing and tut tutting the SUV drivers will never achieve this. Think Jon Stewart or Steven Colbert - humour and irony are some of the best tools available to us.

Letter to President Obama

From: Gail Jonas, Feb 3, 2010 04:52 AM

I support the Post Carbon Institute's position in the letter to President Obama.

fossil fuel depletion

From: David Plimpton, Feb 3, 2010 04:45 AM

Please bring our money home to work on a sustainable food and transportation system without reliance on fossil fuels. Stop chasing illusory, house of cards god of growth.

Face it

From: Ochieng' Ogodo, Feb 3, 2010 04:35 AM

Mr. President we know you are capable of facing hard situations and coming up with workable answers, you have done that in the past. Please make the US move towards global efforts in curbing climate change. Lead the country into making needed adjustments as part of global move to reduce Green House Grass emissions.

Income not debt.

From: Aubrey Enoch, Feb 3, 2010 04:32 AM

Dear Mr. President,
Sunshine is the only income we've got. Debt is slavery. Our nation will recover from the present crisis in direct proportion to the number of citizens we have working the land to collect our solar income. As a small farmer USDA and FDA are the terrorist in my life, not al Quieda. You can stop the monster that consumes our children's future. Be brave. To whom much is given, much shall be required. Trust Mrs. Obama. Thank you for your efforts.

Lead the world with action

From: Ramesh N, Feb 3, 2010 04:31 AM

Lead the world with action

Sympathetic but unconvinced

From: Jane Johnson, Feb 3, 2010 04:09 AM

I understand the difficulties we face in attempting to achieve voluntary cutbacks at a level that will make any difference, but difficulty has never been an excuse for failure.

Car-Free Lifestyle Options Should Be A Right

From: Rick Fellows, Feb 3, 2010 03:47 AM

Conservation is the real elephant in the living room of energy. The countless ways we misuse energy amount to an enormous potential savings. Local co-generation district heating systems could jump efficiencies from 25% to 85%.

Endorsement of Letter to Pres. Obama

From: Lionel Orford, Feb 3, 2010 03:41 AM

Well done PCI. I endorse this open letter unreservedly.

Our future

From: Sylvain Monperrus, Feb 3, 2010 03:40 AM

Mr. President,
Politicians are the decision makers! Please consider our future and the one of coming generations.

Sylvain, France

urgent need to fullfill election promises

From: ginger gordy, Feb 3, 2010 03:38 AM

dear barack,

i was one of many who voted for you because your words made (long overdue from a presidential candidate) sense. we have great hope that you intend to honor your promises.

but time is running out. it is too dangerous to allow obstructive denialists to hijack the future.

we need major action now!

the public is behind you. please remove the barriers now to allow us to turn america around.

thank you. be a hero!

From: Charmian Larke , Feb 3, 2010 03:32 AM

PLease help lead th world towards a healtheir future


From: Carolyn H., Feb 3, 2010 03:25 AM

Figuring out how to help the human race adjust to the coming energy challenges should be a priority. Think about your children and future grand-children.

educate and innovate, or perish

From: Lauren Barton, Feb 3, 2010 02:56 AM

Dear Mr. President,
Please help our country begin to make the needed adjustments. Time is growing short to educate the public and foster the innovations in lifestyle that will be needed for humanity to survive (let alone thrive). Our children and grandchildren are counting on us....

Thank you

From: Jenny Ernst, Feb 3, 2010 01:56 AM

Mr. President, we are so grateful for your strong leadership and integrity.
Thank you.

Do it for the good of everyone

From: Adrian, Feb 3, 2010 01:46 AM

You must lead the World to confront these difficult issues because only by telling the truth can we move forward. In a decades time people will ask why you and we did not act. So act now and be thanked for it. Most people want to be led. I think many people are now realizing that our lives are unsustainable, but they need to be helped to understand it and given the justification for change. Good leadership can do this.

Renewable future

From: David Evans, Feb 3, 2010 01:27 AM

It's no longer a viable option to base a sustainable future on the concept of continued economic growth. We must use our remaining fossil fuel resources to create the infrastructure for a future based on a combination of renewable energies and greatly reduced consumption. It'll be a better world than the one we live in now.

Growth bad!

From: Chris Waurzyniak, Feb 3, 2010 01:13 AM

Every time I hear the word "growth" lately, I cringe. Over the last thrity years, rapacious growth has not only resulted in economic bubble after bubble (because we're not actually creating anything new, just getting more people to spend money they don't have on crap they don't need), but has put every one of our natural resources at risk, from the oceans to the climate. Maybe instead of being "beyond race" or "beyond partisanship" we need to find a new paradigm that is beyond growth.

Power Down

From: pete, Feb 3, 2010 12:54 AM

Unlike Copenhagen, peak oil is not negotiable. Let's pass a law that humans can't have any kids until the population is a few thousand hunter gatherers.

peak everything

From: jan peter eklund, Feb 3, 2010 12:28 AM

Mr President, I urge you to take seriously the inevitable peaking of non-renewable resources. It is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity to speak the truth to the U.S. and World population. I believe the people of the world can handle the truth.

best regards,

jan peter eklund
seattle, WA

planning the future

From: vicky moller, Feb 3, 2010 12:26 AM

Great points by Carbon Institute, I agree and live low carbon along with my rural neighbours in Wales, UK, the benefits socially dwarf the economic and environmental gains, important though these are.
All my sympathy for your job.

America step forward

From: nils Tiberg, Feb 3, 2010 12:03 AM

Historically the US has been a leading country.
Now is the tiime for the US to move from far back to the front in creating an innovative non-fossil world.


From: Mark Downing, Feb 2, 2010 11:52 PM

Please take bold action now, when it may not yet be too late.


From: Adam Ertur, Feb 2, 2010 11:48 PM

Elegantly written, simply worded, and focused on truly vital issues. Take heed.

Please deliver the change you promised

From: Jacqueline Swan, Feb 2, 2010 11:45 PM

If you are truly committed to serving America and its people-- and NOT just the special interests who profit from the exploitation of the earth's resources-- you will lead our transition to a truly green and sustainable economy focused on renewable energy, reduced consumption, and quality of life rather than maximization of wealth for the few. We are depending on you to do the right thing!

Endorsing open letter to president Obama

From: Olof Stroh, Feb 2, 2010 11:27 PM

I heartily endorse. The impact of the USA is such that its action is necessary to lead the way.

Climate Change

From: Paul Raether MD, Feb 2, 2010 10:55 PM

As stated above, the nuclear option is not the answer. I was disappointed that you referenced this in the address.

My plea

From: Clyde Alan Locklear, Feb 2, 2010 10:51 PM

Mr. President,
I worked hard for your election because I expected you to use your great intellect and honesty to lead the American people. It's time for you exercise that intellect and leadership.

Small is Beautiful, Less is Better

From: BC Macdonald, Feb 2, 2010 10:47 PM

Using less energy and stuff is mandatory to demonstrate our commitment to humanity - and it dramatically increases the quality of life. Greed is Gross

Coal and Pebble Bed Reactors

From: Sharon kulz, Feb 2, 2010 10:40 PM

Skip bombing mountaintops for coal and shoveling the residue downstream into drinking water.

If you must go nuclear, seriously consider the very successful, scalable, meltdown-safe pebble bed reactors, using graphite, helium and significantly smaller amounts of uranium.

Peak Oil

From: Robert Marshall, Feb 2, 2010 10:31 PM

The analysis is done.
It's unambiguous.
If you don't act now,
we are done too.

forging a new course thru energy decent

From: Jennifer York, Feb 2, 2010 10:31 PM

As the mother of an 8 year old girl, I plead with you to take this seriously. "Business as usual" will not provide her with a future worth living. We need a true leader to rally the American people toward far less consumption. We need to focus our attention on the quality of life and to support local economies, rather than longing for endless economic growth.
Our current way of life is destroying our planet's climate equilibrium and driving us toward the 6th great extinction event in earths history. We need to invest in small scale diversified and distributed renewable energy, and we need investment in small scale sustainable agriculture. In my opinion, we also need to invest heavily in quality education so that our people can intelligently lead the way to a sustainable future.

In hope that your love for your daughters, like my love for my own, will motivate you to step out of the middle of the road, and lead us toward a future worth inheriting.


Jennifer York

Change, and more Change

From: Winston, Feb 2, 2010 10:23 PM

Mr.President,change is needed. If
not, we will all disappear from this Paradise.

Lead the Way

From: Tempestt Shansky, Feb 2, 2010 10:17 PM

We all need to stop and think about our actions as a whole nation, then use smart, sustainable decisions to make long-term progress. Change can happen!

From: jill rothberg, Feb 2, 2010 10:04 PM


Climate Change. Act Now.

From: Mardi Veiluva, Feb 2, 2010 09:59 PM

We have between 20 to 40 yrs to act, literally one generation to reduce reliance on fossil fuel and transition to sustainable, renewal resources. Act Now, ask me how.
Mardi Veiluva

Open Letter to the President

From: Bill Albin, Feb 2, 2010 09:56 PM

There are times for compromise, though by in large this is not one of those times; We, the People Will back you when you do the conscientiously valid bidding so long over due.

Renewable Energy

From: Mary Vought, Feb 2, 2010 09:49 PM

Your speech was great except for the part about making "tough choices such as off shore drilling, nuclear power and clean coal." How about making tough choices by cutting gov't subsidies to oil companies? Nuclear power is not green and clean coal is not clean. Reduce consumption and support renewable energy. Please hang in there and do the right thing.

We support President Obama 100%

From: judy kenny, Feb 2, 2010 09:47 PM

We three Kenny family (Gary Judy Becky) voted for you and will do so again..100% with you..Do follow up on saving this planet as PCI has led the way for many years. Many blessings, Judy, Gary, Becky Californians for Obama

renewable energy

From: meave o'connor, Feb 2, 2010 09:46 PM

Mr. President,
Please, no clean coal because there is no such thing, or nuclear energy, which is very dangerous. We need to invest in renewable energy, wind and solar, especially. Please use wisdom in your decisions around this issue.

green peace

From: Philip Kienholz, Feb 2, 2010 09:43 PM

Reducing fossil fuel dependence is essential--a highly advantageous effect will be a reduced need for foreign military involvement. Peace is a necessary condition for social happiness; endless war is the proposal of psychopathic fools.

Open Letter to the President

From: Roi Maufas, Feb 2, 2010 09:40 PM

There are no silver bullets for this crisis.It's going to take all of us, and everything we've got.Count Gorilla Design in!

Let's move on this.

From: Ray Laws, Feb 2, 2010 09:37 PM

Yes we can, yes we must. There's no other sane choice.

Conserve, conserve, conserve

From: Janice M. Rose, Feb 2, 2010 09:37 PM

We can ALL lower over 25% of our energy usage without any pain. Factories and businesses can conserve also, but NONE of this will help if we do NOT stop burning coal (clean or otherwise).

Environment and energy

From: Maureen McCarter, Feb 2, 2010 09:34 PM

Please consider the long-term benefits of getting the US off of carbon. We can't emit more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere without radically changing this planet.


From: Robert Merrill, Feb 2, 2010 09:29 PM

Mr. President you vowed change and here is the change we endorse!

endorsement of letter to President Obama

From: Sophia MacRae, Feb 2, 2010 09:28 PM

I hope Mr Obama personally reads this letter and takes action.

Common Sense

From: Robert Hall, Feb 2, 2010 09:16 PM

Let's all work together.

Conserve energy & clean energy

From: Starling Faraon, Feb 2, 2010 09:13 PM

Continued growth is not a reality.Sustainability might be.


From: JesseWilliams, Feb 2, 2010 09:11 PM


Survival Path

From: Conrad OHO, Feb 2, 2010 09:08 PM

Our global survival depends on following a path defined by PCI and other climate scientists such as James Hansen of NASA. The present corporatocracy, of which you are a clever mouthpiece, is leading us all to tragic extinction through misplaced priorities. You can help us all change this to a more survivable eternal now.

this open letter to President Obama

From: Richard Power, Feb 2, 2010 09:05 PM

The sustainability crisis the human race faces eclipses the economic security crisis, and the national security crisis; indeed, it is the overarching crisis that frames the whole century that stretches us before. The fate of the planet and of our species is at stake. NOTHING is more important than going TRULY and RADICALLY green on energy. Meet this challenge and the challenges of poverty and violence will be well on the way to being resolved as well. There is no time to wait. The sands in the hourglass are almost finished falling to the bottom.
Please act with boldness, please speak with boldness.

wholehearted endorsement

From: jamws caswell-davis, Feb 2, 2010 09:03 PM

I keep thinking we're dinosaurs struggling for oxygen!
Will any strategy keep us from extinction?
Isn't it time to get really serious and break from the conventional political parameters. If really serious you must enact politically unpopular measures--forget about being re-elected; the future will award a very favorable judgement.

A leader steps forth

From: Janaia Donaldson, Feb 2, 2010 09:01 PM

At rare moments in human history, a leader emerges with the courage to change the story and the direction his/her culture is pursuing - to higher ends.

We are at a moment when such a leader is needed - globally. A leader who looks at the big picture and the long term, and recognizes the impossibility of continuing on the suicidal path of infinite growth economies on a finite planet. A leader to tell the hard truths and set a new course, inspiring courage and creativity to meet the challenges.

Will you be such a leader, one whose leadership extends beyond political and even national concerns, to the fate of human species and higher life on the planet?

Janaia Donaldson, host and producer, Peak Moment Television

A Presidential Predicament

From: Roy Smith, Feb 2, 2010 09:00 PM

Dear Sir,
You face an impossible situation, Mr President. To do what is best for this nation and future generations you must act against current political interests. Indeed you must go against current economic interests. To do right you must restrict large banks, curtail or eliminate corporate influence on government, take pharma and insurance profits out of health care, drastically reduce carbon fuel usage, and reduce overall resource 'throughput' in the economy.
This means a one term presidency, as well as a backlash against the dominant party.
Do right anyway. Act courageously for all of us, I beg you. We may not get another chance with someone like you in power, and the hour is getting late.
Better the legacy of a wise Jimmy Carter then the popular love of Ronald Reagon.

- Roy Smith

Letter to President Obama

From: Kate Wolf, Feb 2, 2010 08:59 PM

Dear President Obama: I agree with the Post Carbon Institute that we must replace fossil fuels with renewable energy. I have cut my travel in half and installed solar.

Hear here!

From: Peter Buckland, Feb 2, 2010 08:58 PM

The executive, legislative, and judicial branches are supporting an unsustainable system Mr. President. We know you know it. You know that we know it. Make it stop. Please help us stop being the hypocrites we don't want to be so that we can really stand for "freedom and human dignity."

From: Jennifer Gray, Feb 2, 2010 08:54 PM

You have the power to lead our transition to a more just, sacred and sustainable world. Together, with your leadership, we can build resilience back into our communities. The time to act is now. You are the one we've been waiting for.

Let's save energy

From: Adam Lentz, Feb 2, 2010 08:43 PM

The low hanging fruits are plentiful and I will bet 10 energy saving lightbulbs that the US can cut GHG-emissions by 4 percent from 1990 level (the same as the 17 percent pledge made in the Copenhagen Accord (2005 level)) before easter if we want to. That even without hurting the economy or reducing our quality of life. After that we have to do the same before 4th of July and again before thanksgiving - Yes we can!

please lead us into a sustainable future

From: Kristina Bennett, Feb 2, 2010 08:43 PM

Thank you for considering the points in this letter. It is time to face reality, before it's too late. Limitless growth is just not feasible and conservation and a dramatic shift in energy resources is vital to our health and our survival.

Kristina Bennett

Transition to carbon constrained world

From: Iain Dunlop, Feb 2, 2010 08:42 PM

Without implementation of the brave steps outlined in this letter by all our leaders it is almost certain we will pass our children a planet without hope. Go President Obama!

Change, indeed.

From: Nathan Ballentine, Feb 2, 2010 08:40 PM

In Jim Collin's book, Good to Great, he writes that one of the things that set companies apart was their ability to "face the hard facts" of their situation without losing their vision and aspiration to be the best companies they could be. This is also true of countries and leaders. One of the hard facts facing us is that geologically, our energy prospects are constrained in future decades. It's time we accounted for this in our planning, strategy and methodology for creating the best situation for our children and their children.

