Genevieve Guenther
3 min readJan 9, 2018

This is a transcript of my testimony at the People’s Hearing on the EPA’s repeal of the Clean Power Plan, organized by NY Attny General Eric Schneiderman, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, and NYC Councilmember Costa Constantinides, hosted by The New School, 9 January 2018.

To Scott Pruitt and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency:

I am a part-time professor in the Literary Studies department of The New School and affiliate faculty at the Tishman Environment and Design Center, but today I testify in my capacity not as an academic and writer, but as a mother. I speak to you today on behalf of my eight-year-old son, and on behalf of all the children of New York State. These children deserve a habitable planet. America must not repeal, but enforce the Clean Power Plan. In fact, America must go all the way to powering our economy on 100% renewables. In order to have a 66%— just slightly better than 50/50 — chance to halt global warming at 2°C, cumulative global emissions must remain below 800 gigatons of CO2. That gives us less than 20 years until all greenhouse gas emissions must cease.

If we continue to emit greenhouse gases at our current rate, we will warm our climate between 3 and 4.5° C over my son’s lifetime. Mr. Pruitt, you like to repeat the misleading talking point that we cannot measure our effect on the climate with “precision.” But here’s what you never say: we don’t need any more precision than we already enjoy to know that warming our world even just 3°C will kill people.

The glaciers that supply drinking water for millions are already melting. Where are these people going to get fresh water? The oceans next to which billions of people live are already rising. Where are these people going to go? A recent study demonstrated that American farmers will no longer be able to grow corn in the midwest once temperatures rise 4°C. What are we going to eat? And what about the eastern hurricanes and floods, the western droughts and wildfires, the northern cold snaps, the southern heat waves that will bring untold destruction to the families that my son’s generation will want to raise and protect.

Mr. Pruitt, it doesn’t have to be this way. We have a choice. We have a choice between destruction and death, on the one hand, or the transition to clean power, on the other.

Let us choose life. Let us chose to draw down our greenhouse gas emisssions. And in the process let us create millions of jobs, lower the cost of public health and safety, and invest in our future so that my son and his beautiful friends — all beautiful children everywhere — can live safely on the only planet that sustains their lives.

Thank you.

Genevieve Guenther

Author. Founder & Director of Lecturer at The New School & Affiliate Faculty at its Tishman Environment and Design Center.