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Get involved in nation’s  top issue: climate change

To the editor:

President Obama has done a lot I agree with, but there’s a lot I don’t support, too. To name a few: I think he should close Guantanamo, end the war in Afghanistan faster, use that money for urgent domestic priorities and enact much stronger legislation to solve our health care crisis and prevent Wall Street and the banks from wrecking our economy again.

But the most urgent issue we face is stopping and reducing climate change. Sure, compared to Mitt Romney and most Republicans in Congress, Obama admits it’s happening and needs serious attention. But he hasn’t done nearly enough, from the failure at the international Copenhagen conference of 2009 to his barely even mentioning the issue during the campaign until Superstorm Sandy, the latest extreme weather event, forced him to.

Another example is the Keystone pipeline proposed by energy giant Trans-Canada. Our leading climate expert, James Hansen of NASA, has said that if the pipeline is built and that dirty tar sands oil is burned, it’s “game over for the climate.”

A year ago, Obama delayed the pipeline, saying it needed more time for review. Yet at the same time, he’s allowed work to begin on the lower half of the pipeline in Texas and Oklahoma, sparking a protest movement of ranchers, environmentalists and citizens concerned about their land and water as well as the climate.

On Nov. 18, thousands demonstrated at the White House as part of a 20-city tour by author/activist Bill McKibben of 350.org and other environmental leaders. Locally, I recommend two ways to let Obama and Congress know you want stronger action to protect the environment and to build a clean energy economy.

Sign up for a monthly national action alert postcard from the Amherst-based organization 20/20Action (www.2020action.org, 549-8118). And visit www.climateactionnowma.org to join local projects and campaigns.

John Berkowitz


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