America needs Leadership in Oil Matters

From: Howard Weaver, Feb 2, 2010 08:31 PM

Please listen, Mr. President, and be a true leader now, when America MUST MAKE CHANGES TO SURVIVE!!

Please - consider this vital "real world" perspective, and ACT.

From: William J Marston LEED AP, Feb 2, 2010 08:25 PM

Dear President Obama
Hard as it is to do your job, I must ask you to consider still more "Hard Truths".
I only request this, Mr. President, because of your character and capabilities. THIS is an all-inclusive policy path for you to lead and for the world to follow. And there are lots of people with expertise, even to help you frame this to the public and the congress.
Let’s get going!

clean energy

From: cathy holt, Feb 2, 2010 08:24 PM

Please do not encourage further development of nuclear, coal, or offshore oil. We cannot afford the environmental costs of these. There is no "clean coal," it comes at the cost of mountain tops being dynamited off, rubble filling creeks, landslides killing families, toxic sludge stored in ponds waiting to break. Nuclear power is financially unfeasible and presents a radioactive waste problem for future generations; and uranium is a limited resource. Check the figures: investment in energy efficiency, wind, solar, geothermal and biogas all represent MORE JOBS than coal or nuclear, plus MUCH cleaner air and lower carbon.

Speak Truth

From: Gary Griffith, Feb 2, 2010 08:20 PM

There is no other way, Mr. President. The powerful interests that stand in the way of change thrive on the propagation of easy falsehoods that comfort us or coerce us through fear into a path that enriches the few but impoverishes the many and is wholly unsustainable. Only the hard truth of our situation will do.

We need a clear-headed vision grounded in reality

From: Rich Blegen, Feb 2, 2010 08:17 PM

And the ideas brought up in this letter and researched in-depth by PCI provide exactly that.

Tough choices, enlightened leadership

From: Steve Kane, Feb 2, 2010 08:07 PM

Mr. President -

Please consider the thoughts in this letter. Our children are counting on you to make the right decision.

Help keep the carbon in the ground!

From: Thomas Shelley, Feb 2, 2010 07:53 PM

I support the attached letter from the Post Carbon Institute. We MUST find ways to move away from fossil fuels if we are to have any future as a global society. Thanks for listening.

Need to face energy reality

From: JACK LATTEMANN, Feb 2, 2010 07:48 PM

I heartily support the comments by the Post Carbon Institute that we realistically need to adapt to a different energy future.

support renewable energy

From: Roland Saher, Feb 2, 2010 07:40 PM

I strongly endorse the letter and hope that you will lead the nation in this direction. Roland Saher

From: Bryn Richard, Feb 2, 2010 07:35 PM

We must move towards a truly sustainable future. Unlimited growth is a dangerous myth.

Our Energy Future

From: William Solomon, Feb 2, 2010 07:35 PM

We must prepare for a forced shrinking economy ahead of time by *~planning~* a contraction to free up resources to address the new infrastructure we will need to replace existing energy sources.

We can handle it.

From: Liz McLellan -, Feb 2, 2010 07:29 PM

Tell the people the truth, because we need to start the tough work of building a future we can live in.

Don't get rolled by the neoliberal Republicans and Democrats

From: janet, Feb 2, 2010 07:26 PM

I'm sure it must be nearly impossible to much independent research while serving as President of the United States. However, those who have done extensive research into clean energy technology, and who have little to gain monetarily from the solutions they have suggested, have determined that neither clean coal technology nor nuclear power solutions are actually "clean".

We already have all the energy sources we need to generate enough power for the country in the form of wind, solar and geothermal resources. These are, and ever will be, infinite energy sources. No need to worry about peaks and declines.

Those who push for coal and nuclear power are selfish, hedonistic opportunists who want these technologies because they will profit handsomely from their development. They let their greed cloud their moral judgment over the destruction that humankind will be forced to deal with due to their insanity.

Please be the President THE PEOPLE elected you to be. Do not throw us under the bus.

From: Sarah Low, Feb 2, 2010 07:26 PM

Our hope for a better world lies in your hands. For my children and yours, please lead us into change.

From: Estelle Voeller, Feb 2, 2010 07:22 PM

I fully support PCI's recommendations.

Act from the heart

From: Jeff Dean, Feb 2, 2010 07:21 PM

Not pressure from big business's pocket books.

The thinking cap works on electricity

From: Eric Sootin, Feb 2, 2010 07:19 PM

Let us think of our country as lean on energy and strong on thinking caps dealing with a world with less oil. And let us think locally and regionally to work as friends and neighbors on this common and very important project.

Global Warming and Peak oil

From: Garrett Sullian, Feb 2, 2010 07:16 PM

these two issues are the most important and threatening in history. Please take it seriously.


From: derick bingman, Feb 2, 2010 07:13 PM

-politicians- only care about reelections...

tell the truth

From: derick bingman, Feb 2, 2010 07:10 PM

the world needs [truthful] leaders, not status quo polititians...

Need national mobilization on scale of WWII

From: Norma Fox, Feb 2, 2010 07:10 PM

Mr. President, the immanent and horrendous tragedies we face from the effects of climate change, peak oil, and economic meltdown require an immediate, dramatic and comprehensive national mobilization on the scale of the U.S. mobilization at our entry into WWII. This kind of national mobilization requires a visionary leader with the communication skills necessary to inspire the population to come together as one nation and whole heartedly support it in a sincere spirit of community and patriotism. You are that leader, and this is your destiny. Please don't shirk your calling; please don't continue with timid and patchwork half measures. If you do, all your measures will be nothing but rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. And your beloved country, and the world, will go down in tragedy and you will be left with the knowing that you had the unique opportunity to prevent it.

Focus on our Energy Future

From: Sue Skidmore, Feb 2, 2010 07:06 PM

As our oil is becoming more depleted and our environment more polluted, we must relinquish the past ways we have used and obtained energy. We must utilize clean sources of energy and follow a sustainable pattern for a good life for everyone on this planet.

Change Course

From: Karen Horn, Feb 2, 2010 07:04 PM

Billions of ecological refugees will soon make the tragedy in Haiti a sneak preview -- UNLESS we act now. We are headed for economic collapse. Let's face reality and power down.

You have an opportunity no one else does

From: Loki Carbis, Feb 2, 2010 07:03 PM

Where America leads, the world follows. And where the President leads, America follows. Stop worrying about the Right, and spend more time doing what is right!

Change can only happen in the present moment!

From: Casey Frieder, Feb 2, 2010 07:02 PM

Mr. President. Please take the attached letter to heart and be bold. Our species will not survive unless our leaders become more conscious, more truthful, and more courageous. Be the change you so often talk about!

In hope,

Casey Frieder
Global citizen

President's Address

From: Wayne Cooke, Feb 2, 2010 06:57 PM

I totally agree.

Energy And The Future

From: Dan Schubart, Feb 2, 2010 06:51 PM

The real tragedy facing humanity is that we know what we need to do, every bit of what it would take to square away a tidy sustainable future, but that a significant portion of humanity is choosing to ignore that knowledge, and is thereby consigning us to the dustbin of cosmic history.

Time to Face Reality

From: Carolyn Treadway, Feb 2, 2010 06:47 PM

It is indeed time to face the reality that if we want our grandchildren to have an inhabitable planet, all of us need to USE LESS fuel, and live more simply.

Please work with the Post Carbon Institute

From: Jonathan Smolens, Feb 2, 2010 06:45 PM

We love and respect you. Please listen to and work with PCI.

Post Carbon knows its stuff

From: Andy Johnson, Feb 2, 2010 06:42 PM

Mr. President,
We know you are aware of the physical/geological/biological situation that the industrial economy and world population are in. The technical term, borrowed from ecology, is "overshoot". If we can back down quickly enough from this overshoot condition, a lot of human suffering will be avoided. It is a moral issue of the highest stakes.

Perhaps the key move is to remove "personhood" status from corporations. A bully pulpit could advertise the difference between actual people, who have limited power and obligations to their neighbors, versus corporate entities, which have vastly more power and apparently no obligations to their real people neighbors.

If corporations are people, they are psychopaths, and they should have been stopped long ago. We don't let psychopaths loose in public. . .

Last I heard, real people pretended to be in charge of corporations. Maybe they can be brought to account.

energy future

From: emmer, Feb 2, 2010 06:41 PM

better now than later. conservation and renewables now mean less drastic total cuts later, rather like compound interest accumulating.

We need leaders, not politicians

From: Donald W. Kennedy, Feb 2, 2010 06:37 PM

What we do in the next half-century will determine the fate of civilization. We need leaders who are not afraid to deliver bad news and ask us for a great effort. Where are they?

Distributed rather than Central Generation

From: Ray Darby, Feb 2, 2010 06:37 PM

The most current research by the scientific community shows distributed generation will be cheaper - given full cost accounting - than central generation.

Yes we can

From: T. Wilson Flanders, Feb 2, 2010 06:31 PM

It is time to get moving on this and stop letting the large corporations run the entire Earth into desolation.

From: Margy Stewart, Feb 2, 2010 06:26 PM

It's time to face reality as well as face our denial that there's something wrong.

From: Frances Oommen, Feb 2, 2010 06:17 PM


compromising the environment?

From: Mike Daley, Feb 2, 2010 06:15 PM

Sorry, I don't support compromising the environment.

From: Gary Johnson, Feb 2, 2010 06:12 PM

As a country, we are dead set on a course of self destruction. As a species, we are gambling with extinction.

From: Stephen Pearson, Feb 2, 2010 06:12 PM

I thoroughly endorse the contents of this letter and implore you to act while there is still time.
Stephen Pearson

From: Lisa Evans, Feb 2, 2010 06:11 PM

Our children's future depends on it

Rein in the fossil fuel industry

From: Richard Schwartz, Feb 2, 2010 06:06 PM

Cap and trade will be largely ineffective. The only reasonable approach is a straight carbon tax, and with proper education as to the necessity of the tax, the American people should be willing to secure the future for their children and grandchildren. Let the fossil fuel industries turn to the development of renewable energy with the carbon tax monies made available for this purpose.

Steady-state economy

From: Bennet Vance, Feb 2, 2010 06:05 PM

We must indeed face reality and prepare for the future. As a nation we have been doing neither. It is past time.

energy policy

From: Ronald S. Ogden, Feb 2, 2010 06:02 PM

The one source of energy for this earth, the only home we shall ever know, is, and always has been, the sun. We need to begin the process of aquiring more efficiently, and learning to live with the energy we can harvest daily from this source and give up our unsustainable use of the planets stored energy in the form of fossil fuels. This must happen sooner or later and I would like to be part of the transition, so it needs to be sooner rather than later as I am 66 years old and don't have all the time in the world!

It's time to do the right thing

From: MaryBeth Burton, Feb 2, 2010 05:52 PM

President Obama, I know that your presidency has been challenging and that you have many pressing priorities...but can't you see that all the rest become irrelevant if we don't address THE most pressing concern--the ability of our planet to support human life. Please address this issue now, before it's too late!

Obama should lead on the environment

From: Michael Wong, Feb 2, 2010 05:47 PM

If humans are to survive, Obama and the rich elite must take strong action and must realize that if humans don't survive, they won't continue making money. Otherwise, we're all doomed. I call on Obama to lead.

Abandonment of Idealism

From: Willard Foster, Feb 2, 2010 05:47 PM

I am starting to turn away. You are neglecting the out-of-control growth of the deficit, not to speak of human numbers, and are accepting nuclear energy as a rational solution to climate change. This last idea is tantamount to Reagan's nuclear fantasies. Something has gone badly awry since a year ago.

If necessary, let it be a single, transformative, and ultimately brilliant term. Concentrate on not being impeached – nor assassinated – and find true greatness.

Clean Energy

From: Bonnie Alexander, Feb 2, 2010 05:41 PM

Please, Mr. President - Keep promoting clean energy and a clean environment so that future generations have a worthwhile world to live in.

The Ultimate Hard Truth

From: Upgeya Pew, Feb 2, 2010 05:38 PM

Absent fusion (not happening anytime soon), net energy is in terminal decline. The longer we remain in denial, the less time we have to adjust. Time to wake up!

Act now!

From: Lou Novak, Feb 2, 2010 05:36 PM

It will take some time to wean our economy from carbon based and the quicker we get started the easier it will be.

PCI proposal

From: Edward N K Cooper, Feb 2, 2010 05:35 PM

Accepted and approved as written

the end of fossil fuel

From: Richard H Phillips, Feb 2, 2010 05:35 PM

Human being will not survive the consequences of our continued use of fossil fuels. We must make substantial changes whether our current lifestyle survives or not.

Real Change

From: Liam Fox, Feb 2, 2010 05:34 PM

Towards a truly sustainable future.

Future Stability

From: Andrew Dancer, III, Feb 2, 2010 05:30 PM

I hope that you will lead the way to a future in which my children and grandchildren will be able to sustain a secure and meaningful life without cheap fossil fuel and with the consequences of climate change. I believe that the Federal Government is in the best position to help give birth to a no-growth localized economy that will maximize our potential to assuage the worst unintended consquences of the practices of the last 100+ years of conversion of irreplaceable natural resources into pollution of our planet.

From: Avril Fabian, Feb 2, 2010 05:30 PM

If not for politics, but for 'you and yours', please educate yourself about this most glaring of all inevitable realities that threatens our short and long-term collective security and prioritize making a post-carbon plan a reality for the U.S. while you are President and able. Thank you.

Reducing Emissions and Oil Dependence

From: Bryn Davidson, Feb 2, 2010 05:24 PM

Let's make resilient investments in infrastructure that will continue to be of value in a post-carbon future.

Courage and Leadership

From: Robert Borinstein, Feb 2, 2010 05:23 PM

While the conservative wolves of status quo are at the door, you must not forget the house is on fire. It will take sustained courage and leadership to face down these forces of denial if there is to be any hope of saving our home. I hope you take serious the vision of this letter.

Hard Truths

From: Andrew Hughes, Feb 2, 2010 05:18 PM

We need to look beyond nuclear and clean coal for our energy needs and find a way towards self -relience and clean energy in a way that will provide jobs and build communities.

prepare for post-carbon society

From: Lane Coulston, Feb 2, 2010 05:18 PM

We must lead the world by making necessary changes at home, and we may not wait to make the necessary changes and innovations.

Facing the Facts

From: Dorothy Wilson, Feb 2, 2010 05:17 PM

I totally agree with the facts and urgency of this letter.


From: Tod Edwin Brilliant, Feb 2, 2010 05:14 PM

I endorse this letter of 1. February 2010 by the Post Carbon Institute asking for a display of leadership in energy security by our top elected official, President Barack Obama.

As a progressive who has vowed to never again vote for a Democrat, I implore you to change my mind, Mr. Obama. Win me over (and many, many thousands more like me) with a change of course and a dedication to listen to the brightest minds instead of the wealthiest.

Lastly, I don't believe in 'virtual' protests. I'm going to show up and camp out on your lawn, with thousands of others. Not just yours, but the lawn/doorstep of every elected official in this country. Wait and see. We are on our way.

"heedless growth"

From: Stephen W. Ela, Feb 2, 2010 05:13 PM

Mr. President, you and I both know that another hard truth is that America cannot continue to grow according to some criterion like GDP or GNP.

I ask you to lead in redirecting our economy to a renewable, sustainable, and resilient one. Such an economy has the capacity for a good job for everyone. It has no capacity for the continued manufacture of weapons of war.

Please take just a minute to watch the short video at Then please forward this URL to your economic team and ask its members to study the report recently offered by the New Economic Foundation.

Energy Efficiency

From: Robert R. Holt, Feb 2, 2010 05:09 PM

I strongly endorse the statement by Asher Miller, but wish that his second numbered point had stressed the concept of energy efficiency, with a minor emphasis on conservation. As it stands, many readers may understand that the advice as to energy is to use it in a frugal way. That's fine, though easily caricatured as meaning "shiver in the dark," but using energy efficiently means that we can spend less and still produce the goods and services we need by being smart about it AS WELL AS frugal.

Clean energy means no nuclear power or coal

From: Molly Young Brown, Feb 2, 2010 05:06 PM

I endorse the concept of your telling the hard truths. Nuclear energy creates the most toxic waste known to humankind that lasts 250,000 years. We need to conserve energy, not poison our planet for eons.

