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It’s time to speak on global issues | Letters

March 29, 2013 · Updated 3:49 PM
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Editor,

Please help me save my daughter’s future and … your daughter’s also.

The president is about to make, arguably, the most important decision of his presidency and possibly in history. The decision is whether to approve the proposed XL Pipeline, which would connect the Alberta Tar Sands to refineries owned by the Koch brothers in Texas. According to one of the world’s leading climatologists, NASA’s James Hansen, the tar sands are a “climate bomb” which, if allowed to reach its full potential, means “game over for the climate.”

The XL pipeline is the fuse to that bomb. It is critical to our future that this bomb not go off.

Recently, the U.S. State Department determined that there will be no adverse impacts from allowing the pipeline because, if there were no pipeline, the material could be transported by rail. Let’s examine this decision.

The transport of oil by rail would cost $20 per barrel while transporting it via the pipeline would cost only $5/ barrel. That’s four times less, which would make the price at the pump cheaper. This would be an incentive to use more oil resulting in significantly more CO2 released into the atmosphere at a time when we need to drastically reduce CO2 emissions.

That’s an adverse impact.

Trains rarely derail and when they do the material is largely contained. Pipelines always leak and sometimes rupture spilling oil contaminating rivers, soil and groundwater. Furthermore, this company has a terrible track record for spills and cover up.

That’s an adverse impact.

This pipeline encourages the development of Alberta’s Tar Sands.

That is an adverse impact.

The fossil fuel industry has spent $146 million convincing the American public to ignore this issue. Unfortunately, they did not convince the forces of nature. With 396 ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere and sea levels rising we are in phase two of the CO2 Crisis: Mitigation and Adaptation. Prevention is no longer an option.

A shift to a fossil free future is critically overdue. We’ve wasted two decades. According to the International Energy Agency, each year we delay adds $500 billion to the costs of dealing with its impacts.

We have experimented with burning fossil fuels and the results are in. Our climate and ocean are destabilized. Witness the bizarre, extreme weather we’ve seen recently: super storms, floods one year followed by droughts the next, vast forests on fire, unprecedented melting of the polar ice cap (our sunshade) and glaciers. The ocean is 30 percent more acidic then before the discovery of petroleum and impacting its inhabitants: coral reefs, oysters and pteropods.

As Bill McKibben says, “When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.” We must let President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry know that the citizens of the USA are not willing to trade our future to make the multi-billionaire Koch brothers richer. Two critical strategies are necessary to implement immediately: a carbon fee and refund bill, and to disinvest from corporations mining fossil fuels. Let’s stop being fossil fools and be better ancestors.

Learn more at the Citizens’ Climate Lobby website. Comments can be addressed to keystonecomments@state.gov or contact President Obama today at 202-456-1414 or www.whitehouse.gov/contact/

 

Gary Piazzon
Coupeville

 


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