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Yale 62

AAG Climate Emergency Statement

By Rutherford ‘Rud’ Platt and colleagues

The following statement was adopted by the American Association of Geographers as developed and co-authored by an ad hoc group of senior colleagues around the U.S. that I assembled this past spring. After graduating from Yale and spending a couple of years on a Navy icebreaker, I entered the University of Chicago Law School where I became a geographer(!). This unlikely turn (rather vexing to my parents in New York), resulted from the posthumous influence of my uncle Robert S. Platt (Yale, 1914) who had chaired the U. of C. Geography Department for many years. After graduating from law school, I crossed the Midway to pursue a doctorate in urban geography under an early round of HUD Urban Studies Fellowships. One of the most famous Chicago geographers then was Gilbert F. White, a Quaker and brilliant advocate for applying science to public policy. As my principal mentor and lifelong friend, Gilbert nudged me to devote my career as a Professor of Geography and Planning Law at the University of Massachusetts Amherst to research, public service, and teaching on critical environmental problems. The AAG statement is the most recent reflection of that perspective.

Please note: the statement will open in a new tab for you: AAG Climate Emergency Statement.

We welcome your comments below.

5 comments to Climate Emergency

  • john hatch

    Wow! All there in a nice, but large, nutshell! Thank you. Now for a Coffee Hour discussion, pleaes.

  • Ken Merkey

    Rud, while you were on an icebreaker I was on a nuclear submarine. It is a fool’s mission to develop a zero emissions policy without full scale nuclear power development. If it good enough for France and Japan, why not us?

    Who is going to get the Chinese, the Indians and the Russians to sign off on such a policy? We are a small part of the problem.

    You lost me when your anti-Trump bias bled through. Trump’s science focus got us the vaccine in record time. This is a big tent and unless we can work together and drop the politics we might as well pack it in now.

    BTW, who is going to get our feckless, corrupt politicians, at every level of government, to see the light? Woke-ness, diversity, inclusion, and equity seem to be more important than climate change. Climate change has to be priority ONE.

  • Chip Neville

    Great statement. I just hope the politicians of the world listen.

  • Rutherford H Platt

    Ken —

    Trump’s science focus???? Pulling out of Paris Climate Agreement? Sorry but you lost me.

    Nuclear was not mentioned pro or con in the AAG statement like many other possible strategies

  • Ken Merkey

    Science had nothing to do with pulling out of a flawed agreement that put the USA at a distinct disadvantage. Sorry that you are lost but maybe you should back-off the Kool-Aid.

    The wimps who craft our energy and environmental policy are too cowed to even bring up nuclear. The liberal ideology does not permit it. It is time to be bold and realistic. Renewables will not get us there and, even if it did, the cost would be prohibitive.

    Even though Biden called him a xenophobe, Trump understood the dangers of Covid and shut down travel from China early. Forget science, does Biden have any focus whatsoever? Why kill Keystone, why open borders, why roll over to the Taliban, why strand Americans and friendly Afghans to be slaughtered? I could go on for pages but you get the point.