National self-reliance

From: Charles Alban, Feb 2, 2010 05:04 PM

As a nation, we need to reduce our dependence on others for our basic needs.
Particularly, we need to reduce our dependence on imported energy in the form of oil and natural gas.
We need to reduce our dependence on the Orient for manufactured goods.
We need to withdraw from globalization and concentrate at home.
All nations need to do this. Globalization is the worst scourge ever visited on this planet.
I've no doubt Thomas Jefferson would concur.

From: Robin L., Feb 2, 2010 05:00 PM

Mr. President,

I loved what you said about even if someone doesn't believe global warming is caused by human actions, we can all agree that clean energy is a better and necessary choice for our future. We are the United States and we need to be the leaders in creating and establishing this new sustainable industry since we have been the leaders in consuming the earth's resources.

Transition to sustainability

From: Carol Fox, Feb 2, 2010 04:58 PM

I share in the convictions expressed in this letter. For the benefit of all, we have to shift to sustainable, not infinite, consumption and growth.

carbon price, dividend

From: James McGreen, Feb 2, 2010 04:53 PM

How about a reasonable price on carbon (at the sources) with that fee returned to the people on a per capita basis?

Please read Peter Barnes....


From: Gene Brockhoff, Feb 2, 2010 04:51 PM

Lets place emphasis on what were moving towards. A fossil fuel economy is the most dangerous economy for world security. Lets do this now and begin creating a sustainable energy economy before it's too late.

As an alderperson from Carrboro

From: Sammy Slade, Feb 2, 2010 04:47 PM

As an alderperson from Carrboro who recently was elected I can say that I represent a lot of people of my community who share the sentiment of this open letter. Please listen to us and make some real action. Wars for a resource that we should instead be placing a higher fee on should not be happening. All the money wasted on these wars could be put to better use by supporting community based solutions. PLEASE!

Post Carbon Institute

From: Mary P Chipman, Feb 2, 2010 04:47 PM

Thank you so much for doing this. Maybe he will listen to you.

From: Rhisiart Gwilym, Feb 2, 2010 04:43 PM

Heed or crash, Mr. President.

Hard Truths

From: Craig Smith, Feb 2, 2010 04:40 PM

Dear President Obama, I couldn't agree more w/ these three actions. This is our last "shot" at getting it right. Further delay equates to increased hardship when energy or climate constraints overtake us. Please LEAD us and resist the powers that be. Much strength.
Craig Smith

Oil dependancy

From: Bryce Martin, Feb 2, 2010 04:39 PM

As an oil industry professional I am aware of ability of the industry to find and produce oil.

Our capacity to produce is limited by what we have available and how quickly we can extract it from the ground. The likelyhood that we will be able to exceed our current production capacity is low and diminishing with the depletion of our reserves.

We currently consume 4-5 barrels for every barrel we discover. Each new barrel of oil is more expensive interms of both money and energy and there will come a time when production will stop because it will take more energy to extract than is returned.

Our food systems are highly dependent on oil. Pesticides and fertilizers are derived from oil and natural gas. Our large farms are manageble only through machinery powered by deisel as are the transport networks. The distribution system is efficient in terms that shops only have 2-3 days supply and most of what is on the shelves comes from the far corners of the country of from other countries.

The availability of cheap oil for the las 150 years has allowed our country to grow and our society to develop and thrive. Cheap oil is now gone and essential oil will be hard to come by. The consequences to the country and the world will be great. Please devote the resources so that we can transistion to a world not so dependent and soften the impact that this change in our economy will bring.

Sustainable Future

From: Francisco Aguilar, Feb 2, 2010 04:39 PM

Investing sorely needed capital on nuclear power is not a long term solution, only a gift to a discredited industry. Please Mr. President listen to us, save the planet from a costly mistake.

Tank you Mr. President,

Francisco Aguilar

A new energy direction

From: Gary Abreim, Feb 2, 2010 04:36 PM

The world needs to prepare for a post carbon world. The U.S. needs to take the lead.

Our current life style

From: Warren L. Banta, Feb 2, 2010 04:35 PM

Most of our daily life activities require resources which are limited. As individuals we will need to step back and increase the effeicence of our usage. Ultimatly our lifestyles will change to such a degree that we would not recognise them. Rewarding individual conservation and change will be our salvation.

Face Reality

From: Christine Lehtonen, Feb 2, 2010 04:35 PM

Mr President, I endorse the open letter from Post Carbon Institute.

Save some fuel for our grandkids

From: Rick Munroe, National Farmers Union (Canada), Feb 2, 2010 04:31 PM

90% of the oil that has been consumed by the human race has occurred since I entered kindergarten in the late 1950s.

Congressman Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD) has a wonderful quote (I hope I get it right):
When we first found oil we should have stopped and asked, "How can we get the most benefit for the largest number of people for the longest period of time?"
But that is not what we did.
We just pigged out... [end quote].

Mr. President, please support the efforts of Rep. Bartlett and his Peak Oil Caucus.

no nuclear

From: Dianne Thiel, Feb 2, 2010 04:27 PM

If nuclear energy were a good idea, the nuclear industry would be building these plants. They themselves don't think it's a good investment, without taxpayer subsidies and guarantees. Don't take us down another dead end road. Spend the tzxpayer money on good ideas like distributed wind, solar, energy efficiency and energy conservation that will keep paying the taxpayers back every day.

Toward a Sustainable future

From: MC Hagerty, Feb 2, 2010 04:26 PM

Sustainability is the only answer and that means eliminating all fossil fuels--the sooner the better.

Hard Truths...

From: Brian Merson, Feb 2, 2010 04:26 PM

The only possible chance one has of dealing with hard truths, it first hearing those truths from credible sources. Mr. President, I urge you to seize the opportunity to become the leader that this country desperately needs.

Tell the American people the truth. Make them understand the situation that they (we) are in. Make them understand that we are ALL in this situation, that business-as-usual cannot, and will not, continue. Make them understand that no amount of drilling, inventing, praying, hoping or wishing will replace the energy that fossil fuel depletion (especially, oil depletion) will take from us. Explain that we have grown up in a world of increasingly available, cheap energy, but that we are now living in, and forever will be living in, a world of increasingly scarce energy, whose price will become increasingly expensive and volatile. Help them understand that under these circumstances, our current economic system, one that requires infinite exponential growth, cannot function. With the end of increasing energy will come the end of growth.

People MUST be made to understand that ONLY by reducing our energy requirements in every way possible and by maximizing our effort to bring renewable and sustainable energy sources online can we hope to avoid a disaster. Mr. President, people must be made to understand the hard truth that we must change the way we live, the way we do everything. You are in a position to begin to make that happen. I urge you to follow through on your stated desire that we face the hard truths.

sos- save our sanity

From: casey eckels, Feb 2, 2010 04:24 PM

you have the hardest job on the planet because you really want to do right by people and the world. i am exhausted from the battles with mindless politically driven people. I have worked 20 years in city and county government and i know the battles are full of hypocrisy and betrayals, self-service and ego. Please continue to do the best you can, i know you will. i will continue to support you.

From: Andrea Barrett, Feb 2, 2010 04:21 PM

please add my name to this open letter!

From: Donna Cook, Feb 2, 2010 04:20 PM

Your endorsement of nuclear energy, if continued, insures that our children and grandchildren will inherit even greater problems in the future; nuclear waste disposal and the dangers from radiation leaks are not a part of "clean" energy.

Logically approaching Peak Oil

From: Jon Wert, Feb 2, 2010 04:20 PM

Ethically and responsibly as well

From: Richard Vodra, Feb 2, 2010 04:17 PM

Mr President, together we can deal with these problems. Let's not waste another eight years.

we're in trouble

From: Warren Bellant, Feb 2, 2010 04:15 PM

As a heavy diesel truck mechanic I'm aware of how dependent we are on diesel to move everything in the country. We need alternatives or the next oil shock could cause a famine in the US.

Our Future Habitat

From: Philip D. Allsopp, D.Arch., RIBA. FRSA, Feb 2, 2010 04:11 PM

Dear Mr. President:

Your leadership at this time of momentous change - greater change than most Americans have ever had to consider - is greatly appreciated. The burdens of office for you must be significant given what we see and hear every day from the very vocal yet mostly-uninformed opposition to your long-overdue initiatives.

Living where I do in Scottsdale, Arizona, I hear the mantra, "drill baby drill" from many people. This, for me, underscores the huge gap in understanding that exists between those who know how soon our fossil fuels will begin to dwindle and how fierce the competition will be for them, and those who believe that there exists an infinite ocean of oil.

We have already ravaged many of our urban habitats in pursuit of short term profits from real estate development. Many square miles of our cities in America are ugly wastelands of strip malls, abandoned razor-wired lots, gated communities sealed off from the rest of society and streets designed only for one thing - the automobile. We have, through the most bizarre of zoning ordinances and planning regulations, impoverished our nation's ability to engage in daily person-to-person interactions of the kind that can be seen taking place by the millions in other cities around the world. The urban places where our social capital can be expanded - thereby expanding the propensity for wealth creation, innovation and competitiveness - have been reduced to a small number given the size of our country and it population.

Mr. President, I believe that taking strong measures to wean this country from its deadly addiction to fossil fuels will cause huge and positive changes to take place in the way we think about, plan, design, build and restore the very habitats (both man made and natural) that give our species and our culture shelter, sustenance and a sense of being.

We have the means and the talent to put in place alternative sources of energy to fuel this nation. But we have a short window of opportunity in front of us to reverse the social, environmental and economic entropy that has gripped so many of our urban and suburban areas - the very places where our future - our children - are growing up.

Sincerely Yours

Philip D. Allsopp, D.Arch., RIBA, FRSA
Principal, Transpolis Global, LLC

Hoping for a Post Carbon world - with only renewable energy

From: Kristina VandenBerg, Feb 2, 2010 04:09 PM

pleae read what the Post Carbon Institute is saying. Thank you for your consideration.

Facing Hard Truths

From: Richar Brook, Feb 2, 2010 04:08 PM

Dear President Obama,
I'm a retired scientist and I totally support the contents of the letter sent to you by the Post Carbon Institute. I have installed solar power on my farm and am now about sef-sufficient in electrical power. We cannot keep growing in a finite World! We must learn to become truly sustainable.

A Sustainable Future

From: Sarah Edwards, Feb 2, 2010 04:08 PM

I realize that facing reality is a very difficult task for our country right now because our reality cannot be a bright and shiny one of perpetual growth and ever-increasing consumption we've become so used to. But guiding our country into a new reality with courage and resolve is the most pressing and important role you can play as a leader. I voted, donated, and compaigned for you because I perceived that you were someone who had the understanding and abilities to do that. I know it is and will be a very difficult task, but please don't let us down in this regard. Seize this mantle and help us find our way to a realistic, steady-state economy that will enable us to enjoy a sustainable future.

From: Sandra Postel, Feb 2, 2010 04:03 PM

(PCI Water Fellow)
Thank you for leading on this.

The Hard Truth

From: Christine Wellman, Feb 2, 2010 04:02 PM

Mr. President, I can think of nothing more politically incorrect, but necessary for this country, than to face the inconvenient truths about America's energy future, as well as the global energy future.

From: Rev. Chuck Waibel, Feb 2, 2010 03:55 PM

With the multiple crises facing us, we as a nation need to grow up and face what's actually going on, not act as if "no problem is so big or so complicated that we can't ignore it if we put our minds to it."

environmental protection

From: joyce banzhaf, Feb 2, 2010 03:52 PM

Nothing is more important at this time!

post carbon institute letter

From: Dan Allen, Feb 2, 2010 03:48 PM

Mr. President, for the sake of your children, please open your eyes to the reality of our predicaments.

Not just good for the planet ...

From: Bart Anderson, Feb 2, 2010 03:48 PM

As people become aware of the fossil fuel issues, they become hungry for leadership. This is a case where recognizing the reality and taking a moral stand will yield political rewards.

Bart Anderson
editor Energy Bulletin
member Transition Palo Alto

New market for U.S. Products

From: Dave Room, Feb 2, 2010 03:47 PM

In the SOTU, you trumpeted the goal of doubling exports in 5 years as a way to improve our trade balance an suggested that the United States will be developing new markets. I've got a great idea for a new market for U.S. goods - California. After all, California is the one the top economies in the world! Another way to reduce our trade deficit is import-substitution. Increasing U.S. production for U.S. markets also reduces the amount of energy required for transportation and brings the jobs back here, while leveraging the advantage of proximity.

Sustaining the Unsustainable.

From: Robert Pike, Feb 2, 2010 03:46 PM

The domestic oil production has been in terminal decline sense 1971 and the the world wide oil production is very near or just entering terminal decline. The answer is not in attempting to sustain the unsustainable, but in a combination of developing renewable energy and changing our life style in ways use less energy in meeting our needs. Please lead us towards a humane post carbon world.

Robert Pike

For our children and their children

From: Kristina Vigna, Feb 2, 2010 03:46 PM

All of us with children have an underlying connection which leads us to think about their future and their children future. When I became a mother it changed everything for me. Is our current world worth inheriting? What will life be like for our children? Let's make some changes and lead the way to a more sustainable future for all residents of this planet.

Peak Oil and Climate Change

From: Christopher Danch, Feb 2, 2010 03:40 PM

I am the Director of Development for Eco Ranchos, Inc., a company dedicated to the establshment of complex agroforestry systems in the context of sustainable community development. While our own operations are located in the Central Valley of California, we have consulted internationally on these matters. From this global perspective, you should not doubt the creativity, resiliency, resourcefulness and competency of the American people to raise to this challenge once they are probably informed and courageously lead.

money is not wealth. health and happiness are!

From: Sam Johnson , Feb 2, 2010 03:40 PM

we need a new economy that values health, happiness, conservation, community and simple living above endless growth in phony wealth which is measured in numbers out in cyberspace.


From: Claudia Woodward-Rice, Feb 2, 2010 03:40 PM

It's time for Americans, and especially those who claim to be our leaders, to learn a new word: retrenchment.

Saving everything

From: Barbara Greene, Feb 2, 2010 03:36 PM

Mr. President,
I also, am very happy you are our president. I am working tirelessly in my community on our Transition Initiative. Please help us all do this work by taking a stand on these energy issues and climate change concerns.
With deep thanks,
Barbara Greene

Energy Descent

From: Margaret Springer, Feb 2, 2010 03:35 PM

We can expect the current economic downturn to be more or less permanent due to decreasing supplies of petroleum (and other key energy resources) relative to demand. Any leader worth his salt needs to understand this and be truthful with the American people about it. As Asher implies, we're going to have to "power-down" our lives significantly in the coming years and aim for a steady-state, sustainable economy instead of the growth required by corporate capitalism. This will be a great opportunity to also strive for greater equity in our society. Economic decisions will now need to be made in terms of what's best for the environment and the majority of people, rather than what will bring the greatest profit in the shortest time to whoever has money to invest. Money is meaningless without energy.

limits to growth

From: stephanie mills, Feb 2, 2010 03:34 PM

(PCI BIODIVERSITY & BIOREGIONALISM FELLOW) Mr. President, I don't envy you your job. I do admire your courage in taking it up. You have my 100% support if you will speak hard truths about the limits to growth that we now confront in every quarter of material life. Likewise if you will recur to the better angels of our nature, encourage us to muster up our strength, ingenuity, and good will to confront the challenge of making a transition to a decent, more meaningful and less destructive way of life that acknowledges material--but not spiritual--limits. Thank you

Re: energy/peak oil

From: Paula, Feb 2, 2010 03:33 PM

Please don't ignore the urgency of this, the most important of many important issues.

hear the voices of grandchildren

From: peggy borgens, Feb 2, 2010 03:27 PM

We must face the truth. Continuing to squander Earth's dwindling natural resources fighting over Earth's dwindling natural resources ensures no future for anyone's grandchildren. We must begin to act as if our grandchildren's lives depended on it. They do! If we continue to over consume, barbarically extract and squander the resources of Earth, we are ensuring our extinction. I am in, what I call, the legacy phase of my life and I am ashamed and profoundly sad about how we are collectively acting. I will do everything I can in my life and community to ensure my grandchildren can have a healthy, happy life on this beautiful planet. Please lead, there are many of us out here who want to help save the planet.

