A Special Note From Nelson Bonner, CPR Initiative Board Member

December 31, 2021

Dear Friends,

I don’t know how to address you otherwise, but I do know this: Sometime in 2021 you signed on to Climate Protection and Restoration Initiative’s petition to President Biden to phase out dangerous fossil fuel greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions without delay. I did, too.

I also know that on Monday you received our end-of-year appeal in which we announced CPR Initiative’s second major campaign initiative—that fossil fuel companies be compelled, pursuant to the Toxic Substances Control Act, both to phase out GHG emissions and to remove legacy carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) pollution from the air and the ocean.

What all this means is that we are pressing nearly every remaining viable “lever” to force the major polluters to clean up their mess (Read more by Bill McKibben). Our purpose? To protect and restore our climate system, for our children and our grandchildren.

But now that we have the tiger by the tail, we’ve got no choice but to gear up to meet the anticipated and strident opposition of big oil, gas, and coal.

Allow me a word about myself. I am a 76-year-old grandfather, living in Santa Fe, New Mexico. In 2016, immediately after that year’s election, I founded a non-profit called Grandchildren’s Fund for a Fossil Fuel Free Future. My plan was to sue the fossil fuel profiteers (and their enablers) for damaging the life prospects of the world’s children and grandchildren. So I began to investigate. I soon heard about Dan Galpern and the legal theories he and a colleague had developed in 2015. They called it, Atmospheric Recovery Litigation: Making the Fossil Fuel Industry Pay to Restore a Viable Climate System.

And so I drove 1400 miles to Eugene, Oregon, to meet Dan. At my request, he proceeded to undertake a comprehensive analysis of my plan. Six weeks later, Dan patiently (and gently) explained that the shotgun approach I had in mind was fraught with legal barriers. So, it was back to the drawing board.

Just a couple of years later, however, Dan formed CPR Initiative in order to amplify the effectiveness of the climate work in which he had been engaged over the prior 12 years (Dan’s Bio). At Dan’s invitation I joined the CPR Initiative Board of Directors, impressed with his vision and determination to pursue several critical initiatives that aim, step-by-step, to resolve the climate crisis.

Step #1: Turn things around in the United States.

Fast forward to December 27, 2021—that is, Monday of this week. I found the email that you and I both received (about how Dan and three high level scientists are formally petitioning the EPA to invoke long-standing but untapped federal law) to be so compelling that I immediately sent in my maximum contribution and then went the extra mile to appeal, with my grandchildren in mind, to my own network of friends, relatives, and colleagues. And now, I send this note to you. How come? Because I deem CPR Initiative’s principled and learned approach to be the one most likely to succeed, particularly in light of the continuing, egregious stalemate in the US Congress.

But is this just my naïve opinion? Not at all.

Take, for instance, the just-published article by E. Donald Elliott in the The American Spectator (a highly conservative journal). Mr. Elliott has very impressive credentials, including as former general counsel of the Environmental Protection Agency. In What’s Biden’s Next Move on Climate, he points out that because of Senate intransigence, many in Congress are “upset because they don’t have a back-up plan to make good on the Biden administration’s ambitious commitment at the recent Glasgow conference to reduce U.S. emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) from fossil fuels by 50 percent by 2030.”

And then Mr. Elliott just lays it out:

The way to use existing executive authority against climate change is staring them in the face in the form of two pending citizen petitions filed by Dan Galpern. Galpern is a brilliant environmental lawyer from Eugene, Oregon, who founded the Climate Protection and Restoration Initiative (CPRI), a nonprofit that represents climate scientists including former NASA climate expert James Hansen, former EPA scientist Donn Viviani, and John Birks, professor emeritus at the University of Colorado. They are trying to get the Biden EPA to use existing law against climate change. (Emphasis added.)

Mr. Elliott proceeds to detail the merits of our citizen petitions — the one you and I have already signed to impose a rising fee on big oil, gas and coal (You can still sign on here!), and the one Dan announced this week, demanding not only an emissions phase-out, but also removal of excess atmospheric GHG pollution. These actions are simply critical, if we are to cease super-heating our planet and poisoning the oceans.

Now I am sure you have been bombarded with end-of-the-year appeals from many worthy organizations that you have supported for years. I sure have.

But I submit that their noble purposes cannot be achieved for much longer unless we succeed in securing an existential insurance policy, that is, a functional and effective safeguard against increasing climate catastrophe.1Donn Viviani, President of the CPR Initiative Board of Directors and a 30-year veteran scientist (retired) at EPA, recently made a similar point regarding the threat to the EPA’s past good works. Read more. This is precisely what CPR Initiative is attempting to do. To this end, CPR Initiative is demanding the full and effective use of existing law to resolve the climate crisis. As Mr. Elliott observed, the legal pathways that CPR Initiative has uncovered now stare us in the face.

Will you join me in making as generous a donation as you can? We need to do this on behalf of the other causes that we already support, and most especially on behalf of all our children and grandchildren. And specifically, we need to do this to ensure that Dan and his colleagues can press hard, through 2022, before key agencies, in the courts of law, and in the court of public opinion.

Please support this important work,2Climate Protection and Restoration Initiative is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Donations are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. and thank you.

In great appreciation,

Support our Work

Thank you, in advance, for considering a tax-deductible contribution to support this and other critical work for our future by CPR Initiative.


  • 1
    Donn Viviani, President of the CPR Initiative Board of Directors and a 30-year veteran scientist (retired) at EPA, recently made a similar point regarding the threat to the EPA’s past good works. Read more.
  • 2
    Climate Protection and Restoration Initiative is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Donations are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law.