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Tue Jan 15, 2013, 09:29 AM

Open Letter to Obama from the Bulletin of Atomic Scientisits

I snipped out the editors note and most of the letter, here's the beginning and the call to action.

An open letter to President Obama: The time on the Doomsday Clock is five minutes to midnight

By Robert Socolow, Thomas Rosenbaum, Lawrence J. Korb, Lynn Eden, Rod Ewing, Alexander Glaser, James E. Hansen, Sivan Kartha, Edward "Rocky" Kolb , Lawrence M. Krauss, Leon Lederman, Ramamurti Rajaraman, M. V. Ramana, Robert Rosner, Jennifer Sims, Richard C. J. Somerville, and Elizabeth J. Wilson

January 14, 2013

Dear President Obama,

2012 was a year in which the problems of the world pressed forward, but too many of its citizens stood back. In the US elections the focus was "the economy, stupid," with barely a word about the severe long-term trends that threaten the population's well-being to a far greater extent: climate change, the continuing menace of nuclear oblivion, and the vulnerabilities of the world's energy sources. 2012 was the hottest year on record in the contiguous United States, marked by devastating drought and brutal storms. These extreme events are exactly what climate models predict for an atmosphere overburdened with greenhouse gases. 2012 was a year of unrealized opportunity to reduce nuclear stockpiles, to lower the immediacy of destruction from missiles on alert, and to control the spread of fissile materials and keep nuclear terrorism at bay. 2012 was a year in which -- one year after the partial meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station -- the Japanese nation continued to be at the earliest stages of what will be a costly and long recovery.

The stasis of 2012 convinces us, the Science and Security Board, to keep the hands of the Doomsday Clock in place.


Next steps. Mr. President, with your second inauguration one week away, we have as much hope for your presidency as we did in 2010, when we moved back the hands of the Doomsday Clock after your first year in office. You have an extraordinary capacity to articulate the global desire for peace and security, and you have the tools to deliver tangible progress. Your Prague speech on nuclear disarmament and your efforts at Copenhagen to coordinate world leaders to slow the onset of climate change are high water marks in their respective basins of activity. We call on you to reinvigorate these initiatives. Specifically:

- Implement your Prague vision to diminish the role of nuclear weapons in US security strategy by committing to cut -- to under 1,000 -- the deployed strategic nuclear warheads.

- Announce an effort to stop all new production and eliminate existing stocks of separated fissile materials, both civilian and military, worldwide. It would greatly strengthen the nonproliferation regime, support nuclear disarmament, and provide the ultimate protection against nuclear terrorism.

- Prioritize climate change at a level that recognizes the gravity of the climate threat. You have the ability to educate and inspire the United States to launch an ambitious response, confront entrenched interests that have forestalled action, and, if Congressional dysfunction prevents legislative action, you are able to use your executive powers to achieve progress on a rational energy and climate strategy for the nation.

- Partner with other world leaders to forge the comprehensive global response that the climate threat demands, based on equity and cooperation across countries. A global solution will only be within reach if the United States commits to doing its fair share by investing at home and globally to curb greenhouse gas emissions, while building resilience in the face of the climate disruption that is now unavoidable.

- Reform the patchwork of federal subsidies, taxes, and other incentives and disincentives so as to encourage large reductions in US greenhouse gas emissions.

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Reply Open Letter to Obama from the Bulletin of Atomic Scientisits (Original post)
bananas Jan 2013 OP
bananas Jan 2013 #1
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Response to bananas (Original post)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 09:33 AM

1. Editor's note: the Board of Sponsors includes 18 Nobel Laureates

Editor's note: Founded in 1945 by University of Chicago scientists who had helped develop the first atomic weapons in the Manhattan Project, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists subsequently created the Doomsday Clock in 1947 using the imagery of apocalypse (midnight) and the contemporary idiom of nuclear explosion (countdown to zero), to convey threats to humanity and the planet. The decision to move the minute hand of the Doomsday Clock is made every year by the Bulletin's Science and Security Board in consultation with its Board of Sponsors, which includes 18 Nobel Laureates. The Clock has become a universally recognized indicator of the world's vulnerability to catastrophe from nuclear weapons, climate change, and new technologies emerging in other domains.

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 09:37 AM

2. James Hansen is on the Science and Security Board and co-authored the letter. nt

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