Open Letter to President Obama

From: Rebecca Elder, Feb 2, 2010 03:26 PM

As hard as it might be, please don't waver or make concessions that compromise the delicate balance of the planet. There are other ways of doing our "thing" here and we need to move that direction and away from harm! Thanks.

The future

From: Richard M. Mills, MD, Feb 2, 2010 03:22 PM

Do the right thing to make a sustainable future for your children.

Open Letter to President Obama

From: Juliet Sinisterra, Feb 2, 2010 03:19 PM

I wholeheartedly support the letter on behalf of the Post Carbon Institute.


From: Jim Griffin, Feb 2, 2010 03:18 PM

This is the real deal. No amount of "stiff upper lip" is going to rally us out of thermodynamic reality. You still have a chance to say the right things. Please take this opportunity to do so.

The whole problem

From: Merry Teesdale, Feb 2, 2010 03:18 PM

And don't forget that the more our population grows, the harder it becomes to get SUSTAINABLE.
There is no 'sustainable growth'.

We need to adjust our lives to a 'sustainable' mindset and economy, let's define what that looks like.

Responsible Security

From: Moses Boone, Feb 2, 2010 03:16 PM

We can secure our future by pulling the plug on foreign oil. Insuring that we do not have to send our sons, daughters, fathers and mothers to countries where they would rather slit our throats then give us the time of day. We have wind, we have the sun and we have American ingenuity, and land resources.
What are we waiting for?

Our energy future

From: Larry Sanazaro, Feb 2, 2010 03:08 PM

Dear Mr. President,
First I would like to say how happy I am that you are our president, that's putting it lightly.

Second I hate to add another problem to the already troublesome list you are burdened with, but this particular issue is a nasty one. We really need to understand the impact this will have on our world this century. Could you please have a look and if need be get someone capable of addressing this, hopefully to make it clear to the public that there is no debate concerning our energy future. It is easy to take for granted the way we have lived all our lives. It will be hard for many to understand the need to make do with less unless they understand the severity of this issue. It will not be a popular subject and certainly will be made all the harder to make clear as the big fossil fuel interests continue to be deceptive about the truth.

I can tell how you love your family as much as anyone could. I think you have a great wife and two special little girls. We need to make sure all our children can have a secure future.

God bless you and be with you,
Larry Sanazaro

Stop your wars or lose

From: Rod Walters, Feb 2, 2010 03:07 PM

You will achieve nothing at all until you stop your wars. Stop your wars and concentrate on what matters.

to all who posted... thank you! keep it moving!

From: Asher Miller, Feb 2, 2010 03:06 PM

Thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts and endorse our open letter to President Obama.

While online letters alone are unlikely to create noticeable pressure upon the administration to change course, it is our intended goal to advance the level of the conversation, as well as the understanding of the current dire energy predicament. It is not unrealistic to think that, in so doing and with your help, we together can represent a not-insignificant call to action. We hope that this exercise will engage many people across many social dividing lines and elevate the national discourse.

If you are able, we'd love your help. Simply send word of this letter to President Obama to your family, friends, coworkers and high-ranking members of the international media conglomerates however you are able. The link to the letter is at

Of course, at Post Carbon Institute we know that words only go so far. We need direct action, right now, in the real world. Which is why we continue to support and encourage the Transition movement, and those like it, who not only talk of change, but live it.

Thanks again for your support.


I agree with the above. Please act.

From: Louise Rouse, Feb 2, 2010 03:05 PM


Saving the Planet

From: Judie Lundborg, Feb 2, 2010 03:04 PM

If you told the American people the truth, I can assure you that they would step up to the plate. Our problem now is that too few people know or understand the enormity of the problems we're facing.

Here's your opportunity to BE THE CHANGE!


For the sake of our children

From: Vicki Vidak-Martinez, Feb 2, 2010 03:03 PM

I add my name to this letter on behalf of my children and grandchildren.Mr. President, the average American is more resilient than some think. Lead us to confront the coming reality, to change our ways,and enable the survival of our people. Thank-you.

Renewable Energy

From: Paula Ruisi, Feb 2, 2010 03:01 PM

Dear President Obama, Please take action towards
implementing non fossel fuels and educate the public as to the realities of nuclear, "clean coal" and oil. We all need to be taking part in this transition.
thank you
Sincerely, Paula Ruisi

Go for the real change!

From: Steve Madojemu, Feb 2, 2010 02:59 PM

Time to change our old unsustainable way of life.....time for the real change!

Climate policy & economics

From: Brian Ross Smith, Feb 2, 2010 02:57 PM

Mr President,

"Cost-benefit analysis
recognizes the need for regulation to account for failures of the mar-
ketplace, but also seeks to achieve the greatest results at the lowest
cost. It is the right tool for an administration facing several expensive
threats in lean economic times."
(Michael Livermore, Institute for Policy Integrity,NYU School of Law)

I urge you to instruct your economic and climate policy advisers to investigate the BENEFIT side of transitioning to a post-carbon world and to invite the input of the many bright minds who are preparing the way for rational economic analysis in support of this unimaginably difficult transition

If US policy continues to assume that the short-term costs of dealing with climate mitigation are too much for industrial and financial sectors to bear, then you will have failed the challenge.

The ignorance of the American people in these matters, and the resistance to take meaningful action in a slightly better informed Congress, if not remedied, will lead to disaster.

As you may know, there are thousands of local community and governmental organizations across the United States involving hundreds of thousands of informed citizens who are working on local initiatives. We are acutely aware that the US is far from providing leadership that will help us and the world come to grips with climate change. Sooner than later we will be in the streets and at the White House to demand leadership and hard decisions, probably by the millions.

In 333 BC, while wintering at Gordium, Alexander the Great attempted to untie the knot. When he could find no end to the knot, to unbind it, he sliced it in half with a stroke of his sword, producing the required ends (the so-called "Alexandrian solution").

Cut the knot Mr. President. Or be remembered as the one who left his sword behind.

Staring down the dilemma

From: Rob Dietz, Feb 2, 2010 02:56 PM

Our society faces a daunting dilemma. Economic growth, especially in a fossil-fueled economy, is not sustainable. At the same time, the economy is structured to require growth for full employment and stability. The way out of this dilemma is to create a different kind of economy. We need to be working on the transition to a steady state economy, as described by Herman Daly. It's time to build a prosperous society that is not dependent on increasing energy inputs and continuous economic expansion.

food security

From: FredMcColly , Feb 2, 2010 02:51 PM

willful reliance on petrochemicals as the basis for inputs into an unhealthy industrial farming and food production system continues to degrade the health of americans. Better to suppport the Land Institute than wars for oil.

From: Hildy Maze, Feb 2, 2010 02:50 PM

Be radical, prepare for the future which is very present.

Reduce our reliance on fossil fuels

From: John Wienecke, Feb 2, 2010 02:50 PM

We must make self sufficiency our number 1 priority and deal with this issue. We must focus our creativity, ingenuity and resource on addressing the global problem. It a time for leadership and courage.

From: Craig Hammerberg, Feb 2, 2010 02:49 PM

I totally agree with the contents of this letter.

Our Children's Future

From: Mona Pastor, Feb 2, 2010 02:49 PM

We need your bold leadership. Please meet with the leaders of Post Carbon Institute so that your Cabinet, our Congress and our communities know you are looking for real solutions.


From: Jeannine Laverty, Feb 2, 2010 02:46 PM

And while you are facing reality, please delete the word clean from its attachment to the word coal, as this phrase describes a fantasy, or a lie, depending on one's Point of View.

We Need Extraordinary Leadership

From: Barbara Clark, Feb 2, 2010 02:45 PM

The PCI request is immensely challenging, especially in our current political context, but no one could do a better job than you.

Open letter to the President

From: Martin Kember, Feb 2, 2010 02:45 PM

I endorse the Post Carbon Institute Feb 1, 2010 open letter to the President.

President Obama's mission

From: Sally Aitken, Feb 2, 2010 02:44 PM

You made an excellent State of the Union speech. Good luck in being able to persuade your colleagues to make the drastic changes necessary to ensure a vible world in the future.

Energy Indepenence?

From: Jason K., Feb 2, 2010 02:44 PM

There has been political chatter about the U.S. becoming energy independent. The truth is that our energy resources (fossil fuels, uranium) are becoming more scarce and will continue to do so. We need to pursue alternative, renewable sources, take major strides to reduce our energy consumption, and also reduce the size of our environmental footprint. Let's bring the troops home from the dozens of countries we have bases and start working on our domestic problems like energy and the economy.

More important than healthcare, more critical than jobs

From: David Ginsberg, Feb 2, 2010 02:43 PM

I worked tirelessly to get you elected and have been an ardent supporter and defender of your administration, but dealing with the pending apocalypse posed by insufficient energy supplies and the unintended consequence of their use has got to be your most important priority. You can do much on this front while creating jobs at the same time, but you've got to move faster and more forcefully or our children and grandchildren will pay a horrible price.

Act Now President Obama, to save humanity's future

From: Kathryn Mc Cabe, Feb 2, 2010 02:43 PM

I believe that your capacity to act with integrity and respect for the planet will outweigh the flawed context in which you find yourself leading.

reading all these comments

From: Charlotte Wilson, Feb 2, 2010 02:40 PM

I have been reading all these comments... and it is time to say that we have the technology right here right now to solve these problems - there is an at hand. It is electrical, without batteries and no pollution. The answer comes from the inventor, Peter Paul Sumaruck. Our government has feverishly tried to suppress Mr. Sumaruck with some clever, some blatant and some dangerous manoeuvers. But he will prevail, and in the not so distent future, you will be powering you home and your business - large and small tasks - with his power production system. All of you are offering good ideas but you do realize the President will not be reading these comments - if only he would.

Letter to the President

From: Chris Dwyer, Feb 2, 2010 02:38 PM

I am in agreement with this letter. Please push for real change.

post-oil food production

From: Dr. E. Ann Clark, Feb 2, 2010 02:37 PM

Inter-generational equity demands that we live within our means. In the words of Michael Pollan, that means living on current - not stored - solar energy. Such a goal pertains not simply to home heating and transportation, but especially to the agri-food system. It will soon be too late. Start now to study and implement ways, including not just organic farming but local, seasonal, and minimally processed food, to make your legacy genuinely green.

Not so "clean coal & clean nuclear"

From: Jack O. Payne, Feb 2, 2010 02:32 PM

Let start with clean energy please

sustainable community and world

From: Tim Hallen, Feb 2, 2010 02:30 PM

The carrying capacity of planet earth has been exceeded, (the human population componenet) due to the conversion of the energy sync of oil into food production storage, processing transport and distribution. Please help us convert our world into sustainable localized communities, capable of providing much of their necessities and help the neighbor communities to do the same. Visualize 20 years ahead to a goldobal poopulation of 2-3 billion. connected with electric rail, and ships. a people living happy meaningful lives in their communities, and being able to travel the world to visit all those in the brotherhood of mankind we share. We can do this, with dignity for life and pride in our vision and accomplishments. Restoration of the watershed's and fisheries should bring great pride to our citizens.
A change in the paradigm from Economic Growth to something I have heard referred to as Economic Improvement is the language we need to learn to use.
Tim Hallen

Be a true leader

From: Therese Ramond, Feb 2, 2010 02:29 PM

The time has come for you to lead the world towards a sustainable future, not one based on growth and greed but rather on respect for our planet and its inhabitants.

Excitement or dread

From: Michael Dwyer, Feb 2, 2010 02:29 PM

We can look at the future as a catastrophe waiting to happen or the next great exciting challenge.
Adealadie Australia

Growth does not equal prosperity

From: Brendan Lynch, Feb 2, 2010 02:28 PM

We need to focus attention and energy on long-term sustainability measures rather than new ways of exploiting fossil fuel reserves.

Prepare for a Post Carbon World

From: Eli Lamb, Feb 2, 2010 02:28 PM

This deserves to be Job One for your administration. The impact of doing nothing or too little is to invite a catastrophic decline in both our economy and our quality of life.

Global Warming

From: Walter F Schwarz, Feb 2, 2010 02:28 PM

Please, Pres. Obama read this letter carefully. I believe it is as close to the truth as we can come. You are right better to be a strong one term president than a weak two term one.

Green Economy

From: Warren Karlenzig, Feb 2, 2010 02:24 PM

(PCI URBAN SUSTAINABILITY FELLOW) For the US and the Obama administration, time is running to demonstrate leadership--or even adequate participation--in regards to international policy and technology market innovation:

PS: I agree with this letter.

Warren Karlenzig
Post Carbon Fellow
Urban Sustainability

Here's hoping.....

From: Dirk ten Bohmer, Feb 2, 2010 02:23 PM

Hard decisions need to be made now so as to reduce the severity of the inevitable changes that we will all have to maek....

In Support of Post Carbon Institute Letter

From: Carola Bundy, Feb 2, 2010 02:23 PM

I whole heartedly support this letter. The decisions we make now affect the future of the entire planet. The analogy I often think of is that we're in a life boat with limited resources. What each of us does affects our fellows. The first world countries are over-consuming and the third world is over-populating. We all need to make sacrifices. Renewable energy, as clean as possible, is a necessary step in the right direction.
Thank you.
Carola Bundy
Garden Teacher
Lincoln Elementary
Long Beach, CA

For Post Carbon

From: Tommy Tolson, Feb 2, 2010 02:21 PM

To get to a Post Carbon future in time for it to make the difference it must, if our species is to continue to enjoy paradise, corporate control of government must be somehow transcended. The best way to do this once and for all is a Constitutional Amendment to strip corporations of the rights of persons which they hold under today's law. Corporatism will not deliver us a future worth inheriting. Thousands of American soldiers died in WWII to defeat corporatism (Mussolini's version), and it is no more valid today than then. Deliverance comes through liberation from corporatism, and, with a corporatist majority on the Supremes, it will require amending the Constitution. Let's do it.

Fossil Fuel Depletion and the Future

From: Nancy Lee Wood, Ph.D., Feb 2, 2010 02:20 PM

Mr. President, In these precarious times, HONEST and COURAGEOUS LEADERSHIP is needed regarding our energy future. The American public will support you if you face up to the truth and ask for our help and cooperation. The well-being of our children and future generations is depending on what we do NOW. We've waited very long and time is of the essence.

Hard Truths

From: Deborah Schumacher, Feb 2, 2010 02:20 PM

I'm most concerned that you continue to promote a growth economy. I can't claim to have a background in science, but I do understand that living on a rock in space with limited soil, air & water doesn't allow for unlimited growth. Please help us all face this hard truth and lead the way so we can start to live in accordance with these limitations.

From: Zach King, Feb 2, 2010 02:20 PM

We need to address the energy crisis now, and take steps to avoid tragedy in the future of a post-carbon world.

Time is running out...

From: Jason Twill, Feb 2, 2010 02:15 PM

We need to make transformative changes now to ensure our way of life will continue beyond the fossil fuel age without catastrophic impacts. Time is running out for oppotunities like this. The time to act is now. You are the right leader and this is teh right time for change.

nuclear power i

From: Monica Raymond, Feb 2, 2010 02:13 PM

s NOT a solution to this crisis!

Tell the Truth

From: Robin Carter, Feb 2, 2010 02:13 PM

Please tell the truth about our situation, Mr. Obama. We need to radically alter our lifestyle if we are to survive this. Tell the American people the truth, and be a Hero to us all.



From: Albert A. Bartlett, Feb 2, 2010 02:10 PM

Mr. President.

It is essential that all of the costs of using fossil fuels be reflected in the market price of the fuels.

A.A. Bartlett

On behalf of Transition San Fernando Valley

From: Bruce Woodside, Feb 2, 2010 02:10 PM

We share and endorse the sentiments expressed in this letter and in the comments below. It's past time to begin the effort to back away from systems that waste energy in the unqualified pursuit of growth. Let's redirect our efforts towards investment in local design for energy conservation and a smaller carbon footprint.

Carbon addiction

From: Terry Swagerty, Feb 2, 2010 02:09 PM

Mr President, the planet and its human residents face a painful reality. There will be an adjustment in our levels of consumption. Too little is being done to avoid a painful transition. We have to get on a wartime footing in a hurry.

post carbon worldwide

From: peter adler, Feb 2, 2010 02:07 PM

it's about time to become independent from oil. There are energy neutral techniques for housing, like f.e. earthships, invented by achitect michael raynolds in taos new mexico. This is zero carbon... please further the legality to build in this way, to get off the grid and oil dependency.

