For those of us who are downright scared about what the Keystone XL pipeline could mean for the climate, there are three main reasons to ask the president to say no to the pipe -- approving it will open up the tar sands and create huge amounts of emissions; the industry is already feeling the squeeze, so approving the pipe gives them a lifeline; and there are powerful social movements made up from indigenous communities, young people, farmers, ranchers, and landowners that oppose it.
The first argument against the pipe isn't just supported by us treehugging types; no, it's backed up by the country's most prominent climate scientists who Mondaywrote to the president to ask him to reject KXL:
"Eighteen months ago some of us wrote you about the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, explaining why in our opinion its construction ran counter to both national and planetary interests," wrote the scientists. "Nothing that has happened since has changed that evaluation; indeed, the year of review that you asked for on the project made it clear exactly how pressing the climate issue really is."
Indeed the past year has shown that climate change is here. A few months after Superstorm Sandy flooded parts of the Northeast, NOAA announced last week that the average temperature for 2012 was 55.3 degrees Fahrenheit, 3.2 degrees above normal and a full degree higher than the previous warmest year recorded -- 1988. A full degree warmer!
After he was reelected, the president declared that climate change was a top priority for him and that he intended to embark on a listening tour to solve the problem. Well, I hope he listens to these scientists, who include James Hansen, Michael Mann, and Jason Box -- all men of rock solid reputations who have studied climate change for decades. They know what KXL would mean, and thank goodness they had the courage to tell the president.
You can tell him too on Feb. 17 in DC, at his house, when thousands of concerned citizens will come to Washington, DC to oppose the Keystone XL pipeline. if we do this right, it could be the largest climate rally in history. Rally information is here. Hope to see you then.