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World leaders call on President Obama to reject Keystone XL
Today a group of Nobel Peace Prize winners, including former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, issued a letter to President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry, calling on them to reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Their letter urges President Obama to seize this opportunity to lead on climate change and inspire millions of Americans through bold action to combat this looming crisis. The Laureates’ call to action also comes the day after Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Representative Henry Waxman (D, CA-33) published an op-ed reminding us that Secretary of State John Kerry has all the information he needs to say NO, once and for all, to the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. We hope Secretary Kerry and President Obama will listen to this mounting cry to protect our communities and wildlife and say no to this dangerous and polluting project.
“You stand on the brink of making a choice that will define your legacy on one of the greatest challenges humanity has ever faced – climate change,” the Laureates said in their letter. Carter joins a growing group of world leaders and more than 2 million Americans who have urged President Obama to say no to Keystone XL. They present the decision as a leadership opportunity:
“As you deliberate on the Keystone Xl tar sands pipeline, you are poised to make a decision that will signal either a dangerous commitment the status quo, or bold leadership that will inspire millions counting on you to do the right thing for our shared climate.”
And yesterday, in an article published on CNN.com, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and Representative Henry Waxman highlighted the extensive information included in the State Department’s own analysis that demonstrates the massive risks posed by the pipeline, all of which should lead to its rejection. The pair of legislators points out that the State Department’s Final Environmental Review Statement acknowledges that tar sands oil generates 17% more greenhouse gas emissions than conventional petroleum. This means Keystone XL would add the emissions equivalent of adding 5.7 million cars driving on our roads. At a time when scientists warn we are running out of time to avoid the most devastating impacts of climate change, and that we must immediately reduce our carbon emissions, we simply cannot afford to expand even higher carbon sources of fuel, like the tar sands.
Photo credit: Garth Lenz
Whitehouse and Waxman also noted that the State Department’s FEIS actually acknowledges that Keystone XL will have a significant impact on the rate that tar sands are developed if oil prices fall below a certain threshold and pipeline capacity remains constrained. It’s worth noting that these two pieces are exactly what will happen if we continue to promote excellent demand-reduction policies and stand up to polluting tar sands infrastructure – both of which we’re doing right now.
In fact, the Energy Information Agency says that low oil prices may occur under certain conditions, and our landowners, indigenous peoples, and environmentalists in both Canada and the U.S. are currently hard at work battling tar sands pipelines in Canada and other parts of the U.S. We hope Secretary Kerry will give weighty consideration to this “scenario,” as we are dedicated to making it a reality.
President Obama, you have all you need to stand up and protect our communities and wildlife from the dangerous Keystone XL pipeline and inspire the world through your leadership – it’s time to just say NO to KXL.