Kelly Rigg is the Executive Director of the Global Call for Climate Action (GCCA).
Carbon logic dictates that if President Obama is at all serious about addressing climate change, he must help put an end to Canada’s tar sands folly, and say no to the Keystone XL pipeline.
Leaders of the world’s governments made a commitment to us more than 20 years ago. They adopted a legally binding convention aimed at “preventing dangerous interference with the climate system.”
It took them another 17 years or so to define what they actually meant by that, and came up with a compromise which has become the key benchmark for addressing climate change: holding the rise in global temperature since pre-industrial times below 2°C. More than 100 countries consider even that much of an increase to be unacceptable, as the very existence of low-lying and island states would still be at risk. But 2°C it is, and at least it’s a commitment.
Unfortunately, even accounting for the pledges made by governments to bring their greenhouse gas emissions under control, we are rapidly heading towards a 3.5-4° rise by the end of the century.
Last year, the World Bank put out a report examining what a 4° world would look like, and I for one lost a couple of nights sleep after reading it. In his foreword to the report, World Bank President, Dr. Jim Yong Kim said it was devastating, and he hoped it would shock people into action.
And as IMF Chief Christine Lagarde put it recently in the most eloquent of economic terms, “Unless we take action on climate change, future generations will be roasted, toasted, fried and grilled.”
So how urgent is it that we take action? Why does one more pipeline really matter? After all, we’re talking about 4° by the end of the century – seems like a long time off. Unfortunately, due to the long lag time in the climate system, it is what we do right now that will determine whether we stay under the 2° limit or not.
According to the International Energy Agency, within five short years we will have locked in all the emissions to take us to 2°. What they mean is that when you build a new coal-fired power plant with a 60 year lifespan, or invest billions of dollars to pump tar sands out of Canada, you need to calculate the CO2 which will be emitted over the full lifetime of the installation.
According to a new report by Oil Change International, “Between 2015 and 2050, the pipeline alone would result in emissions of 6.34 billion metric tons of CO2e. This amount is greater than the 2011 total annual carbon dioxide emissions of the United States.” In other words, Keystone XL is a perfect example of the “emissions lock in” that the International Energy Agency has warned about.
Put another way, the IEA has also warned that if we are to fulfill our commitment to keep temperature rise below 2°C, two thirds of the oil, coal, natural gas etc. that we already know about can’t be burnt.
Think about it. We only have around five years to transform our energy system. And around 1.3 billion people don’t even have access to electricity yet. The IEA says we could buy a few years extra time if we go all out on conservation and to use energy much more efficiently than we currently do, but the challenge is clear.
There is simply no (carbon) logic in moving forward with Keystone.
Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper has made no pretenses of being anything other than an international pariah when it comes to climate change. President Obama, on the other hand, promised in his second inaugural speech that “We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.” Well Mr. President, it’s time to show us what you’ve got.
#NOKXL Blogathon: April 12 - April 22, 2013
|860,000 Comments Submitted!
As of today, around 860,000 comments have been submitted so far and forwarded by our coalition partners to the United States Department of State. Please help us reach and, even, exceed our goal of one million comments opposing this pipeline.
The deadline for submission of public comments is April 22, 2013.
You Can Make a Difference
On March 1, 2013, the United States State Department released a Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) for the Presidential Permit application for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. The SEIS evaluates the potential environmental impacts. The purpose of this campaign is to obtain one million public comments in opposition to building this environmentally-destructive pipeline. We hope that this blogathon will make submission of public comments easier.
This effort is being coordinated with Bill McKibben of 350.org and in coalition with the Sierra Club, National Wildlife Federation, League of Conservation Voters, Natural Resources Defense Council, Oil Change International, and Bold Nebraska.
A victim of the recent tar sands oil spill in Mayflower, Arkansas, this bird says it all.
Photograph being used with permission from Fast For The Earth.
