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John Darkow, Columbia Missourian

About that White House Wish List

A Leaked Note from the North Pole


Just yesterday, a North Pole elf leaked the following letter. He asked me to share it with others before it’s too late.

Dear President T,

I am in receipt of your “Christmas Wish List” letter from the White House, which includes a request for a new set of 24-karat gold plated Honma golf clubs.

I regret to inform you that you will be receiving, instead, a symbolic lump of coal in your stocking. Please do not burn it.

Mrs. Claus and I are not happy. Because of climate change, the ice around our home at the North Pole is melting and our reindeer are hungry. In just the last 10 years, the population of my polar bear friends in the Beaufort Sea has declined by 40 percent. Santa Barbara, where I really like to vacation, is also at risk. That’s just the beginning.

While my elves have been busy making toys for good boys and girls, I have been surfing the Internet. Do you realize, President T, that my workshop is located at one of the ground zeros for climate change?

I’ve read that there is a 100 percent chance the North Pole will have no late-summer ice by the end of the century if warming reaches or exceeds 2 degrees Celsius, and in the last 10 years, the thickest and oldest ice in the Arctic Ocean has dropped by 95 percent. Your recent actions to repeal the Clean Power Plan, withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, and weaken fuel-efficiency standards tragically put us on course to exceed 2°C. My home and workshop will disappear. Polar bears, ice seals, walruses, my elves, as well as Mrs. Claus and I will lose our habitat.

Also, Dasher and Comet are not dashing right now. Scientists and indigenous peoples have known for years that reindeer are suffering because of climate change. Many reindeer can’t get to their food because it’s covered with rain-hardened ice instead of snow, and they are losing their tundra habitat, which will be exacerbated by potential drilling of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Caribou and wild reindeer populations have declined by nearly 50 percent during the last two decades.

I’ve been keeping a list of climate change problems, and checking it twice. The list is very long, President T, and includes: record-breaking temperatures, drought, massive fires like the one you saw in Northern California, insect infestations, melting glaciers and permafrost, bigger storms, more flooding, greater global insecurity, ocean acidification, and increased death and disease. The Fourth National Climate Assessment is the real Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come.

Santa Barbara and the beautiful Central Coast of California are especially vulnerable, President T. Like the North Pole, this beautiful area is also ground zero for the impacts from climate change, especially from more extreme fires like the Thomas Fire; debris flows; beach, bluff, and cliff erosion; loss of fresh water supplies; sea-level rise; higher land and water temperatures; submerged estuaries and wetlands; and harm to health. And, it is getting much worse. All of this is very, very costly and sad.

Candidly, I’m having a little trouble with my “Ho, Ho, Ho” this year.

With my lump of coal, I’m sending you a message that America needs you to lead the world in reducing the causes of climate change right now, and not make climate change worse. This really would be America First. Just call Santa Barbara’s Community Environmental Council and get some great ideas.

Climate change is jeopardizing my home, my favorite place to vacation, America, and the world. Don’t be the Grinch who truly steals Christmas, President T. Don’t deprive boys and girls of their North Pole and a planet on which they can thrive. Join the very smart scientists – 97 percent of whom believe that climate change is real and extremely likely due to human activities – and use your powers to reduce greenhouse gases right away. Okay?

If you do, I will be bringing you some beautiful solar panels for Mar-a-Lago next year. And the golf clubs. Do we have a deal?

Regards,

Santa Claus

cc: Secretary Ryan Zinke

Editor’s Note: Santa’s omniscience appears limited to ethical behavior and not prescience as Zinke was “retired” by tweet after this letter was leaked.

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