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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR | Climate bomb must be stopped
To the editor:
Please help me save my daughter’s future and … our own also.
President Obama is about to make, arguably, the most important decision of his presidency and possibly in history. The decision is whether to approve the proposed XL Pipeline, which would connect the Alberta tar sands to refineries owned by the Koch brothers in Texas.
According to one of the world’s leading climatologists, NASA’s James Hansen, the tar sands are a “climate bomb” which, if allowed to reach its full potential, means “game over for the climate.” The XL pipeline is the fuse to that bomb. It is critical to our future that this bomb not go off.
Recently, the U.S. State Department determined that there will be no adverse impacts from allowing the pipeline because if there were no pipeline the material could be transported by rail. Let’s examine this decision.
The transport of oil by rail would cost $20 per barrel while transporting it via the pipeline would cost only $5 per barrel. This would be an incentive to use more oil resulting in significantly more CO2 released into the atmosphere at a time when we need to drastically reduce CO2 emissions. That’s an adverse impact.
Trains rarely derail, and when they do, the material is largely contained. Pipelines always leak and sometimes rupture spilling oil, contaminating rivers, soil and groundwater.
This pipeline encourages the development of Alberta’s Tar Sands. That is an adverse impact.
With 396 ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere and sea levels rising we are in phase two of the CO2 Crisis: Mitigation and Adaptation.
Prevention is no longer an option.
A shift to a fossil-free future is critically overdue. We’ve wasted two decades. According to the International Energy Agency, each year we delay adds $500 billion to the costs of dealing with its impacts.