As we mark the July 4 anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, along with the recent Louisiana Ten Commandments law, Vermont and New York’s climate superfund laws, the Hawaii climate lawsuit settlement and other ongoing lawsuits, as well as the competing political claims about “energy independence”, I asked myself: Isn’t it time for a new Declaration of Independence and set of Commandments, given that the most recent Mauna Loa weekly CO2 level of 427 ppm is part of a rapidly rising, not decreasing, trend, and given the need to focus ourselves in 2024 on the question of, “Independence from what to what?”

I answered myself: “Yes”, and thus the following Principles.

First: In 2015, Pope Francis issued his “10 Commandments on climate change”, which were part of 184 pages on the environment. I don’t have that long, but let’s start with a few of his Commandments to build from [with my bracketed updates]: 1) Think of future generations [see the 1987 UN definition of “sustainability” as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”]; 2) Embrace alternative energy sources [from “polluting fossil fuels” to clean and renewable energy]; 3) Consider pollution’s [and climate change’s] effect on the poor; 4) Be humble; 5) Educate yourself; and 6) Believe you can make a difference.

Second: I want our new Declaration to educate some and motivate more to “make a difference” in the process of another oft-used but elusive concept – “energy transition” – which I define as a critical and essential means to achieving the goal of a sustainable future for future generations and our ecosystems by shift more rapidly from an energy mix based on fossil fuels to one that produces very limited, if not zero, carbon emissions, based on renewable energy sources as well as sufficient transmission and storage resources to maximize the effectiveness of clean energy’s generation.

Here goes:

Whereas in the Course of human events it becomes imperative for humans to dissolve the bonds that have tied them to fossil fuels in order to act on deadly global warming and dissolve our dependence on fossil fuels, and to undertake to sustain all living ecosystems on Earth by mitigating and reversing the destructive damage to the health and safety of all creatures great and small, and


Whereas climate change, resulting primarily from the combustion of fossil fuels, is an immediate and existential threat to all of our communities, environment, and economies, and

Whereas the inalienable rights to live in a clean, unpolluted environment and to pass on to future generations a world no worse than what we inherited are at increasing risk from overuse of carbon-based fuels, and

Whereas it is essential to immediately implement local, state, national and international enforceable measures for transitioning to a world in 2050 based on 100% clean, non-fossil renewable energy with minimal-to-zero greenhouse gas emissions, and

Whereas a recent national survey of registered voters found that while 66% support transitioning the U.S. economy from fossil fuels to 100% clean energy by 2050, fewer support building the needed clean energy infrastructure (wind and solar farms and their supporting power lines) in their local area, and

Whereas rapid permitting and development of floating offshore wind farms (especially deepwater floating farms) outside local areas is essential to achieve a sustainable energy transition and independence from foreign fuels to achieve state and national decarbonization goals, and

Whereas governments must lead now by 1) accelerating investment in renewable energy like offshore wind, solar, geothermal, mass transit, electric vehicles, and energy storage measures; 2) holding polluters responsible for their actions, in the courts and through financial penalties (such as a carbon tax); and 3) by ending investments in fossil fuel companies and denying permits and approvals to further extraction, transport, processing, or combustion of fossil fuels,

Therefore we citizens of the 50 United States and global neighbors hereby declare our independence from fossil fuels, and from (apologies) … Independence Day fireworks which, according to one study, nationally introduce 42% more pollutants into the air than are found on a normal day.

Why? “For the times they are [must be] a-changin’.”

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