Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Keystone XL Pipeline or not? We must say no to protect the world for our descendants

I urge everybody to read an excellent post by Steve Easterbrook, in which he writes a letter to President Obama, asking him to consider carefully before approving the Keystone Pipeline.

Easterbrook's post says it all. Making it easier to bring massive new fossil fuel resources to market will put us further on the wrong track regarding climate change.

We are in an awful dilemma. Economically, Albertans, Canadians and US residents will be much better off in the next 10-15 years if we can increase access to the huge oil sands resources. Our current economic troubles are caused, in large part, by the fact that we are at or nearing Peak Oil (where supply of oil can't be raised to meet new demand, so prices rise). Making it easier to exploit the Alberta resources would buy us more time.

However, the devastation to be caused by climate change and higher C02 levels (desertification in some areas, flooding in others, increased weather disasters caused by more intense storms, shifts in food productivity, mass migrations and conflicts caused by these factors, mass species extinctions, acidification of oceans) are an even more critical issue.

We need high oil prices to force investment in alternative energy sources, and we need to resist bringing high-CO2 energy sources to market. The oil sands are extra-high CO2 resources because so much energy is required to extract the oil.

My guess is that Obama will approve the pipeline, since the votes from people without jobs and affected by the recession will likely be greater in number than the votes from people who understand the real issues at stake. I respect Obama, but he is in a tight spot politically. I think he will end up making the 'wrong' decision. Mind you, if he loses next year's election, I shudder to think what might happen if the US Republican's regain the ability to freely make decisions on issues like this.

The only possible way forward is to have everybody spread the work about the issues at stake, so more of the general voting populace can have an influence on their politicians.

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