Blog: Why Keystone Sludge Must Not 'Borrow' America

Why you should join the Feb. 17 march in L.A. to protest the permitting of the Keystone XL Pipeline.

“We can be the generation that finally frees America from the tyranny of oil.”
— President Barack Obama

I am strongly opposed to the approval of the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline. And, brothers and sisters, you should be, too—passionately, adamantly, with the urgency of fleeing a burning building, with your child in your arms.

There will be a march against permitting Keystone XL Pipeline to “borrow” America, on Feb. 17 at City Hall in Los Angeles.*  

It will be in support of the largest climate march in history—in Washington D.C. on the same day.

I hope I can convince you to join the local march, or at least explain why it is so important to me. Here is why I will be there:

Keystone XL of Canada wants to pump extremely “dirty” tar sands thousands of miles, through our country, to be exported overseas. 

Producing and processing tar sands oil results in roughly 14 percent more greenhouse gas emissions than the average oil used in the U.S. Click here to read more about that in a Scientific American article.

Looking at the historical records of carbon-dioxide levels and global temperatures, we see a strong connection between the two. Temperatures have rapidly increased. Climate scientists have carefully looked for the reasons: Is it changing Earth orbits, sunspots, solar intensity, cosmic rays, water vapor, volcanoes, Earth’s “wobble” on its axis, etc.?

Answer: For our current warming, increased carbon-dioxide levels (up almost 40 percent) emerge as by far the main factor in resetting the earth’s “thermostat." Click here to read a comparison of "Is it Fact or Fraud?"

We have known about carbon-dioxide's warming effects for 116 years (first published by Svante Arrhenius), so it is not such a surprise. One can easily demonstrate its warming ability in a high school science lab.

So, how would using the Keystone tar sands effect us? Is it a boon, or a boondoggle? Click here and decide for yourself whether Dr. James Hansen, chief climate scientist at NASA, is right or wrong about the arguments in his New York Times oped, "Game Over for the Climate.

"Moving to tar sands, one of the dirtiest, most carbon-intensive fuels on the planet, is a step in exactly the opposite direction, indicating either that governments don't understand the situation or that they just don't give a damn," writes Dr. Hansen. "People who care should draw the line."

“If Canada proceeds, and we do nothing, it will be game over for the climate," he adds.

To see what a sea level rise looks like, check out the global sea level rise map by clicking here. The link will take you to a website where you can explore what, for example, a 40-fot sea level rise looks like in maps of New York, Venice, San Francisco, New Orleans, the Netherlands, the East Coast, etc.

And of course, it is the poor who will be most hurt. So, this is also a social justice issue.

We are currently at 390 ppm (parts per million) of carbon-dioxide. If only 50 percent of the tar sands were exploited, carbon-dioxide would increase by about 62 ppm, bringing us past the "red line" of 450 ppm, where our climate would likely be out of control and nothing we do could stop the tragic consequences for us all. 

Exploiting the Canadian tar sands would also gobble up boreal forests the size of Florida and destroy their ability to take up carbon-dioxide.

Some in Congress will tell you America will benefit greatly from Keystone. They say it will reduce the price of oil. Actually, it may raise the price of Midwest oil, according to the Christian Science Monitor.

Some will tell you we need this oil because it will create jobs. Will it? Not much.  Not only are those jobs numbers exaggerated*** but far more jobs are created in stimulating Green Energy.**

Some will say it will increase “energy security,” and there is no reason not to approve Keystone. (Yet I feel far less secure, looking at Keystone.)

That is like a junkie saying, “I would feel so much better if I could get my heroin locally.”

Tell Mr. Obama we just don’t want to gamble that virtually every climate scientist—and our own citizens’ experience with a pattern of off the charts drought, storms, forest fires, sea level rise, and rapid melting of ancient ice—is wrong.

Tell Mr. Obama we strongly support his views given in his recent inaugural speech.

Come to the march against the Keystone XL Pipeline gathering on Feb. 17 at City Hall.* Me? I’m going to take the Gold Line to Union Station and walk from there. 


* Sunday, Feb. 17, 1 p.m.

Starting Place: Olvera Street, the southwest side of Paseo Do La Plaza.

Destination: City Hall, South Side Steps.

** About 136,000 people work in the coal industry, according to the National Mining Association. However, the number of green employees far exceeds this—in each of three states along. For example, New York has more than 185,000 green workers, already bypassing the national coal employee numbers. On top of that, Texas has upwards of 144,000 green employees, and California—not surprisingly—has a whopping 318,000-plus green laborers.
U.S. Green Technology (http://s.tt/1wvTY)

*** In Pipe Dreams? Jobs Gained, Jobs Lost by the Construction of Keystone XL, The Global Labor Institute says more jobs could be destroyed than created by the pipeline.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

jayres January 28, 2013 at 06:40 AM
Tar sands oil is going to be exploited regardless of the XL Pipeline. The only question is whether or not we create American union jobs by building the pipeline or China makes a deal with Canada. A pipeline would create about 16,000 jobs for two years, and 800 jobs longterm, as well as increase the GDP of the states in the pipeline's path by 3.1 Billion dollars and up to 6.1 Billion dollars in increased business sales. Or we can cut ourselves out of the deal, China can sweep in and utilize those resources, and the environmental impact with respect to global warming is unchanged with or without the pipeline. So what effect would this protest have on saving the world from climate change?
Jan Freed January 31, 2013 at 08:08 PM
The Cornell study ( Pipe Dreams? Jobs Gained, Jobs Lost by the Construction of Keystone XL) cited only 2,500-4,600 temporary jobs. If we shut down Keystone, it is doubtful China will get the oil. Getting the oil to the Far East first requires building a $5.5 billion, 730-mile pipeline from landlocked Alberta over a series of mountains to the coast of northern British Columbia. About 220 tankers a year would then navigate some of Canada’s most scenic yet treacherous waters to complete the trip"' And Canada's opposition is huge, as great as ours. We cannot "wait for China"; we must act. But the main point is that the environmental and human costs of burning Keystone oil would dwarf any small gains, if any, to the economy of permitting the pipeline. Just one more Hurricane Sandy than "normal" has a $70 billion price tag; one more Katrina than "normal"? $100 billion; one more Midwest style drought than "normal"? $50 billion, etc. etc. beyond imagining....And that is what would happen
A Leon February 06, 2013 at 01:51 AM
Most of the jobs created would be for clean up workers, oncologists, radiologists, and of course, those who work at mortuaries... we don't want or need those jobs. I just installed my solar panels a couple of months ago and the solar company cannot instal them fast enough as they cannot hire workers fast enough. The jobs are to be had in clean energy, anything else is just nonsense!


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