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An Open Letter to State Department Officials Responsible for a Keystone XL Decision

2 min. read

To: State Dept officials responsible for Keystone XL analysis and decision
From: Everyone concerned about our planet’s future

Recently, EcoNews published a piece about the Keystone XL Canadian tar sands export pipeline and why it completely fails President Obama’s climate test. It’s an important read for people with authority to do something about this issue – people like you, that is. Here are a few highlights:

  • According to Dr. Mark Jaccard of Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, “[t]here is no doubt that more pipelines carrying tar sands crude oil are an essential precondition to enabling increased development of tar sands production." That, in turn, is “not compatible with preventing the planet from high-risk levels of global warming.” In sum, according to Jaccard, “Keystone must not be approved if the goal is to avoid exceeding the 2ºC upper limit that scientists believe is the absolute maximum temperature increase compatible with avoiding more serious impacts of climate change.”
  • From Dr. John Abraham of the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, and co-founder of the Climate Science Rapid Response Team: “The Canadian tar sands oil that the Keystone XL pipeline would transport is the dirtiest of the dirty fuels, the worst of the worst.” Its expansion “would constitute a disastrous amount of CO2 being pumped into the atmosphere, which would lock us in to decades of high greenhouse gas emissions.” Approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, therefore, would effectively “negate” President Obama’s “otherwise excellent climate record” and become his “(negative) legacy, by locking us into long-term pollution that would be disastrous for the climate.”
  • Clare Demerse of the Pembina Institute, a Canadian sustainable energy think tank, explains that “the Keystone XL pipeline would make the economics of oil sands expansion more favorable,” resulting in additional greenhouse gas pollution “equivalent to adding over 4 million new cars a year to Canada’s roads.” Instead, Demerse argues, “a ‘no” to Keystone would tell oil sands companies, and Canada’s governments, that we have to start taking climate change more seriously to compete and prosper in a low-carbon future.”

The bottom line, again, is that the Keystone XL Canadian tar sands export pipeline – and tar sands development in general – badly flunks President Obama’s and any other rational person’s, climate test. For that reason, the U.S. government needs to reject this pipeline.

We urge those of you in the State Department who are charged with deciding whether the Keystone XL moves forward to read the EcoNews piece and to watch the Keystone summit video, in order to understand why you must not allow the Keystone XL project to move forward. That is, of course, if you want to be in line with President Obama’s and Secretary of State John Kerry’s positions on greenhouse gases and climate change, as well as with everything the science is telling us about climate change and what we must do to maintain a livable planet.

Thank you very much.

Scaling Green