With the proverbial bell tolling for the end of the Arctic ice sheet, as well as for the Obama presidency, dozens of leading scientists are calling on the president to pass a permanent ban on fossil fuel drilling in the Arctic—one that cannot be easily undone by his climate-denying successor, Donald Trump.

On Monday, 34 prominent scientists, including former members of the Obama administration, sent a letter to the outgoing president explaining why such a ban is crucial for the preservation of the pristine Arctic ecosystem, as well as for the future of the planet.

“You have identified disruption of the earth’s climate as a significant concern of your administration because it poses a grave threat to the future of our planet,” the letter states.

But, the letter continues, the president’s efforts on climate will be betrayed so long as the Arctic remains under future threat of fossil fuel development:

“Such exploitation,” the letter continues, “places our needs above those of future generations, and undercuts efforts to address climate disruption in a responsible manner. The basic tenets of good citizenship call for  thoughtful, responsible, enlightened action—including restraint—to address climate disruption…Your strong leadership these past eight years indicates that you know these things to be right and true.”

The scientists conclude with the plea to “take yet another difficult, courageous step.”

“With Trump threatening to return to the days of ‘drill, baby, drill,’ President Obama should be doing everything in his power to secure our public lands and waters, climate, and communities from the significant and irreversible dangers of fossil fuel development.”
—Marissa Knodel, Friends of the Earth