No To Keystone XL: Playing Chicken With Climate Change, We All Lose

Michael Klare’s written another good summary of where we are with the Keystone XL pipeline and why it’s so important to stop it.

If you can’t join the thousands for Forward on Climate on the National Mall on Sunday, 17 February, please pray that President Obama, new Secretary of State John Kerry, Canadian foreign minister John Baird, and TransCanada CEO Russ Girling will find a way out of this predicament. It’s gone way past access to oil or American jobs.

Starting today, every decision we make has to move us toward a low-carbon future. Moving ahead with the Keystone XL takes us 180 degrees in the wrong direction. And pray for all those who are putting their bodies on the line to stop construction along the Keystone XL route–facing injury,jail, fines, and loss of homes and land–for our sake.

You can send a note to President Obama asking him not to approve the Keystone XL here.

Michael T. Klare writes:

Presidential decisions often turn out to be far less significant than imagined, but every now and then what a president decides actually determines how the world turns. Such is the case with the Keystone XL pipeline, which, if built, is slated to bring some of the “dirtiest,” carbon-rich oil on the planet from Alberta, Canada, to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast. In the near future, President Obama is expected to give its construction a definitive thumbs up or thumbs down, and the decision he makes could prove far more important than anyone imagines. It could determine the fate of the Canadian tar-sands industry and, with it, the future well-being of the planet. If that sounds overly dramatic, let me explain. …

The battle over Keystone XL was initially joined in the summer of 2011, when environmental writer and climate activist Bill McKibben and, which he helped found, organized a series of non-violent anti-pipeline protests in front of the White House to highlight the links between tar sands production and the accelerating pace of climate change. At the same time, farmers and politicians in Nebraska, through which the pipeline is set to pass, expressed grave concern about its threat to that state’s crucial aquifers. After all, tar-sands crude is highly corrosive, and leaks are a notable risk. …

Opponents of Keystone XL, who are planning a mass demonstration at the White House on February 17th, have also come to view the pipeline battle in epic terms. “Alberta’s tar sands are the continent’s biggest carbon bomb,” McKibben wrote at TomDispatch. “If you could burn all the oil in those tar sands, you’d run the atmosphere’s concentration of carbon dioxide from its current 390 parts per million (enough to cause the climate havoc we’re currently seeing) to nearly 600 parts per million, which would mean if not hell, then at least a world with a similar temperature.” Halting Keystone would not by itself prevent those high concentrations, he argued, but would impede the production of tar sands, stop that “carbon bomb” from further heating the atmosphere, and create space for a transition to renewables. “Stopping Keystone will buy time,” he says, “and hopefully that time will be used for the planet to come to its senses around climate change.” …

Read the rest at Keystone XL: A Presidential Decision That Could Change the World by Michael T. Klare

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