Kind regards Peter
Zurich, Switerland

Living within our means

From: Bill Hinely, Feb 2, 2010 02:07 PM

We must stop spending more than we earn!

Please support the Post Carbon suggestions

From: Steve Prescott, Feb 2, 2010 02:07 PM

Mr. President,

I have been one of your most ardent supporters from the beginning. Please take action on clean energy, as it is by far the most important issue facing our civilization. Thank you.

vibrant, healthy economies

From: Janet Spring, Feb 2, 2010 02:06 PM

We will never again know the wasteful, luxurious economy we had before the crash; the resources just aren't there. But we could have vibrant and healthy economies by changing our focus from consumption to community. See the Transition movement - we're doing it. Please join us. (And keep standing up to the Republicans! Yes!)

Your children's world.

From: Dawn A. Walker, Feb 2, 2010 02:02 PM

What will it be like?

Strong endorsement of PCI letter and FINANCIAL REFORM NOW!!

From: henry vogel, Feb 2, 2010 02:01 PM

Please stay focused on these most important issuses and undue Supreme Court ruling on contributions.

Post-Carbon America

From: Marc Von Arx, Feb 2, 2010 02:01 PM

The hundred year long party that we've been having on as a result of cheap oil and its byproducts is rapidly coming to an end. Please help us to understand what needs to be done now, to insure a smooth landing.

A Renewable Energy Future Now

From: Reah Janise Kauffman, Feb 2, 2010 02:00 PM

Dear Mr. President,
We need your leadership to move us into a clean energy future. Renewable energy is our future. Coal, gas, and nuclear are our past.

Energy Conservation First

From: Florindo Troncelliti, Feb 2, 2010 02:00 PM

Many equate economic growth with greater energy use. We however, cannot afford such use. In order to have a sustainable economy, we must conserve energy.


From: William E. Rees, Feb 2, 2010 01:59 PM

Mr President, the power in this letter comes mainly from the first numbered point:
"Face reality. In a carbon-constrained world, true prosperity comes not from heedless growth, but from shared security, community, and liberty."
Your government and those of most other nations are caught up in the pursuit of comforting myths that are actually impossibility theorums. Safety, security and sustainability come not from what has become uneconomic growth (growth that destroys more value than it creates) but from scaling back, particularly in OECD countries so that all can live sufficiently within the means of nature.


From: William E. Rees, Feb 2, 2010 01:59 PM

Mr President, the power in this letter comes mainly from the first numbered point:
"Face reality. In a carbon-constrained world, true prosperity comes not from heedless growth, but from shared security, community, and liberty."
Your government and those of most other nations are caught up in the pursuit of comforting myths that are actually impossibility theorums. Safety, security and sustainability come not from what has become uneconomic growth (growth that destroys more value than it creates) but from scaling back, particularly in OECD countries so that all can live sufficiently within the means of nature.

Begin transitioning to a post-fossil fuel world

From: Steve Hansen, Feb 2, 2010 01:58 PM

In addition to the urgency of global warming, we are past the days of growth for growth sake based on cheap energy. We need to try to transition gracefully to the real world coming.


From: David W. Walters, Feb 2, 2010 01:58 PM


Clean Energy

From: David Gerke, Feb 2, 2010 01:58 PM

Nuclear Power is not clean energy.

This is really scary.

From: Tina Sparkles, Feb 2, 2010 01:58 PM

Mr. President,
I know you are trying to break through the gridlock in Washington and you don't have a magic wand, but we really need radical change in the way our society operates. Otherwise, I'm afraid we will have no society at all in the not so distant future.

Energy constrained world

From: Seth Snapp, Feb 2, 2010 01:55 PM

Dear Mr. President,
I hope you will heed this historic time and respond to the future we face. We need to stop subsidizing coal and natural gas and oil. Renewables are the future and we need to act accordingly.
Seth H. Snapp

a new direction

From: Lee Spiker, Feb 2, 2010 01:54 PM

I urge you, Mr President, to respond positively and courageously to his challenge.

didn't donate/vote for more of the same

From: Michael Minthorn, Feb 2, 2010 01:54 PM

when we elected you it was with "hope" that you understood that the old "american" way of life was a dead man walking and you would lead the country to a way of living that has a future. You haven't yet, and you need to. Stop worrying about what the crazy right wing thinks- they'll still be crazy when the last oil well runs dry.


From: Brennan, Feb 2, 2010 01:53 PM

Please be the leader you promised to be and don't let the failings of the system dictate the continued reliance on dirty forms of energy generation.

We're counting on you

From: Claire, Feb 2, 2010 01:52 PM

This is the one big issue of our times, please don't disappoint us.

Lets be pono with our furture

From: Brian Murphy, Feb 2, 2010 01:51 PM

there are many ways to help, please check out HB2847 for a farming program that will work!

Trails back to Rails

From: Galen Gallimore, Feb 2, 2010 01:49 PM

Please leave the big car companies to fend for themselves. Let the airlines sink or swim on their own merit. Instead of bailing out sinking ships, please reinvest in a better system of rail transportation. Rail (especially electric) can be clean & green; a real alternative to highways and skyways. When we sent aid to rebuild Europe and Japan following WWII, they built amazing networks of clean, efficient railroads with on-time, safe and even luxurious service. We need to once again lead the world in railroad innovation & service.

Greetings from Evesham, United Kingdom

From: Robin Walker, Feb 2, 2010 01:49 PM

I support Asher Miller's letter and urge you, Mr President, to respond positively and courageously to his challenge.

no nuclear energy

From: Rev. Dr. Bob Salt, Feb 2, 2010 01:49 PM

Mr. President,
Please read the research of health scholars on the harmful effects of nuclear radiation from nuclear power plants. The best source is Dr. Helen Caldicott. Read her books and website. I worked for you, I gave money to your campaign and I still support you, but I am strongly opposed to your plan to spend more money on nuclear power. It would be far safer and better for reducing CO2 to increase solar panels and wind turbines than to increase nuclear power.

Energy constraints

From: Bill Newhouse, Feb 2, 2010 01:48 PM

The time has long past for speaking candidly with the people of this country about our energy crisis - and you are exactly the person to accomplish the task. Please assume that we can all handle the future ahead of us, especially if it is defined clearly for us. The kind of vision the experts at the Post Carbon Institute offer is what needs to be presented as a response to a world that will be inconceivably different in the near future.

Letter to President Obama

From: Chad Mullins, Feb 2, 2010 01:47 PM

We need to work together to change the current dynamics for a better future for the generations to come.

Energy Realities

From: Linda Hagan, Feb 2, 2010 01:47 PM

Let us meet the future with open ideas, care. And, no lumps of coal ... socks or otherwise!

alternative energy and conservation

From: russell hart, Feb 2, 2010 01:46 PM

Dear Mr. President - The key to a successful future is local supply, most notably of food, and local infrastructure enhancement, including energy saving measures. Our greatest return on investment projects will be those that feature conservation. Local communities can engage in energy production projects as well, but nuclear energy capital costs can only be amassed by large corporations with massive debt financing. We have more than enough corporate influence in our lives already. Nuclear energy production cannot possible be produced locally, and I am highly suspect of its usefulness as a part of our energy "portfolio". Thank you.

We have it, let's use it

From: Laura Litwin, Feb 2, 2010 01:46 PM

We have the power to change all that we need to for cleaner, healthier lives and planet. Let us please USE all of those powers, technologies and the money we DO have to make the change NOW.
Make it so, please. You gave us hope, please act NOW.
Thank you,
Laura Litwin

Step up to the plate

From: Ray Berry, Feb 2, 2010 01:45 PM

The nation needs one who will stand for the hard choices. Are you that person?

Keep Up the Good Work

From: Maria E. Hill, Feb 2, 2010 01:45 PM

I appreciate the leadership you are showing on energy, and realize that the resistance to change in our country is overwhelming. Please take our petition seriously and take the renewable energy to the next level. With our support, you can do it.

From: Vincent Schwent, Feb 2, 2010 01:44 PM

History will judge us harshly for failing to see the impending fossil fuel crisis.

Changing Direction (We Can Believe In)

From: Michael Potts, Feb 2, 2010 01:44 PM

Mr. President,
We continue to be hopeful and encouraged -- you're making so many right moves! (while running afoul of so many entrenched special interests... How frustrating that must be!)
But here's an area -- renewable energy, a sensible global energy regimen that takes ALL LIFE into account, not just wealthy Americans -- where we can and MUST lead the world.
Many of my energy futurist colleagues, who have been trying to push this river for more than two decades, have given up in frustration. I confess, I have stopped pushing, even though I know we're right. But with an absurdly uneven playing field, and the short-sighted special interests strangling innovation and change, we have only been able to be the change we believe in on a very limited, personal scale. It's hard to spread our gospel to folks who want to pretend that the old paradigm will be fine forever.
Mr President, in your State of the Union, you mentioned four energy sources -- nuclear, offshore oil and gas, renewables, and clean coal. Sir, with respect, and after twenty years of honest study, I think three of those are wrong: nuclear's too spendy, offshore is too dangerous and not worth the risk, and clean coal is (pardon me) oxymoronic. Like nuclear, it will never be affordable. While these three sources (and Hydrogen) are attractive to venture capitalists and Victorian-era greed mongers, they won't give us enough as quickly as we need it ...and they will perpetuate the greed-lock of centralized power-grabbers. Meanwhile, negawatts (efficiency) and renewable sources have scarcely been tried ...but where they have been, they've proven themselves wildly successful, as job creators, wealth spreaders, and power dissemanators. Let's follow the example of the Europeans, and get to work ...and beat them, because we have better sources and we're more innovative.
We live in exciting times, and need you to lead us to better times. We believe in you. Let's Go!

Letter Endorsement

From: Greg Yurash, Feb 2, 2010 01:44 PM

Action speaks louder than words. Lets see you work for the long term survival of our species.

Letter Endorsement

From: Matthew Messner, Feb 2, 2010 01:44 PM

Let us keep our sights on the horizon. Let us attend to the task at hand. Let us rally around the truth. Reality cannot be denied in perpetuity. The time is at hand. Please act.

From: Denny Johnson, Feb 2, 2010 01:44 PM

Think about your kids.


From: Tracy Micka, Feb 2, 2010 01:42 PM

The time to act on a meaningful timescale is right now.

From: jim mccann, Feb 2, 2010 01:42 PM

I agree

courage to change

From: M. Lee Berryman-Tedman, Ph.D., Feb 2, 2010 01:41 PM

Please, Mr. President, make the change to a clean economy our world so desperately needs.

The Writing on the Wall

From: Thomas I. Ellis, Feb 2, 2010 01:41 PM

The fossil fuel era is drawing to a close, whether we like it or not. Therefore we need to abandon the "endless growth" paradigm and take dramatic steps, starting today, to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and develop a sustainable, clean energy economy through solar, wind, geothermal, and biomass. There is NO SUCH THING as "clean coal."

No such thing as clean coal

From: Ben Boyd, Feb 2, 2010 01:41 PM

Mr. President—

Conservation, Efficiency and Distributed sources of renewable energy should be your priorities (in that order). Please don’t squander tax dollars and our natural resources pursuing so-called “clean” coal and “clean/safe” nuclear. Fossil fuels will never be safe or clean, no matter how you spin it.

From: Dan Broockmann, Feb 2, 2010 01:41 PM

We need to change it before we lose it!

Open Letter to President Obama

From: Ann Coffey, Feb 2, 2010 01:40 PM

1. Face reality. 2. Prepare for the future. 3. Follow European countries like Holland, Germany, Sweden, and the UK that are already leading the way. 4. Kick dirty Canada's obstructionist butt into line. 5. Leave other countries' oil in the ground. 6. Stop war pollution.

A Sustainable World

From: Margaret Beegle, Feb 2, 2010 01:39 PM

There is no time left for procrastination.

no such thing as "clean" nuclear and coal

From: Ben Brouwer, Feb 2, 2010 01:38 PM

Mr. President--

Conservation, Efficiency and Distributed sources of renewable energy should be your priorities (in that order). Please don't squander tax dollars and our natural resources pursuing so-called "clean" coal and "clean/safe" nuclear. Fossil fuels will never be safe or clean, no matter how you spin it.

Ben Brouwer
Energy Program Manager
Alternative Energy Resources Organization (AERO)
Helena, Montana


From: Herbert Hoche, Feb 2, 2010 01:37 PM

We need help Mr. President.

Let's do it already

From: Steve Chesler, Feb 2, 2010 01:36 PM

How long are you/we going to wait?

From: Lawrence Rupp, Feb 2, 2010 01:36 PM

Denial will lead to much suffering

Contintental and International Leadership

From: Alex Aylett, Feb 2, 2010 01:34 PM

As a Canadian, I think another hard truth that needs to be out of the table is that US actions heavily influence the course that other governments take.

That will magnify successes. But it also greatly increases the impact of failures to respond realistically and constructively to the world that we have, and the one that we are creating.

energy independence

From: Sue Miller, Feb 2, 2010 01:34 PM

Please help this country wake up to the importance of conservation which can do so much so quickly to decrease our dependence on fossil fuels. Best part is it doesn't cost a thing! I'm behind you President Obama, please jump in with both feet and be a truly revolutionary leader. We are with you.

Small nations are waiting USA!!!

From: Zoran Skala, Feb 2, 2010 01:34 PM

I am so happy that there is Post Carbon Institute to learn from. In Croatia national efforts in fighting crises are still towards growth and more fossile fuels to make it happen. There are not even debates about constrains comming from peak oil and climate change - warnings so clearly put by PCI in many documents. Unless you, Mr. President, tell the hard truth about growth, which will resonate all over the world, very little will change. Too late, anyway!
Please do it! Thank you!

Let's not swap dependence on China for the Middle East

From: Sara Olsen, Feb 2, 2010 01:34 PM

If we don't make renewable energy and energy independence one of our top priorities as a nation, we're going to continue to destabilize ourselves and the world geopolitically as well as economically, socially and environmentally.

Green Jobs

From: Earl Godt, Feb 2, 2010 01:31 PM

Double the small business tax credit for any "green jobs" created.

U.S. energy future

From: Rosie, Feb 2, 2010 01:31 PM

Renewable energy is the only way to go. Nuclear's expense cuts out other options, and has other serious problems. And we need to stabilize, not grow, our population.

Let's seek truly viable energy solutions

From: Adam Hodges, Feb 2, 2010 01:31 PM

President Obama, please realistically evaluate your call for building more nuclear power plants. In purely economic terms, nuclear power is not viable. As energy expert Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute has pointed out, “Nuclear is incredibly expensive. ...if you buy more nuclear plants, you’re going to get about two to ten times less climate solution per dollar...”

And then there remains the issue of how to deal with the waste. “Clean nuclear power plants,” and “clean coal technologies” (two items you mentioned in your address) are oxymoronic to anyone but nuclear and coal industry executives who stand to profit from convincing the public otherwise.


From: will chapman, Feb 2, 2010 01:31 PM

Take the lead! Fund the way out. New sources of energy needed.


From: jake perrine, Feb 2, 2010 01:30 PM

Ours is a ship that does not make sudden turns - regardless of the waterfall dead ahead. Man the lifeboats and prepare to get wet.

Energy transition

From: Lara Morrison, Feb 2, 2010 01:29 PM

I support this letter and highly recommend implementing the 50 year Farm Plan from the Land Institute.

PCI letter on sustainable energy

From: Kimber Needham, Feb 2, 2010 01:29 PM

I fully support the need to transition to a low carbon economy.

Set an example for the rest of the world

From: Patricia Dumais, Feb 2, 2010 01:28 PM

The US must set an example for the rest of the world.

Letter Endorsement.

From: Tim Bloomquist, Feb 2, 2010 01:26 PM

Yes you can.
Yes you must.

