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Video: ‘Developing Tar Sands Means Losing Control of the Climate’

“If we fully develop the tar sands, we will certainly lose control of the climate. We will get to a point where we can not walk back from the cliff,” says climate scientist Dr. John Abraham. The Keystone XL pipeline is the lynch pin to developing the tar sands in Alberta.

As many of you know, I’ve been paying attention to the Keystone pipeline development since 2011 when it was under review by the State Department. I joined a group of religious leaders to deliver thousands of petitions to Dr. Kerri-Ann Jones, Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, asking her to to stop the pipeline. I said to her, “If this decision about the pipeline was made purely based on the climate science, we wouldn’t be here having this discussion.” She didn’t disagree. The exploitation of tar sands will significantly worsen the climate.

Now, new scientific data shows that developing the tar sands (and the pipeline to carry it) is worse than previously known. The video above shows climate scientists countering the notion that the climate impacts of the Keystone XL pipeline are small compared to total U.S. global greenhouse gas emissions. Nathan Lemphers, a Senior Policy Analyst with the Pembina Institute, details how the Keystone XL is a critical ingredient to significant expansion of tar sands. He dispels the myth being promoted by the tar sands oil industry that tar sands development is inevitable with our without Keystone XL. That’s not true. All other routes are similarly being blocked.

Lorne Stockman, Research Director for Oil Change International, announced new research that shows that the emissions from tar sands oil are worse than originally believed. This is because the climate emissions from a byproduct of tar sands, petroleum coke which is made in the refinery process and is used in coal-fired power plants, have not been previously considered. “If Keystone is approved,” says Dr. Danny Harvey, professor at the University of Toronto, “we’re locking in several more decades of fossil fuels and higher levels of carbon dioxide and global warming.”

“Climate change is the story related to Keystone. The drought and heat wave in Texas cost Texans $5.2 billion. Hurricane Sandy cost us $70 billion,” says Dr. John Abraham, climate scientist at the University of St. Thomas. “Some people say it’s too expensive to develop clean energy. I say it’s too expensive not to.”

After the largest climate protests in U.S. history were held in Washington, D.C., in 2011, the fight against the Keystone XL went back to the regions along the pipeline route.

Hundreds have been arrested in their attempts to block the bulldozers. There are farmers engaged in numerous local law suits against TransCanada’s pressure on local governments to use “imminent domain” to force them to give up their property to the corporation. There are First Nations and American Indian communities in treaty battles to keep TransCanada’s massive machinery off their lands.

There are Buddhist nuns walking the pipeline route in prayers for the earth and her people. A 92-year-old Lakota grandmother stood in front and blocked the giant rigs hauling pipe. Twenty-somethings are launching “tree sits” in the construction path. A Baptist church in Nacogdoches, Texas, near the pipeline route, has launched a new young adult and youth ministry specifically for and with Keystone XL activists.

On Feb. 17, the movement will come back to Washington, D.C.

You come too. We need you. Now is the time for all good Americans to come to the aid of their country. And for all good Christians to come to the aid of our world’s most vulnerable.

{ 2 comments… add one }

  • klem January 29, 2013, 11:25 am

    The Keystone pipeline will be approved, there is no doubt about that now. You can go to Washington and protest all you like, but you’ve already elected Obama, he does not need your green support anymore. He can do whatever he wants now. The Keystone pipeline will be approved rest assured.

    Besides, the pipeline already crosses the border into the USA. Phase I has been delivering oil to Illinois (Barracks home turf) since 2010, and phase II has been delivering oil to Oklahoma since 2011.

    read about it here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keystone_Pipeline

    cheers

  • Rose January 29, 2013, 11:53 am

    Thanks for your note. The Keystone XL is Phase 4 of the project. This is the segment that is the lynch pin to full development of the Alberta tar sands. The regular Keystone has been operational for several years and carries primarily conventional crude, not primarily bitumen tar sands. It is the Keystone XL- Phase 4 that will significantly open the Alberta tar sands and exponentially worsen global warming.

    I don’t disagree with you about the nature of human sin or of politicians. But as a person of faith I gotta do what the Lord tells me to do and that’s to protect creation to the best of my ability based on the best human knowledge and the best spiritual wisdom. So my Christian conscience says I need to do what I can do to stop the Keystone XL. And God’s got to jump in and take care of human sin and wily politicians.

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