NO KXL!!! — Kicking The Habit Edition — No. 12


Don’t delay: make a public comment against the Keystone XL pipeline. Here are a few pre-composed comments which you can copy & paste (if you’re in a hurry) or simply paraphrase (if you have the the time and are feeling creative). Then do it again. And again.

The oil industry’s sales pitch for developing the Tar Sands is full of reassurances.
“There won’t be any environmental damage, and if there is, we’ll fix it.” “CO2 emissions will be trapped and sequestered.” “We need the energy to power our civilization.” “Our economy needs the stimulus.” “Nothing can possibly go wrong.”

It’d all be very soothing, if only it were true. If only these fossil fuel companies had a track record of living up to their promises. If only their history of malfeasance, mendacity, venality, incompetence and corruption didn’t give the lie to their assertions. If only our politics wasn’t dominated and controlled by the financial power of these same multinational corporations.

Our society is addicted to the ostensibly cheap energy provided by oil and coal, and the platitudes of their purveyors sound disturbingly like a heavy smoker dismissing a cardiologist’s warnings. We’d be better off overcoming our addictions — and a good place to begin is by refusing approval of the Keystone XL pipeline.

Thank you sir. May I have another?

A phrase we hear often from conservative politicians is “nobody anticipated.” For example, “nobody anticipated” New Orleans’ failing levees, or the Iraq invasion’s mishandling, or the failure rates of oil pipelines, or that slashing public works funding leads to major infrastructure collapses. And nobody anticipated pine beetle infestations, crop failures, flooding, drought, newly resurgent tropical diseases, or any of global climate change’s other repercussions around the world.

“Nobody,” but climate scientists, whose reputations (unlike those of politicians and media figures) hinge on the accuracy and reliability of their predictions. Climatologists have been warning us for decades that our fossil-fuel addiction would bring disastrous results, and they’ve only erred in underestimating just how disastrous those results would be. If we are to survive and prosper as a society, as a civilization, and as a species, we need to put less energy into ideological posturing and more into research, analysis, and forecasting.

And we need to heed the warnings of climate scientists like James Hansen, whose analysis of the Keystone XL’s impact on climate change is unequivocal and terrifying.

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