From: Nancy Burnett, Feb 2, 2010 01:25 PM

I echo many, many of the comments expressed here.

shifting values

From: Kathy Faldt, Feb 2, 2010 01:24 PM

Please continue to lead the way

From: Bob Warren, Feb 2, 2010 01:24 PM

The world needs you

critical choices

From: Dustin Kahn, Feb 2, 2010 01:23 PM

We must use clean energy sources that don't contribute to the destruction and pollution of the planet. No nuclear power. No "clean" coal. We must shift our thinking from one of consuming to one of conserving. I often fear that it's too late, but we must do whatever possible to live as part of nature rather than destroying nature/destroying ourselves.

climate change

From: evan eisentrager, Feb 2, 2010 01:22 PM

We need a Marshal plan for clean wind, solar, and wave energy. We need a huge investment in trains. We need to end foreign wars, imperialist foreign policy and use the money we save for health care and renewable energy. Mr. President please listen and wake!

Obama Green?

From: Warren Rudd, Feb 2, 2010 01:21 PM

Get with the program Obama!

Post Carbon

From: David Banner, Feb 2, 2010 01:21 PM

We have no more to dither away our heritage...........the science is irrefutable.............let us get serious about our energy future!

Dr.David Banner

State of the Union speech

From: Ingrid Ramsay, Feb 2, 2010 01:21 PM

Creating jobs and increasing renewable energy and conservation of energy are all intertwined.
Be Bold, do not hold back because of hoping for bi-partisanship!

Post carbon economy

From: Dennis Paull, Feb 2, 2010 01:21 PM

There is likely going to be a global competition for resources of all sorts, especially fuels. We need to be leaders in inventing ways to live well at the same time we live low energy lifestyles.

Please Choose Resilence for the Next Generation

From: Desiree Cesarini, Feb 2, 2010 01:20 PM

Knowing the truth is not enough we need "A change we can believe in", a change we can we can be proud, a change that leaves a future worth inheriting for your kids and mine.

Moving away from fossil fuels

From: Ethan Davis, Feb 2, 2010 01:19 PM

Dear Mr. Obama,
As best as I can tell, the folks at the Post Carbon institute have the strongest handle on the situation of any group that I know. Together we are all convinced that we need to make an all out push to move away from fossil fuels - if we fail to do so, the consequences will likely be dire (and that's a massive understatement!). I wholeheartedly endorse what they are suggesting in the letter by Asher Miller of Feb 1.

'change' vs. metamorphosis

From: Kyra Auerbach, Feb 2, 2010 01:19 PM

we need paradigmatic change, not incremental change. we must look deeply into our definitions of and investment in community, health, energy, nourishment, and education; this takes courage and the 'pick and shovel' work required to develop true wealth - not just 'growth' or even 'sustainability.'

From: Richard Dandridge, Feb 2, 2010 01:19 PM

Be Bold Mr President, very Bold!

From:, Feb 2, 2010 01:19 PM

Be Bold Mr President, very Bold!


From: Kelly Smith, Feb 2, 2010 01:18 PM

Please help US citizens realize that our car-based economy and culture will quickly fade, that we must put our resources into other modes such as rebuilding our regular-speed rail system. High Speed rail is too expensive and should not be a priority.

We are in great peril

From: Peter Foster-Bunch, Feb 2, 2010 01:18 PM

We need bold decisive decisions unfettered by politics and economic rationalism. At this critical time the disciplines that should take on the prominent role in this crisis are science, engineering and ethics - or as it used to be known, moral philosophy. Economics should no longer call the tune. We must stop burning fossil fuels now for the sake of humanity.

By all means....

From: Alexis Zeigler, Feb 2, 2010 01:16 PM

The Earth is not infinite.

still waiting...

From: Monica King, Feb 2, 2010 01:15 PM

I am in full hearted agreement with the above statement. Whatever happened to economic recover thru green jobs????

Hard Truths

From: William Tamblyn, Feb 2, 2010 01:14 PM

I agree with Richard Heinberg that emphasis on "clean coal" and nuclear is a dead end.


From: Dr. John Riggs, Feb 2, 2010 01:14 PM

I support the above letter and agree that it is now the time to lead the way. Waiting too long jeopardizes the security and health of our planet.

Transition to a post-carbon future

From: Deborah Mokma, Feb 2, 2010 01:13 PM

Mr President, I know you are a man of intelligence and honor. Please choose the non-corporate path to a healthy future for all of us, all of our children, and all others who will follow in our footsteps. Let's make a smaller carbon footprint which they can continue to improve upon!

From: Douglas Caputo, Feb 2, 2010 01:13 PM

Thanks for your consideration of these issues.

Please endorse distributed solar and wind

From: Randy Connolly, Feb 2, 2010 01:12 PM

Please endorse a distributed solar and wind approach to our energy needs. This approach help create jobs and energy locally. Do you want to get solve a problem or just get by to get elected?

Fossil Fuels

From: Dan Chay, Feb 2, 2010 01:11 PM

As I see it, continued fossil fuel reliance has three important negative implications: 1) increased environmental degradation associated with shifts to low-quality substitutes like tar sands, coal bed methane, and lignite; 2) climate change acceleration; and 3) increased economic and social instability as fossil fuel dependence increasingly exposes us to looming fossil fuel primary energy source-related bottlenecks.

An important role for your administration will be to acknowledge those implications and educate the public over the noise introduced by fossil fuel industries.

The Time ins NOW

From: Jane L, Feb 2, 2010 01:10 PM

What of the children?
Act now!

More important than healthcare

From: Erik Curren, Feb 2, 2010 01:10 PM

Dear Mr. President,

If you put America on the road to a post-oil economy with a crash program of energy conservation and clean energy, then history will no doubt remember you as one of our greatest presidents.

Real leadership

From: Alan Hammaker, Feb 2, 2010 01:10 PM

Mr. President -- Each passing day in which you do not act to lead America to face the constraints imposed by energy reality is an opportunity lost. Should you not act, great leadership may slip irrevocably from your grasp. Let's indeed talk about hard realities and hard truths.

America's Energy Future

From: Harvey Perry, Feb 2, 2010 01:10 PM

Most American people don't want to believe that we must change the way we produce and use energy. They need leadership from the Whitehouse.

energy independence and preserving our planet

From: Robert Fies, MD, Feb 2, 2010 01:09 PM

Mr. President,

For over 200 years we Americans and others have viewed the world's natural resources as our birthright and extracted whatever we wanted without considering the costs to our atmosphere, water purity and availability, and the irreplaceable biologic diversity that creates our quality of life and forms the basis of life itself.

It's now past time to tell the truth to the American people. We're soiling our own bed. To change our ways takes leadership, real leadership. Mr. President, please STEP UP and DO IT! Thank you.

creating a world that works for all

From: Renata B. Kowalczyk, Feb 2, 2010 01:09 PM

It is time for our country to set an example and transform our way of being from consumers to the citizens of this planet.


From: Jay Young, Feb 2, 2010 01:09 PM

Saving the environment is priority one. Radical change is required for our earth to remain anything close to what we have now. Please think of what your children's children's world will be like.

Sustainable Future

From: Rachel Emmer, Feb 2, 2010 01:08 PM

Renewable Energy is the path to a clean energy future. "Clean Coal" is marketing spin. Strong action by government must accompany the vision we hold for our future. We must lay the foundation now for life weaned from fossil fuels.

fossil fuels, peak oil, and nuclear power plants

From: James S. Otterstrom, Feb 2, 2010 01:08 PM

The Petroleum Age is coming to and end and the last 150 years of exponential growth in human activity has been extremely destructive to our biosphere. Here we are at a crossroad, Peak Oil, where have the opportunity to re-invent ourselves to live sustainably within our ecosystem or to continue down a dead-end road. Nuclear power plants and their associated waste will just add to the toxic mess we are leaving to those who must live in our wake. We voted for Change, not more of the same!

From: Jane Metzger, Feb 2, 2010 01:07 PM

Your strong leadership on this issue is critical. This is not a partisan issue. Please fight to prevent partisan politics and deference to big oil and coal from halting passage of sensible energy policy.

What will we tell our children and grandchildren if we don't act?

The hardest truth of all

From: Dave Ewoldt, Feb 2, 2010 01:07 PM

Perhaps the hardest truth of all is that economic growth is unsustainable, whether powered "greenly" or not. However, we can work on becoming qualitatively better by embracing the principles of steady-state economics. While this will require powering down, even with the necessary switch to clean renewable energy, I'm aware of no other option if one of our goals is to leave a future to our progeny. However, it is the leadership the rest of the world requires.

PCI letter to Mr. Obama

From: Susan P, Feb 2, 2010 01:07 PM

I endorse the Post Carbon Institute's letter to the Obama administration, although I'm LOSING HOPE that anyone there is actually listening. I fear we rapidly approach a time when opportunity for preparation will transform into dealing with the dire consequences of non-action.

Isn't it obvious?

From: Tem Tarriktar, Feb 2, 2010 01:06 PM

...what is needed is leadership, and you're the one with the pulpit. The truth is a powerful thing. Looking forward to hearing you speak it on these vital matters.

the state of the nations energy

From: Lee Jankowski, Feb 2, 2010 01:06 PM

Your words on the future course of our energy dependency sounds as if you would like to dig the hole we are in a little deeper before we are forced to venture into safer and less harmful to human kind energy sources. I think you have the same policy on war, economics and government. This seems to be a common course over the past decades of United States policies. We usually have to prove without a doubt we are going in the wrong direction before we can even consider the way we should have gone all along.

energy future

From: John Weber, Feb 2, 2010 01:04 PM

Energy in the Real World

Solar and Wind are not renewable. The energy from solar and from wind is available but not renewable. An oak tree is renewable. A horse is renewable. They reproduce themselves.

But, and a very important but, the human made equipment used to capture solar energy or wind energy is not renewable. In fact, there is considerable fossil fuel energy embedded in this equipment. The glazing on a solar collector of any kind – solar thermal water, solar thermal air, and solar electric – requires energy to manufacture.

Aluminum comes from bauxite. It takes considerable energy to refine the bauxite. When I was fourteen, I worked loading trucks in an aluminum extrusion plant. The ingots of aluminum would be heated, pushed through a die to shape, then cut and put on carts. We would take these carts and move them into a small room heated to around 400 degrees F where they were baked. Because this was Florida, we would be fairly dripping with sweat when we would go into the room to remove the cart. By the end of the day, our shirts were caked with our own salt.

Copper also requires considerable energy to process. I saw a documentary on the History Channel show “Modern Miracles” that followed the mining of copper and the production of products. Mining, refining with both energy and chemicals, drawing the wire, and winding the wire goes into making both alternators for wind machines and motors for solar.

There are unintended consequences to the manufacture of solar and wind equipment; including serious air and water pollution, release of deadly chemicals into the environment as well as misuse of humans in mining and processing applications. Besides these unintended consequences, which are critical to a future humane and livable world, there is an accounting method that is important to making energy choices.
There is an important accounting system connected to energy decisions. Any system must give more energy than it takes to create/generate. This accounting system is Energy Invested on Energy Returned (EroEI). When it costs more to pull oil from the ground than we get back, then it is over for that well. On any technology, this has to be a main consideration. Many have heard that it takes as much energy to make ethanol as it provides. This makes it a dead end street.
How many units of energy does it take to make a hot air solar collector or a hot water solar collector or a wind generator or a solar electric panel? Each of the components (aluminum, glass, insulation, wires, pumps, blowers, solar cells, etc.) needs to be computed for the accumulated energy cost of the particular technology. This must be compared to life span energy output of the technology. It is important to realize we are talking about the ENERGY output. The financial payback cost is actually secondary in this perspective. Perhaps these energy devices need an energy content label like food has a calorie label.
If a system requires a 1000 units of energy to manufacture and it returns 50 units per year than it takes 20 years for the ENERGY payback. It could take considerably more years for the energy payback. Most “renewable” systems are heavily underwritten by fossil fuels. And many of the auxiliary parts of various “renewable” technologies (the batteries, the high tech control systems) are the weak link for long-term use.

Energy conservation by insulating, weather stripping, and cutting back are the first line of defense toward energy independence and self-reliance. It is important for the future of energy use to be clear on these matters. These technologies (solar air panels, solar electric panels, wind, etc.) can be looked at as transitional. This means they can help this generation and maybe the next generation ease down the slope to minimal fossil fuels. I am not saying don’t use these devices. I am suggesting we use them wisely.

One approach to the use of solar and wind capturing equipment is to realize they can be constructed now while fossil fuel energy is available and relatively cheap. This is a way of creating a bank account of energy by using the existent energy to build equipment that can provide energy in the future. John Michael Greer explores this idea well in The Long Descent. As I indicate above, these technologies can help us ease down the slope towards a world of minimal or no fossil fuels.

As fossil fuels become less available, judicious use of the remaining reserves becomes even more important. We must come to realize that fossil fuels (as well as concentrated sources of minerals) are a gift from the earth and previous to life. To mistakenly call solar or wind energy renewable and include the capturing mechanisms leads to both false hopes and perhaps poor allocation of limited fossil fuels and funds.

Also found:


From: Evan Larson, Feb 2, 2010 01:04 PM

Please act now!...don't put it off

Open Letter to President Obama

From: Scott Menzies, Feb 2, 2010 01:04 PM

I second what's already been said, here...

Open Letter to President Obama

From: William Bornschein, Feb 2, 2010 01:03 PM

I encourage the President to call for real sacrifice

conservation and renewables

From: Marc Flora, Feb 2, 2010 01:02 PM

Mr President,

A huge boost to the economy and flush of jobs will result from a massive conservation effort and investment in renewable energy.

Time is short. The issue is survival for our grandchildren in a world worth inhabiting.

Thank you, sir.

Marc M. FLora

energy future

From: Miriam Weinstein, Feb 2, 2010 01:02 PM

I am very concerned that there seems to be a move towards more nuclear power. What we need is conservation, distributed power, and less people with less consumption. Time is not on our side. Please take bold leadership.


From: K. Reece, Feb 2, 2010 01:02 PM

The time is very limited. We must act this year!


From: George Fleming, Feb 2, 2010 01:02 PM

We cannot accomplish anything good without dismantling the empire we have built over the past 65 years. Put an end to the military-industrial complex and make the rich begin to pay their fair share once again. Bring the troops home and close the foreign bases. We must concentrate every resource we have to saving this country, instead of squandering them in a futile effort to dominate the world by any means available including torture,assassination and the toppling of legitimate governments that won't surrender to our demands. No wonder most of the world hates us now. We Americans have degenerated to an astonishing degree, going from the Berlin Airlift to Abu Ghraib, because we have allowed the neocons and the wingnuts and the religious fanatics to take over. You must begin to kill this cancer of Empire that is is destroying us.

Facing Hard Truths About Energy and Our Economy

From: Rick Clemens, Feb 2, 2010 01:01 PM

The time is now. We are the ones. No one can help us more than we can help ourselves if we just face the truth of energy depletion and economic contraction.


From: Michael Anderson, Feb 2, 2010 01:01 PM

The SUN is the answer. NOT nuclear or clean coal.


From: Susan Pinsky, Feb 2, 2010 01:00 PM

Stop Oil = Stop Terrorism

Demand Side Management

From: Mike Morin, Feb 2, 2010 01:00 PM

I fully endorse this letter with the addition that you use your world and national leadership to educate the people about the exceptionalism of the fossil fuel age, the age of sprawl, and the age of luxury travel and the need to radically overhaul our economic system and built communities to adjust for the entrance of the human race into a new era, with the also important missions of economic inclusion, equity, humanity, sustainability and PEACE.

Open Letter from Post Carbon Institute

From: Jason Bradford, Feb 2, 2010 01:00 PM

It is refreshing to see the truth plainly told. In the long run, trust in leadership stems from dealing honestly with reality. We have been fooling ourselves too long.

where is the energy?

From: Fenton Heirtzler , Feb 2, 2010 12:59 PM

science vs politics: there is no such thing as "clean" coal.

From: Jane Palmer, Feb 2, 2010 12:59 PM

There is no planet B, and I love this one anyway. Those of us in the developed world can be happier on less. It's not privation but appropriate living.

it's not all obama

From: gharman, Feb 2, 2010 12:57 PM

i support the spirit and substance of this message. however, we need to push all our reps in congress to get real, too. and we need to herd them daily to a sustainable future for all of earth's families.

Moving Forward

From: Bob Schmidt, Feb 2, 2010 12:57 PM

With Love and Support

Open Letter to President Obama

From: Melinda Legendre, Feb 2, 2010 12:57 PM

Please help us leave a clean planet to our children. Don't let big companies control everything. Give preference to sustainable projects, to renewable energy, to organic farming... Please.

