MacArthur: Request for Summit

This petition will go to the MacArthur Foundation and to other philanthropies.

Dear President Stasch and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation,

Since your philanthropy has decided this year to have a consequent impact on the biggest problems facing all of us, you have opened the opportunity to respond to the most critical and complex challenge we must face: the climate crisis.  Climate stabilization is absolutely necessary for sustaining a viable future for our civilization.

I am writing to explain the opportunity the MacArthur Foundation now has to produce an effective response for climate stabilization.

Mounting evidence indicates that we actually face a climate emergency, not represented in the IPCC Reports, IPCC Budgets, or the Paris Climate Change Agreement.  Climate change is already dangerous at just 1°C of warming — major impacts are emerging now (such as polar ice melt and extreme weather) that are far worse than anticipated.  Although the Paris Agreement appears to adequately address the crisis, its measures fall alarmingly short: voluntary pledges only slow the increase in warming, bringing us 3.5°C warming this century. It allows carbon pollution to continue for decades, vastly inconsistent with its 1.5-2°C goal.  Moreover, it relies on unproven, farfetched technologies to suck carbon from the atmosphere after far exceeding emissions’ limits.

Contrast this with a recent study, “The Sky’s Limit” from Oil Change International, which finds that the potential carbon emissions from the world’s current fossil fuel operations would take us beyond 2°C of warming. Put simply: to destroy civilization, we just need to keep doing what we are doing; to salvage a livable future, we must act boldly and soon.

Yet our political leaders and the American public do not understand what measures we must take to respond effectively.  We don’t know how fast we must decarbonize our energy systems, nor by what means and mechanisms.  The misinformation, distortion, and superficial explanations from our nation’s political system and journalists have obscured reality. Even while the US must lead the world, we are stalling and caught in political gridlock. 

But we do have an opportunity to shift the impasse: the 2016 Democratic Platform calls for a Climate Summit, wherein the dramatic scope, scale, and urgency of the crisis can be explained and validated.  It cannot be overemphasized: public and political understanding is essential for effective climate stabilization. At this time, nothing short of a Summit will suffice.

However, it is unlikely our new president could effectively fund, stage, or broadcast the Climate Summit.  Nor is it likely she could lead the nation to climate stability following the Summit.  That is because: (1) she does not have the political capital, (2) she would be perceived as politically biased where your Foundation would be considered objective and credible, (3) sufficient public funding would be difficult to obtain, (4) with the new administration as sponsor and lead, results would not be accepted by the public.

There is nowhere else to turn, but to philanthropy. The MacArthur Foundation could be the funding agent for the Climate Summit. Its allocation of $100 mil­lion for 100&Change, not limited to non-profit agencies, makes that plausible. The neutral MacArthur Foundation’s staging and results could be confidently promulgated publicly.

To send your own letter to the MacArthur Foundation, write to:

Ms. Julia Stasch, President
John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
140 S. Dearborn Street
Chicago, IL 60603-5285

So I am asking for your help, to fund an effective Climate Summit that leads the way to effective responses that actually stabilize our climate.  And it is necessary that the Summit occur early in the next administration; in time to guarantee a viable future for our children.  Because how we act now and in these next few years will determine that future for all of us.  If the climate is not stabilized, then all the other good work of Philanthropy would go for naught on a rapidly warming planet.  Everything we care about is at stake; please help lead us to a viable, clean, and healthy future.

Please share these letters we are sending with your staff and Board of Directors.  

Will you sign?


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