The photo is of several Wellesley residents who teamed up with 350.org Massachusetts Chapter to send a message to Obama/Markey this week in Boston.
The conclusion from the U.S. State Department’s Environmental Impact Statement that the proposed Keystone XL pipeline would have “no significant impacts” on the environment is disgraceful. Leading climate scientists have deemed the report’s conclusions “without merit in many critical areas.”
The critical environmental issue is not the risk of spills due to the integrity of the pipeline connecting Alberta to our coasts. The issue is the certain increase in emissions of heat-trapping carbon dioxide gas that would result if we open the spigot to one of the planet’s dirtiest fuels: tar sands. Scientists estimate that the Alberta tar sands contain 360 to 510 billion tons of carbon – more than double that of all oil burned in human history! No impact on the environment?
I think not.
Approving the Keystone XL pipeline would deal a devastating blow to our climate, environment and national interests. We need leadership! President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry can provide it given their knowledge on the climate issue, but their decision will not be easy given the overwhelming economic and political clout of the fossil fuel industry.
James Hansen, the most respected climate scientist in the world, summarized it best recently: “The science on climate change has been in for a quarter of a century. There are no more mixed messages, just catastrophe after catastrophe. The President/Secretary of State stand at a fork in the road: rejecting the pipeline will show the world we are serious and determined to do what’s right by the people, planet and future generations.”
It boils down to this: Obama/Kerry know what the right decision is, but will they have the courage to make it? Will we finally realize “hope and change” with respect to climate change? We’ll find out any day now with their decision on the Keystone XL pipeline.
This is such an important decision with global/national implications, here are Dave’s ask of all of us:
1. Vote for politicians who say and do the right thing with respect to climate change. Write them to tell them that you will work to get them elected if they do the right thing, but that you will work to get them unelected if they do not.
2. Because we are already paying the price of carbon emissions (floods, droughts, super storms, wild fires, higher insurance premiums, higher food prices), we must put a price on carbon emissions. Such a price would drive adoption of energy efficiency and renewable energy. Learn about the leading policy options for implementing this (carbon tax, fee-and-dividend, or cap-and-trade). This recent NY Times Op-Ed by a former Republican Secretary of State lays out a great argument for a fee-and-dividend approach: http://online.wsj.com/article/
3. Sign up to get a monthly email from the leading climate scientist in the world, James Hansen. As you learn more about the science of climate change and its implications, you will be well equipped to win the conversation with family, friends and those in your social network. You can sign up here: http://columbia.us1.list-
-written by: David Flannery, Wellesley, MA