We have an exciting line up of prominent lawmakers, environmental activists, and Daily Kos diarists. Each one of them will be posting a diary in opposition to the Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline. Some guests will be including a brief "sample comment" that readers can copy and submit at the State Department website. The diaries and "sample comments" can be used as your comments! Readers who have specialized knowledge and skills relating to the pipeline, tar sands, climate change, or the petroleum industry may, of course, choose to create their own comments with additional details.
Comments written by you are reviewed by our government with no media filter. Three of our coalition partners will keep track of the number of comments submitted to the U.S. Department of State.
Please submit your comments through one of the below links:
Let your voice be heard. Our Daily Kos community organizers are Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, boatsie, rb137, JekyllnHyde, Onomastic, citisven, peregrine kate, DWG, and John Crapper, with Meteor Blades as the group's adviser.
- "A Million Comments Against Keystone XL" - 350.org will deliver your comments directly to the State Department and has a system set up so that you can customize your comment.
- "Tell President Obama: Reject Keystone XL!" - Sierra Club has a sample public comment that allows you to personalize your message.
- "Tell the State Department: #NoKXL" - Oil Change International has a very helpful template to formulate your comments.
Diary Schedule - All Times Pacific
More helpful details are in this diary - DK Blogathon Hosts Eco Coalition in #NOKXL Public Comment Campaign by Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse. Use hashtag #NOKXL to tweet all diaries posted during this blogathon.
1:00 pm: #NOKXL Blogathon: Your voice on the Keystone XL pipeline matters by DWG.
3:00 pm: Daniel Kessler, Media Campaigner for 350.org. (will be rescheduled)
11:00 am: Keystone XL: a pipeline THROUGH the US, not to it by dturnbull, Campaigns Director of Oil Change International.
1:00 pm: #NOKXL: Dilbit in the Pipeline by Agathena.
11:00 am: Keystone XL: Wildlife in the Crosshairs by Target Global Warming, Peter LaFontaine is the Energy Policy Advocate for the National Wildlife Federation.
1:00 pm: #NoKXL: The Future Is In Our Hands; Say No To The XL Pipeline Disaster by beach babe in fl.
3:00 pm: #NoKXL: Guess What's NOT in POTUS' Budget! (Rhymes with Shnipeline) by ericlewis0.
Note: All diaries for this day were rescheduled due to the Boston Marathon bombings.
8:00 am: KXL will carry as much carbon as all the cars on the West Coast, plus Michigan, NY, and Florida. by Bill McKibben, Founder of 350.org.
12:00 pm: #NoKXL: InsideClimate News Wins Pulitzer for Coverage of Kalamazoo River Dilbit Spill in 2010 by peregrine kate.
2:00 pm: Reject Keystone XL; Our Focus Should Be on Investing in a Sustainable Energy Future by Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA13), Member of the United States House of Representatives.
2:00 pm: #NoKXL: (un)Ethical Pipeline? by A Siegel.
3:00 pm: #NoKXL — The Pipeline To Oblivion: Memes From The Climate Letter Project by WarrenS.
11:00 am: My government doesn't believe in climate change by Tzeporah Berman, Canadian Environmentalist and Co-Founder of Forest Ethics.
1:00 pm: Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Member of the United States Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. (will be rescheduled)
3:00 pm: #NoKXL ?? The Keystone XL Pipeline, Deep Time, and the Nature of Humanity by gregladen.
10:00 am: Keystone East: Doubling down? Or admitting KXL defeat? by Roger Fox.
1:00 pm: Jane Kleeb, Executive Director of Bold Nebraska, Live Blogging from the Final KXL Pipeline Public Hearing in Nebraska. (will post a bit later)
2:00 pm: Watch it Now! Fantastic Live Hearing Opposing Keystone XL Pipeline from Nebraska by JekyllnHyde.
3:00 pm: Kelly Rigg, Executive Director of the Global Call for Climate Action.
Please remember to republish these diaries to your Daily Kos Groups. You can also follow all postings by clicking this link for the Climate Change SOS Blogathon Group. Then, click 'Follow' and that will make all postings show up in 'My Stream' of your Daily Kos page.