Pragmatic Energy Policy

From: Hans Kindt, Feb 2, 2010 12:57 PM

let's be forthright and bold, and forge a strong path forward, plannign ahead and seeing the bigger picture (like China does!) it's both the intelligent and practical thing to do.

Clean, renewable energy

From: Laurie Headrick, Feb 2, 2010 12:56 PM

Theanks, President Obama, for all you are trying to do to lead us to a more sustainable future. We as Americans all need to do our part to conserve and use energy more efficiently. We also need to continue to pressure our leaders & corporations with our united voices and our almighty dollars!

Climate Change vs. Peak Oil

From: Zack Beatty, Feb 2, 2010 12:56 PM

President Obama,

Climate Change is a corporate-backed movement, which is distracting citizens of the real problem we face: Peak Oil.

Please use your position as the elected leader of this country to educate and inform Americans about the true nature of the relation between money and oil in the 20th century.

We need you to prepare America for a gradual Post Carbon decline. The alternative is an unprepared for dropoff.

Change We Can Believe In - Railroads!

From: Daniel Draffen, Feb 2, 2010 12:55 PM

Developing a national electrified rail system to replace the soon to be defunct national interstate highway system and our air transport system must be a very, very high priority lest we be stranded as a nation in the not-too-distant future. Most all other industrialized nations have good rail systems. What a great jobs creation program this will bring and one we will benefit from for generations. This is a change we can believe in!

The way forward

From: James Wilkins, Feb 2, 2010 12:55 PM

We have to both power down and dramatically boost energy efficiency in everything we do. Bucky Fuller set the example.

renewable energy

From: Karen Stabenow, Feb 2, 2010 12:55 PM

Please ...change we can believe in...not "clean coal".

Keep the vision

From: Jed Diamond, Ph.D, Feb 2, 2010 12:55 PM


I voted for you because I know you have a vision for real change. Now in office, I'm sure you are surrounded by people who are constrained by a complex system of government.

Preparing for a Post-petroleum future, is our most pressing problem and one where we need your vision, even when it may conflict with politics as usual.

Create a future worth having!

From: Stephen Varga, Feb 2, 2010 12:54 PM

Mr. President, lead us in creating a future worth inheriting.



From: Don Hynes, Feb 2, 2010 12:53 PM

This is likely the most vital issue facing our nation and the President with the possible exception of the grossly over budgeted military spending. The issue of energy though has an even greater impact on our Earth home. You have my full support.

Support Clean, Renewable Energy

From: Saor Stetler, Feb 2, 2010 12:52 PM

Leave the carbon in the ground.

Endorsing letter to President Obama

From: Andrew Seamans, Feb 2, 2010 12:52 PM

Climate change trumps terrorism, I hope Obama shows independence and stronger leadership on this issue in 2010.

No such thing as 'clean coal'

From: Mark Archambault, Feb 2, 2010 12:51 PM

Dear President Obama,

Though I liked your remarks on clean, renewable energy in your state of the union address, I must take issue with the concept of 'clean coal'. Coal is the dirtiest fossil fuel even before it's burned, and it's best left in the ground.

I'm glad to see that you're proposing to remove federal subsidies for coal, oil and natural gas companies. That's certainly a needed step in the right direction.

Now you just need to acknowledge peak oil and the need to transition to a steady state economy that doesn't overwhelm the biosphere like our current 'growth' economy.

Time to face the truth of peak oil

From: Charles Cresson Wood, Feb 2, 2010 12:50 PM

Mr. President - You speak of facing the truth, but you have not publicly faced the critical truth of peak oil and its serious impacts. You must do this, and do this soon, if you realistically have any hope of having your other plans materialize.
/s/ Charles Cresson Wood, author of the book "Kicking The Gasoline & Petro-Diesel Habit: A Business Manager's Blueprint For Action"

peak oil

From: kathleen breault, Feb 2, 2010 12:50 PM

Please, face reality and tell the truth.

state of the union address

From: Ann Pacey, Feb 2, 2010 12:50 PM

Clean coal and nuclear should not be part of our future energy strategy as neither is clean, both leave terrible scars. We must phase out these inherently dirty energy sources as quickly as possible.


From: luca vec, Feb 2, 2010 12:50 PM

Lead the way. A substantial investment in renewable energy, with an emphasis on distributed solar and wind, offers the best hope for moving to a sustainable economy and environment.

Mr. President, lead us in creating a future worth inheriting. Post Carbon Institute and our Fellows will support you and your team in whatever capacity we can. We believe that the American people, and the world’s people, will support you as well.

With hope,

Sustainability for Our Future

From: David Martineau, Feb 2, 2010 12:50 PM

Finally we have inspired leadership who recognizes the problems we now face with the nexus between human overpopulation, global climate change, and peak oil. Please have the courage to present Americans with these truths and share our optimism that it is still possible to have a better way.

Address climate change NOW

From: Patricia Hval, Feb 2, 2010 12:49 PM

We must take action now if we want our children to live in a world with drinkable water, air they can breathe, and at peace.

Time to act is running out

From: robert broadhead, Feb 2, 2010 12:48 PM

Please act on PCI's recommendations.
We are facing a triple threat from the economic meltdown, peak oil, and climate change.


From: Jerry Banks, Feb 2, 2010 12:48 PM

There are many ways that individuals and organizations can conserve energy use without compromising the quality of our lives.It is important that we begin the process and your leadership is necessary.


From: Michael Hurd, Feb 2, 2010 12:47 PM

Let's do this!

On track???

From: Dimitri Baudon, Feb 2, 2010 12:47 PM

My comment is a simple question Mr. President.
At this point do you feel we are on track to change the curse of Global climate change and therefore to give the new generations what they deserve = a safe and healthy place to live!?

We need more tools to make it happens...sustainable projects need more money for implementation...looks to me like the different financial aids released and somewhat misused.

We have the technologies to make things happen.
We need your constant are the leader for the US...but mainly the image to the world of a struggling country trying to recover and to take charge again.

Please go against the deniers and get the right information spread out...

With all my respect and admiration....

The coming era of energy scarcity and climate change

From: Brian Schwartz, Feb 2, 2010 12:46 PM

Need both action now.

climate and Future Economy

From: Tom Corlett, Feb 2, 2010 12:46 PM

This is the moment.

endorsing letter to President Obama

From: Ellen LaConte, Feb 2, 2010 12:45 PM

I endorse this well-framed letter to Obama.

atmospheric carbon

From: Len Frenkel, Feb 2, 2010 12:44 PM

There is nothing on this planet more important than reducing the level of carbon, as carbon dioxide and methane, in the atmosphere. Number one priority; more important than jobs, security or financing. For without control of carbon, all life on the planet is threatened, regardless of job, age, lifestyle, ethnicity.

We must face the future as adults

From: fred rosenberg, Feb 2, 2010 12:44 PM

The world will be dominated by China and India because of our reticence to really lead the way forward in all areas, not even just energy. It can still be prevented!

Beyond Growth

From: Aaron Lehmer, Feb 2, 2010 12:43 PM

Growth is ending. Forever. Please level with us, President Obama, so we can begin the national conversation on how to live within a post-petroleum world.

No planet, no life

From: Ms R.C. ten Veen, Feb 2, 2010 12:43 PM

Without a place to live (a habitable planet), all other problems are obsolete.


From: Deena Stryker, Feb 2, 2010 12:43 PM

You can't do it alone, but if you don't listen to the people.....

Save your children

From: Dean Halpern, Feb 2, 2010 12:42 PM

Please, President Obama. If you do just ONE thing, let this be your lasting legacy . . . that you changed the fate of ALL humanity, including that of your own children, by taking the lead on climate change.
Thank you.

Support renewables more

From: Erika Leaf, Feb 2, 2010 12:42 PM

The sooner we wean ourselves from fossil fuels, the less disruptive the unavoidable transition will be. Nuclear is too expensive and unsafe. Support uncentralized renewables connected to a smart grid. The time is now. PLEASE!


From: Robert M. Munroe, Feb 2, 2010 12:42 PM

Please stop back tracking and take BOLD action! What else matters if half OUR country, and ohters' ENTIRE countries are under water in 30-50 years?

Reliance on fossil fuels

From: Kevin Holt, Feb 2, 2010 12:40 PM

Thank yuo for smartly reframing the topic of renewable energy as a jobs initiative.

Just Do It!

From: Paul Barber, Feb 2, 2010 12:40 PM

It's time to get this done.

your responsibility as a leader and visonary.

From: Lawrence Fine, Feb 2, 2010 12:31 PM

most of what's below and probably most of what's yet to be posted . . .

Surviving a post Peak-Everything scenario

From: Sarosh D. Kumana, Feb 2, 2010 12:23 PM

Mr. President -

The world is rapidly careening into a resource-constrained reality, where neither humans nor other life-forms have enough to survive.

Please treat this situation with care and gravity required, and provide leadership, in population management, energy alternatives, and technology.

The future of all species is inextricably interconnected, and attempting to fix or solve a single circumstance or crisis is insufficient - they all need to considered and addressed as integral parts of the whole.

Let us bequeath to our children a future worth living.

Sarosh D. Kumana
Foundation for a Sustainable Future
San Francisco

Obama's Calling

From: Peter Benjamin Zolno, Feb 2, 2010 12:15 PM

This letter hits it on the head. Fossil-fuel dependency is the main issue we face, though few are addressing its realities. Healthcare, war and economic concerns cannot be seriously addressed without consideration that all three are entirely dependent on energy -- the kind of energy that's not going to be cheap forever.

Call to Action

From: Susan Bain, Feb 2, 2010 12:14 PM

For the sake of our children and grandchildren, we must deal decisively with this issue. Infinite growth on a finite planet is clearly unsustainable. We need to learn the meaning of the word, "enough".


From: Richard Hansis, Feb 2, 2010 12:06 PM

The longer people are led or want to believe that the energy situation will require only minor adjustments, the more disillusioned they will be when the hard facts hit them unawares.

We must face the future as adults

From: Wendy Thomas, Feb 2, 2010 12:00 PM

Mankind has never faced a more daunting challenge than the combined effects of climate change and resource depletion. We are not constitutionally endowed to make short term sacrifices for long term gains. That's why leadership is needed now more than ever. Good work is being done on sustainable economy options. Please be the leader that so many of us were inspired by during the election and lead us resolutely where we must go by choice or by fate eventually.

From: Vanessa Rule, Feb 2, 2010 11:30 AM

Yes we can!

Level with Us

From: Lesley Thomas, Feb 2, 2010 11:29 AM

Dear President Obama,
European and (many) Asian leaders have done far more to level with their public about the true, very dire nature of our world's energy (and economic, and food, and survival)dilemmas. Can you please lift the veil for Americans? We are grownups - or soon will be - and we know there is more than the mainstream media is telling us, but we need leadership, not empty promises like the three year old is given in "Life is Beautiful."

Energy Future

From: Katherine Clark, Feb 2, 2010 10:52 AM

I urge you, Mr. President, to support the efforts of communities to localize and build resilience in response the energy resource depletion and the need to reduce energy use because of the desperate situation with climate change. A strong focus first on dramatic curtailment of energy dependence is critical, followed by immediate investment in renewable energies. This also means money for rail not roads.



From: William Sadler, Feb 2, 2010 10:42 AM

8 billion for a beginning of high speed rail is not sufficient. We need to build electrified rail as quickly as possible. More focus is needed.

From: Brendan Guy, Feb 2, 2010 10:27 AM

Please take action.

Show courage and leadership

From: Richard Heinberg, Feb 2, 2010 09:53 AM


Emphasis on "clean coal" and nuclear is a dead end. This is open letter offers the President sound advice.

Open letter to President Obama

From: Fred Magyar, Feb 2, 2010 09:43 AM

We need your leadership to help us transition to a new paradigm which recognizes that we can't continue as we have in a world of limited natural resources.
Thank you Fred Magyar

From: Paul Keblinski, Feb 2, 2010 09:39 AM

Dear President,

Apart from obvious necessity due to environmental impact and energy limitation, lack or radical action will ensure economic stagnation in near term and decline in the future. What I would consider radical is e.g., tax on gasoline and tax on carbon emission, spending as much on rail as on roads, or significant cut of defense spending.

Open letter to President Obama

From: Fred Magyar, Feb 2, 2010 09:18 AM

It's time to face the reality of living on finite planet with limited resources. We can not continue to live as we have. This the time for a major paradigm shift. We need your leadership so that our children may have a future.

Thank you,

Fred Magyar

Yes We Must

From: David Whitten, Feb 2, 2010 08:44 AM

Dear President Obama,

I can't add much to what has already been so eloquently and clearly said by so many others. I sign on to this letter so that the future of my nearly three year old beautiful son Rowan may be made just a bit more bright. I sit here on the edge of a little city, looking over the top of my greenhouse at the depleted fields of a family farm. We can again make the farmland fertile and we can design a farming system that is self renewing. My postage stamp lot on the edge of this farm is a small step in that direction. It will take many, many small steps. It would be nice if more of the headwinds could become tailwinds. Thanks for the example of the White House Gardens. Please speak truth to the Citizens, in doing so you will be speaking truth to power. Many of us are already doing the hard work of preparing for the new reality that has already arrived. We don't expect a "recovery" to a previously broken state of affairs.

Thank you Mr. President.

David Whitten

Energy Future

From: Mark H. Burnham, Feb 2, 2010 08:32 AM

I agree whole-heartedly. Massive, possibily disruptive change is coming soon to our energy extravagant way of life - if we're prepared it will be a lot easier for all of us.

Mr. Obama, You Need to Forcefully Take the Lead

From: Emily Spence, Feb 2, 2010 08:21 AM

Mr. President,

It is easy to understand that you are beholden to corporate interests in a number of diverse ways, which in turn could limit your sense of options relative to unrestrained fossil fuel use. Yet, we, all together, cannot face run-away climate change, weak support for constructive energy programs, unbridled economic growth, barely regulated free trade, ever expanding resource wars, critical resource depletions (involving water, minerals, oil and so forth), high extinction rates for multitudinous species, overall environmental ruin, increasing overpopulation, grossly inequitable sharing of global wealth and other dire conditions, and all of which are interconnected, without your forcefully taking the lead to address them and doing so in a holistic tough fashion.

In other words, you cannot leave these critical matters for future administrations to sort out in a meaningful manner. Despite vicious backlash for your stance, you must vigorously work to change our collective course now rather than continue the same old policies that your predecessors in office had and that, obviously, do not work out well at all for human welfare in the long run. (Isn't there enough ample evidence currently available to show that this standpoint is the case?)

In relation, one of the major disappointments that I've experienced during your time in office involves wrong choices having been made when it came to the government bailouts. Instead of supporting this damaging wealth transfer, your colleagues and you should have let many of the companies in dire straits fail.

While creating policies that comfortably ease them into their demise by various means, you could have, simultaneously, worked to create small vibrant self-reliant communities across the U.S.A., ones in which local trade, job growth and eco-sustainability are simultaneously fostered. With such a program, reliance on foreign fossil fuel would, obviously, have been permanently minimized due to deglobalization of commerce and finance.

Further, here are some additional considerations. I hope that you will reflect on them and, while you're at it, please view Howard Zinn's documentary, that's described at People Speak - - Democracy TV Special Presentation. I think that you need to see it so that you will be reminded of your earlier passions.

Excerpted from "The Worsening U.S. Failure" at

At the recent climate change conference [March 2009] in Copenhagen, attended by more than 2,500 researchers and economists, studies have been presented portraying a world in which there is a strong possibility that fifty percent of the Earth's surface could become uninhabitable in the not too distant future, a slight shift upward in temperature could let loose a carbon "time bomb" from arctic soils, crop yield losses could be thirty percent or more on several continents by 2030, seventy-five percent of the Amazon forest cover would be totally destroyed by a three degree C. boost for more than a century and a staggering amount of methane stored for millions of years in permafrost is rapidly entering the atmosphere of which there exists approximately 70 billion tonnes of it in the Siberian bog alone with global estimates tabulated to be between 300 billion and 500 billion tonnes [1]. (Many scientists consider that a 4 degree C. temperature climb is the minimum amount that can be expected based on the carbon load spewed out to date into the air and water bodies around the world.)

