Scientists call on President to reject the Keystone XL pipeline

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Eighteen of the nation’s top climate scientists released a letter to President Obama today urging him to say no to the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. "The year of review that you asked for on the project made it clear exactly how pressing the climate issue really is," they wrote.

350.org

For immediate release
 January 15, 2013

Nation’s Top Climate Scientists Urge President Obama to Reject Keystone XL Pipeline

OAKLAND CA -- Eighteen of the nation’s top climate scientists released a letter to President Obama today urging him to say no to the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

“Eighteen months ago some of us wrote you about the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, explaining why in our opinion its construction ran counter to both national and planetary interests,"  wrote the scientists. "Nothing that has happened since has changed that evaluation; indeed, the year of review that you asked for on the project made it clear exactly how pressing the climate issue really is."

Indeed the past year has shown that climate change is here. A few months after Superstorm Sandy flooded parts of the Northeast, NOAA announced last week that the average temperature for 2012 was 55.3 degrees Fahrenheit, 3.2 degrees above normal and a full degree higher than the previous warmest year recorded -- 1988.

The State Department is expected to soon release its supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS) required for the northern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline. The department’s previous pipeline EIS downplayed climate risks by arguing that the tar sands would be developed with or without Keystone XL and therefore the project had no responsibility for the additional greenhouse gas emissions that come from burning tar sands oil.

But two of Canada's largest banks, TD Economics and CIBC, have recently said that without added capacity, "Canada's oil industry is facing a serious challenge to its long-term growth" and that “Canada needs pipe — and lots of it — to avoid the opportunity cost of stranding over a million barrels a day of potential crude oil growth.”

The Obama Administrations has promised action on climate change but if KXL is approved, the Administration would be actively supporting and encouraging the growth of an industry which has demonstrably serious effects on climate.

Thousands of concerned citizens will come to Washington, DC on February 17th, President's Day weekend, to oppose the Keystone XL pipeline. Rally information is at www.350.org/presidentsday.

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Full text of the letter:

Dear Mr. President,

You take office for the second time at a critical moment. As you may know, the U.S. has just recorded the hottest year in its history, beating the old mark by a full degree; the same year that saw the deep Midwest drought, and the fury of Hurricane Sandy, also witnessed the rapid and unprecedented melt of the Arctic ice pack.

If we are to restrain the rise in the planet's temperature, it will require strong action from, among others, the planet's sole superpower. Some of that work will be difficult, requiring the cooperation of Congress. But other steps are relatively easy.

Eighteen months ago some of us wrote you about the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, explaining why in our opinion its construction ran counter to both national and planetary interests. Nothing that has happened since has changed that evaluation; indeed, the year of review that you asked for on the project made it clear exactly how pressing the climate issue really is.

We hope, as scientists, that you will demonstrate the seriousness of your climate convictions by refusing to permit Keystone XL; to do otherwise would be to undermine your legacy.

Thank you,

James Hansen
Research Scientist
The International Research Institute for Climate and Society
The Earth Institute, Columbia University
 
Ralph Keeling 
Director
Scripps CO2 Program Scripps Institution of Oceanography
 
John Harte
Professor of Ecosystem Sciences
University of California
 
Jason E. Box
Professor
Byrd Polar Research Center
 
John Abraham
Associate Professor, School of Engineering
University of St. Thomas
 
Ken Caldeira
Senior Scientist. Department of Global Ecology
Carnegie Institution
 
Michael MacCracken
Chief Scientist for Climate Change Programs
Climate Institute
 
Michael E. Mann
Professor of Meteorology
Director, Earth System Science Center
The Pennsylvania State University
 
James McCarthy
Alexander Agassiz Professor of Biological Oceanography
Harvard University
 
Michael Oppenheimer
Albert G. Milbank Professor of Geosciences and International Affairs
Woodrow Wilson School and Department of Geosciences
Princeton University
 
Raymond T. Pierrehumbert
Louis Block Professor in the Geophysical Sciences
The University of Chicago
 
Richard Somerville
Distinguished Professor Emeritus and Research Professor
Scripps Institution of Oceanography
 
George M. Woodwell
Founder, Director Emeritus, and Senior Scientist
Woods Hole Research Center
 
Mauri Pelto
Department of Environmental Science
Nichols College
 
David Archer
Professor, Department of Geophysical Sciences
The University of Chicago
 
Dr. Ted Scambos
Lead Scientist, National Snow and Ice Data Center
University of Colorado at Boulder
 
Terry L. Root
Senior Fellow
Stanford University
 
Alan Robock, Professor II 
Distinguished Professor, Department of Environmental Sciences
Rutgers University
 

Affiliations are listed for identification purposes only.

A few of our numerous earlier posts on KXL:

Jim Hansen arrest at White House tar sands pipeline protest: “We had a dream”

Lisa Jackson EPA resignation a refusal to support Obama Keystone XL pipeline decision?

Scientists urge State Dept to consider climate change in new Keystone XL pipeline review

At Netroots Nation, activists vs. the ‘inevitable’ tar sands pipeline

Still drunk on oil: Obama’s speech in Cushing

Keystone XL tar sands pipeline demonstrators surround White House - pipeline permit decision blocked until 2013

Climate Science Watch comment to the State Department on the Keystone XL pipeline permit

 

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