Weekly Letter to the President
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ofthisandthat.org. All rights
INAUGURATION, January 20, 2009
Drunk in its stale air
For two hundred years.
Fettered in mind and body,
The soul, the safe escape
To let me breathe the cries
Of my heart singing
Tears of mel-an-choly.
The tears flow free today
Washing the stains of blood
And sweat in brotherhood.
Raise the curtain then an'
Let the world look in
On this promised land --
We breathe free today.... almost.
--- Arshad M. Khan
We will be known forever by the tracks we leave.
--- Native American proverb
August 24, 2018 (posted August 28, 2018)
Mr. President: The phenomenon of a random pattern of winds coalescing into a
hurricane may not be caused by global warming, but warmer ocean temperatures
powering it up is entirely possible. Hawaii is experiencing one of the two worst
hurricanes in its history, and last week Kerala in India, was flooded almost in its
entirety by a record-breaking monsoon season leaving a million people homeless.
Not only is CO2 rising to levels not seen heretofore in several million years, but the
human fingerprint is indelible and irrefutable. The consistent delta 13C negation
proves it through the absence of this carbon isotope in the fossil fuels used.
Magnifying the problem are the newly-observed increasing amplitudes of the
tropospheric temperature cycle; here the researchers refer to the trigger of 'external
forcings' implying a human hand.
Like Rip Van Winkle, Donald Trump is fast asleep, seemingly unaware of the window
for action on climate change closing, while he recommends increased coal
consumption -- a preposterous throwback supported by Republicans in Congress.
What will it take to stir him from his sleep of childish vain glory?-- water balloons
thrown at Mar-a-Lago by a 100,000 demonstrators strikes a suitably puerile note ...
Our global temperatures are up 1.2 degrees Celsius changing weather patterns. The
dry spells are longer and worsened by high temperature records in numerous places
including Portugal and Greece. And the world seems to be burning up: Wildfires in
Greece, Australia, Central Africa, eastern China, Brazil and in the U.S. According to
the U.S. Department of the Interior, 71,449 wildfires occurred here in 2017 burning 10
Each year over 300,000 people die as a consequence of wildfires, over half that
number in Sub-Saharan Africa, the less-developed countries suffering disasters the
worst. Now that Trump has cut the budget for Regional Climate Centers, which
generate the weather early warning information helping to control and prevent
wildfires, the U.S. might be adding more to this macabre body count.
Extended dry spells are followed by rain, pouring down in the copious quantities
carried by warmer air, and in weather-events once uncommon but now more
frequent. The refrain, 'We have never experienced this before' is repeated often -- in
Japan last month, in Kerala last week, and in Hawaii now ... Hawaii, which also had 50
inches of rain earlier this year. Weather events supposed to occur once in a hundred
years are destined to become more frequent.
Monsoon floods as in Kerala are an annual event on the Indian subcontinent but not
in their present devastating form. In 2010, the Indus in Pakistan flooded in biblical
proportions: 20 million people were displaced, 2000 died, and one-fifth of Pakistan's
land area was affected. The long-term problem, however, is scarcity as warming
affects its source, the ice-melt in the Himalayas.
Climate change will force cooperating and understanding between countries or will
lead to devastating wars. Both India and Pakistan use the Indus and its tributaries.
The Mekong river is shared by six countries, and upstream China has built dams
causing problems downstream. The Nile was monopolized by Egypt but now Ethiopia
is building a dam upstream.
The world has to find a way to deal purposefully with climate change and in the
peaceful sharing of resources. Consequences otherwise are too unsettling to