At the same time, Lester Brown warns of the looming large scale conflicts that will arise over dwindling water supplies, paucity of food and lacks of other basic necessities [2] while the UN Population Division reports that the human population will exceed 9 billion in 2050, representing a fifty percent increase from the 6.7 billion people currently alive today [3]. Moreover, all of these assorted, although interconnected, difficulties are occurring at a time during which oceans are losing a huge amount of life due to high levels of acidification and other human induced impacts while close to one third of all species known to man have already become extinct between 1970 and 2005 [4]. Furthermore, demand for energy continues to surpass provision in a world that must largely discontinue fossil fuel use with an immediate all-out effort to prevent a run-away climate catastrophe of the sort that could render much of the Earth incapable of supporting life.

In light of overall environmental degradation, ever larger human population, ongoing major resource depletion, over-consumption of products that have been overproduced by too small a work force to involve full employment and climate change effects all increasing in their impacts, it seems likely that the worldwide economy will never completely recover and expand. Certainly cutbacks in both economic and population growth are absolutely necessary to curtail further ruin of the natural world on which all life ultimately depends for its continued survival.

Meanwhile, wealth will continue to flow to the top ultra-affluent elite while siphoned off of the middle and lower classes through various schemes like company managers outsourcing jobs to lowest wage populations whose salaries barely sustain them while finished products are marked up a hundred percent or more. Concurrently, further financial bailouts will continue to prop up outrageously high salaries, along with other schemes being implemented jointly by government and business leaders so that the upper class is enriched at the expense of everyone else [5].


At the same time, it becomes increasingly noticeable that the "big business" model is successful primarily because it's proponents ruin the land, waterways and atmosphere by taking all that can be snapped up as fully as possible with companies moving on to new sites to plunder when the earlier ones are exhausted in whatever materials were eked out from them whether they are minerals, metals, fish, timber or whatever else is removed. In exchange, often toxins, such as poisonous sludge from mining operations in the water supply, are left behind, along with depleted soil that needs, if it is still to be used, to be pumped with a tremendous load of manmade chemicals to force it back into service.

Similarly, local populations are left to cope with the aftermath at the point that their surroundings are so heavily destroyed that they can barely sustain themselves, such as occurs when whole forests are clear cut, mountaintops are blown up to obtain coal, strip mining tears up land for as far as the eye can see or a fishing zone has collapsed in entirety through stock depletion. In tandem, typical corporate policy is not to offer reasonable payment for raw materials so that money can be returned to improve local conditions. Instead, the lucre is simply pocketed by distant company managers and stockholders, who tend not to care one iota about the welfare of the communities from which their resources and employee pool originate.

Excerpted from The Choice Ahead: Entrenched Fossil Fuel Dependence Or Climate Change Management ... at

As Stephen Leahy points out in "Four Degrees Of Devastation", "Eighteen months ago, no one dared imagine humanity pushing the climate beyond an additional two degrees C of heating, but rising carbon emissions and inability to agree on cuts has meant science must now consider the previously unthinkable."
He goes on to add:
"A four-degree C overall increase means a world where temperatures will be two degrees warmer in some places, 12 degrees and more in others, making them uninhabitable.

"It is a world with a one- to two-metre sea level rise by 2100, leaving hundreds of millions homeless. This will head to 12 metres in the coming centuries as the Greenland and Western Antarctic ice sheets melt, according to papers presented at the [UK international climate science] conference [recently held] in Oxford.

"Four degrees of warming would be hotter than any time in the last 30 million years, and it could happen as soon as 2060 to 2070." [1]

As Clive Hamilton, Charles Sturt Professor of Public Ethics at the Australian National University, points out in "Is It Too Late to Prevent Catastrophic Climate Change?", "It is clear that limiting warming to 2ºC is beyond us; the question now is whether we can limit warming to 4ºC. The conclusion that, even if we act promptly and resolutely, the world is on a path to reach 650 ppm and associated warming of 4°C is almost too frightening to accept. Yet that is the reluctant conclusion of the world’s leading climate scientists. Even with the most optimistic set of assumptions — the ending of deforestation, a halving of emissions associated with food production, global emissions peaking in 2020 and then falling by 3 per cent a year for a few decades — we have no chance of preventing emissions rising well above a number of critical tipping points that will spark uncontrollable climate change." [2]

At the same time, his views are echoed by Lord Stern, former World Bank chief economist, who stated, "A rise of 5C would be a temperature the world has not seen for 30 to 50 million years. We've been around only 100,000 years as human beings. We don't know what that's like. We haven't seen 3C for a few million years, and we don't know what that looks like either."

"Do politicians understand just how difficult it could be, just how devastating rises of 4C, 5C or 6C could be? I think, not yet," Lord Stern shared with a group of scientists gathered in Copenhagen after which he went on to warn that the risk associated with governments not adequately addressing climate change in time to avert the brunt of the disaster would lead to horrendous consequences. According to him, these involve risking at least a third of the world's aggregate wealth, including a minimum of a thirty percent reduction in consumption per person worldwide or, put another way, global GDP would drop to at least 70 percent of current output. [3]


Emily Spence

Climate Change and Peak Energy

From: Luci Fernandez, Feb 2, 2010 07:46 AM

We are not doing our citizens any favors by glossing over the severity of the double whammy that will hit us. We can prepare as a united front or scramble for survival.

Endorsement of the Open Letter to President Obama

From: David Bennett, Feb 2, 2010 07:36 AM

I endorse this letter to the President.

Our shared future

From: Albert Bates, Feb 2, 2010 07:32 AM

Mr. President,

With 11 supercarriers at sea (equal to the rest of the world's carrier fleet), each at nearly twice the displacement and several times the energy use of any other nation's, why are we building a new class of even bigger, more energy consuming carriers (and all their support vessels) for launch during your presidency? Why should that budget line item be off the table in your 2011 spending freeze? Do we think that by projecting more naval power, at greater distances, we will reduce our strategic fuel vulnerability? We are still fighting last century's wars, and in this case, the war came in the second decade of that century. That is not how you win hearts and minds, which is our battle of the 21st century.


Albert Bates

hard choices

From: Dave, Feb 2, 2010 07:03 AM

A serious program of conservation/ efficiency will initially deepen a recession now but this is better than a collapse latter. There will be some light at the end of the tunnel instead of darkness.

Facing Reality on Energy

From: James Emberger, Feb 2, 2010 06:45 AM

No one's interests are served by planning a future that cannot happen. Please level with America and the world.

Letter to the president

From: Chuck Adams, Feb 2, 2010 06:21 AM

Great letter but I would add (and emphasize) that we here in the U.S. need to accept that a dramatic reduction in consumption is already built into the equation. We can start on that reduction now, in a gentle manner, or later, in a more draconian way.

A Divine Pursuit

From: Rev. Tanya Sadagopan, Feb 2, 2010 06:20 AM

I believe that this is more than an economic imperative, environmental imperative, or even a moral imperative. This is a spiritual imperative--a Godly pursuit returning us to one of the earliest commands given us in the Judeo-Christian Bible. We are to be stewards of God's creation--not owners or consumers. Renewable energy is the most appropriate stewardship of our resources and consistent with our calling. This work, I believe, is redemptive of the spirit and soul of humanity and a course we must pursue.

Yes You Can!

From: Erik Silverberg, Feb 2, 2010 05:46 AM

Mr. President, if anyone has the talent to clearly communicate the reality this letter articulates so well ... you're that person. Please find the courage to join the PCI and so many others ready to face these hard truths.

Descent from Peak Oil

From: Jackson Harper, Feb 2, 2010 05:46 AM

World oil production is expected to begin its terminal descent in the coming decade according to a growing number of petroleum analysts and the chief economist of the International Energy Agency. The United States is particularly vulnerable to oil scarcity given its hundreds of millions of cars, trucks, locomotives, ships, and aircraft dependent on liquid fuel.

The looming oil crunch would cause major social disruptions, food shortages, and potential rationing. Dr. Robert L. Hirsh who wrote the ground-breaking peak oil study for the Department of Energy in 2005 estimates that every 1% decline in oil supply would result in a 1% decline in World Gross Product presaging economic instability. Portland Oregon’s Peak Oil Plan estimates that fossil fuel use would drop 50% in the 20 years following the peak. Since emergency services would get full fuel ration, the ordinary citizen would be allotted only about a third of the gasoline now used.

The Worldwatch Institute in its “State of the World 2010″ report states that we need a complete cultural transformation rejecting consumerism in order to save human civilization. “From Earth’s perspective, the American or even the European way of life is simply not viable.” Already 40% over carrying capacity, the planet’s life support system for humanity cannot tolerate further resource demands for long. The goal for developed and developing countries must be sustainability, not consumerism.

Citizens, communities, and nations all have parts to play in forging cultural change. First, citizens must cut back, then stop their uses of liquid fuel. Use public transit, carpool, or telecommute. Move closer to work and shopping. Walk and bike to work and shops. If you must drive, get a plug-in hybrid or electric car. Replace oil furnaces at home with heat pumps or wood stoves or fireplace inserts. Refrain from air travel and long distance auto trips. Use the train and bus. Eat less meat. Grow a vegetable garden. End frivolous consumption. Simplify your life and accumulate friends instead of stuff.

The individual will not be able to make the cultural transition without a resilient and cohesive community. We need to gather our friends and neighbors to discuss the tasks ahead in preparing the community for life in an era of scarce and expensive oil. The community should concentrate on transportation, food, and energy, but also education, health, and skills. An inventory of community skills should be undertaken to assess reskilling needs. Skills sought might include light construction, gardening, and sewing. Organic agriculture and permaculture could be promoted in community gardens. The localization effort could be enhanced by using a local currency to promote local products. Lives of simplicity as described in a collection of essays by Cecile Andrews in her recent book “Less is More: Embracing Simplicity for a Healthy Planet, a Caring Economy and Lasting Happiness” illuminate those who have rejected the relentless pace of consumerism for more satisfying and rewarding human and community interactions.

The United States must acknowledge that peak oil is a reality and should be discussed openly and dealt with decisively. We must support massive development of renewable energy – wind, solar, geothermal, tidal, and biomass. Transportation must be electrified. High speed trains and light rail must be a high priority. Electrical transmission networks must be extended to wind and solar farms and upgraded to smart grids.

Cultural change is difficult to institute. Even the economic collapse of Argentina, the Soviet Union, and Iceland did not provoke wholesale social change. Though we Americans have lived well, even lavishly, during the oil age, we have been exceptionally wasteful and largely indifferent to the environmental and social consequences. In the difficult transition ahead we will need to muster all of our vaunted resourcefulness and adaptability to create healthier, happier, more equitable, and just cultures enveloped by sustainable environments that reject the pitfalls of the oil age.


From: Lewis , Feb 2, 2010 04:48 AM

Mr President,

you are no doubt well aware of the limitations of renewable energy, not merely in their rates of scalability, but also in the fact that they do nothing to prevent the sale to the next bidder of the fossil fuels they supposedly displace.

In the absence of a global climate treaty, with its global cap on GHG output and agreed national shares of the resulting emissions budget, renewable energies are effectively irrelevant with regard to GHG control. They are thus at most a secondary consideration.

The priority is thus of finding ways to advance the agreement of a treaty, without which the climatic destabilization of global food production looks set to impose the greatest genocide-by-famine the world has seen.

Given that the goal of respecting the 2.0C threshold offers only a 46% chance of avoiding catastrophic, irreversible climate destabilization,
and that the senate shows little sign of agreeing a GHG cut of one tenth of what is needed (that is, a nere 4% off 1990)
one has to ask just how dire does the threat to US integrity, prosperity and survival have to be before you will apply the EPA to the issue with proper stringency ?


Lewis Cleverdon

Efficiency and Renewable

From: Jim and Elaine stACk, Feb 1, 2010 10:32 PM

By being much more efficient from making zero energy homes and efficient Electric Vehicles we can meet all our needs with Renewable Energy. I know I do it everyday with my efficient home, GRID tied solar home and bicycle /or/ plugin hybrid transportation.

We agree...No such thing as "Clean Coal"

From: Brad Parsons, Feb 1, 2010 10:08 PM

Could not believe Obama continues to shamelessly use the phrase "Clean Coal." Was one of the most annoying things he said in the whole State of the Union Speech. We here at "Kauaians for a Bright Energy Future" would be happy to sign on/endorse your letter.

P.S. Jerry Mander of "Searching for a Miracle" says Hi!

Brad Parsons
Hanalei, Kaua'i, HI

Efficiency and Investment in my generation

From: Laura Comer, Feb 1, 2010 08:41 PM

President Obama,
I was part of the hundreds of thousands of young people that voted you in as president. We knew that you could represent the needs of our generation. Now we need you to show that and recognize that we are not living in a world that we all are happy with right now. With the right efficiency measures and switch to clean and safe American sources of energy, we could have the healthy world we need.

supporting PCI Mr. President

From: Matt McRae, Feb 1, 2010 08:40 PM

Mr. President, the call to action could not be more urgent. The timing could not be more critical. We can't afford another hour of delay.

A post carbon future

From: Dave Hughes, Feb 1, 2010 07:07 PM

Mr. President, BEWARE OF SCALE. And therefore beware of blithe assertions that the current level of energy throughput is in any way possible using renewable energy technologies. It is not. And we must therefore face the fact that our energy consumption must be radically reduced and our infrastructure rebuilt based on awareness of the need to live within the limits of our energy and ecological resources. Awareness is the first step, and the good news is there is a lot of low hanging fruit available to radically reduce our energy footprint. But the cost of ignoring these issues, as outlined in this letter, “risks tragedy”. I would go further – it ensures a chaotic transition – the Laws of Thermodynamics cannot be repealed.

That which can't go on forever won't

From: William Fickas, Feb 1, 2010 06:27 PM

Perpetual growth, let alone perpetual exponential growth, is not sustainable in a finite world.

A Critical Moment

From: Steve Beck, Feb 1, 2010 05:39 PM

Mr. President, I hope that you will heed this important letter from the Post Carbon Institute. The depletion of energy, fresh water, top soil, ocean fisheries, and other critical resources, together with escalating climate change, puts us on a trajectory towards a global catastrophe of nearly inconceivable proportions. The development of distributed renewable, solar, and wind technologies, while we still have some remaining time and resources, will almost certainly prove essential for our survival. Above all--it is imperative to avoid squandering our remaining resources in a futile effort to maintain the status quo.


From: Eric Johnson, Feb 1, 2010 04:49 PM

“I hope people take the gloves off with Obama. If he had come to the table with deep emission cuts to 1990 levels, which he could... See More’ve done, he could’ve used the stimulus money to do it. He could’ve used the bank bailout money to do it. He could’ve directed the banks when he had total control over the financial sector to invest in a green economy. This man has blown so many historic opportunities. He could’ve come to the table with inspiring emission cuts and we would be in a very different place today. He didn’t do it. Its time to stop making excuses for him and get mad." Naomi Klein on Copenhagen

Solidarity with Post Carbon Institute

From: Alexander Kelly, Feb 1, 2010 04:48 PM

Act with the future in mind, President Obama.

Communication and education is the key

From: Peter Lunsford , Feb 1, 2010 04:14 PM

Mr. President, We know that you know the true situation. What's holding back the stakeholders in America, which is causing dangerous and time-consuming road blocks, is their naivete on the issue of imminent fossil fuel resource scarcity, and that the solutions to both the energy and global warming challenges are virtually the same. Only effective and thorough education of the masses will allow the inevitable transition to go forward as quickly as needed. I urge your Administration to pursue that comprehensive education effort.

In full agreement Mr. President

From: Adrienne Santorineos, Feb 1, 2010 04:05 PM

Action is needed now. Thank you PCI.


From: Ron Hornung, Feb 1, 2010 02:03 PM

Mr. President,it ain't easy bein' you, I reckon...I mean,being President of all the people, when so many are in ignorance or in denial of inconvenient information. It is too late to find a common denominator withh fearful inflexible folks who don't get that co2 accumulations can have environmental consequences "because after all we breathe it and drink it..."...there can be no compromise with ignorance...COMMMUNICATE Mr.President in simple,no mske that simplistic, the kind of third grade terms your opponents need...FIND FACTS that can be communicated inthe all or nothing way the republican leadership prefers...a televised debate with simultaneous fact-checkers...keep it simple...third-graders...

agree with PCI

From: Andree Zaleska, Feb 1, 2010 12:29 PM

Mr. President, Climate is your top priority.