Dear next President:
The words "climate change" are pretty unequivocal, stating that we can expect change. "Change" implies things that we can't necessarily predict, in as much as we can predict anything weather related. Currently, most of the east coast is shutting down. Our power grid does not contain enough on-site, distributed generation to keep separate places powered when others go down; they're all part of a grid. Our mobility options are shutting down – including roads for single-occupant personal vehicles. Schools are closing, and businesses with them. The economic loss solely from all of this cessation of activity will be staggering. Yes, the inevitable destruction counts as GDP – great! growth! – but the on the ground reality is that this is bad for the people and other living things in the storm's path, it's bad for our national economy, and it's bad for the world. That doesn't begin to consider the environmental, health, or community impacts.
We could keep arguing senselessly about whether climate change is happening, but what's the point? Look at the weather events of the last year, and then let's get out that ol' can-do American attitude toward leading and finding solutions to problems. The nice thing about science is that it doesn't care if you believe it, but that doesn't absolve us of taking advantage of what could otherwise destroy us.
So, a road map: when you take office next year, I'd respectfully suggest you fundamentally re-prioritize: focus on local, sustainable energy production – even if connected by regional or national grids. Focus on localized food production systems, even if connected by regional or (inter)national distribution systems. Focus on creating and supporting myriad mobility options – not just more roads for cars. And last but not least, focus on creating regulatory certainty around carbon. Cap it. Trade it. Market base it, but let's get serious about adapting and leading in this changing world. Doing this will not only show that the US can still lead… it may even (gasp!) create fantastic, massive new business opportunities around which our entrepreneurs can plug exciting, new, money-making, job-creating, tax-generating solutions! Ooooh… and there may even be "externalities," side effects such as cleaner air, healthier kids, cleaner water, and other trivialities.
Constituent #257,000,241 (I may be off a bit on the number)
PS: Sorry if I'm long-winded. Turns out that snarky missives about saving the world don't really fit on Twitter.