April 4 News: Hansen On ‘The Pipeline To Disaster’, Keystone XL Approval Would Mean ‘Obama’s Achievements Will Fade’ Hansen op-ed: “The president stands at a fork in the road: Rejecting the pipeline will show the world we are serious and determined to be on the right side of history. Approving it will signal we are too entrenched with business-as-usual to do what’s right by the people, planet and future generations.” [LA Times]

Once we get a price on carbon that makes fossil fuels pay their true cost, the tar sands will start to shut down. But if the pipeline opens the big spigot in the meantime, it will be difficult to avoid great harm.

The science on climate change has been in for a quarter of a century. There are no more mixed messages, just catastrophe after catastrophe….

All of President Obama‘s achievements will fade if he doesn’t act swiftly and decisively on climate change. Rejecting Keystone is the first step.

The lobbying team hired by the government of Alberta to push through approval of the Keystone pipeline comes from both sides of the aisle. [DeSmogBlog]

Former Obama deputy press secretary Bill Burton said yesterday that the president’s decision on Keystone would not be based on polling: “If the president was just driven by the polls, then he would never had approved the auto bailout.” [Washington Post]

Juliet Eilperin’s Q&A on Keystone for those still getting up to speed on what the pipeline is and means. [Washington Post]

ExxonMobil got a “no fly zone” imposed over Mayflower, Arkansas, where its Pegasus pipeline spilled thousands of barrels of tar sands oil. [DeSmogBlog]

Scientists warn that climate change will double the risk of wildfires in American forests — to 20 million acres burned a year by 2050. [Denver Post]

In North Carolina, a house bill to repeal the state’s renewable energy standard passed out of committee despite bipartisan opposition. [News & Observer]

Vice Admiral Dennis McGinn on why we should be increasing and strengthening RPS policies, not repealing them. [Politico]

Crippling drought in the corn belt has also dried up some ethanol suppliers. [Grist]

An extreme rainstorm has left 54 dead in Argentina, because as the regional governor put it, “it was a deluge without historical precedent,” so people were unprepared. [EFE]

How to talk about polar bears: anecdotes don’t trump science, they’re threatened by climate change, they won’t adapt, and they do matter. [Media Matters]

21 Responses to April 4 News: Hansen On ‘The Pipeline To Disaster’, Keystone XL Approval Would Mean ‘Obama’s Achievements Will Fade’

  1. Mike Roddy says:

    We know that Tar Sands oil will be sold to overseas markets, so political influence is composed of Canadian producers, investors from the US, and Koch refineries in Texas. It should be easy for Obama to say no, since there is no public benefit and lots of potential damage, but he’s still “deliberating”.

    This tells us how embedded the oil companies are in DC, and how difficult our task is. If a couple of Birchers like the Kochs and a few Canadians can pull all these strings, how much juice to Exxon and Chevron have? This explains why a carbon tax is verboten, and why Obama and the Democrats want to pretend to solve the challenge of global survival by talking about it.

    It’s pitiful, and we’d better think of something quick.

  2. fj says:

    James Hansen could not have said it any more direct.

    Any plans for the future that do not fully address climate change are worthless.

  3. fj says:

    The level of outcry against Keystone XL must be deafening.

  4. David Goldstein says:

    A PEW foundation poll found that a majority – and it isn’t even very close – of Americans approve the Keystone XL. It really is the perfect tragedy; nobody is forcing us, we are doing it all by ourselves.

  5. John says:

    I can’t agree with Hansen’s grandstanding – rejecting Keystone would be a wonderful but meaningless statement. The oil is coming out of the ground, it would be best to leave it there, but it’s coming out one way another.
    I would prefer that we handle it here in the US where we have a semblance of regulation.
    The choice is to load it into tankers and ship it to China.
    At least if we handle the oil there might be a little less harm than shipping it elsewhere.

  6. Mike Roddy says:

    translation: Let’s give up.

  7. Daniel Coffey says:

    Shale gas, natural gas, oil, coal, and every form of fossil fuel survive and florish so long as there are no substitutes in place. When the environmental community finally realizes that all the rules and protests and objections and delays posed against large-scale solar PV, wind and geothermal are merely sustaining the status quo and ensuring profits for these companies, maybe they will change their strategy. However, shopworn environmental strategies of just say “no” are so predictable, those who wish to manipulate environmentalists know exactly how to do it, and how to distract so as to sustain the status quo.

    Take a look at the history of big money from natural gas fracking interests to Sierra Club and how the “bridge fuel” became a darling of the solar-on-rooftop advocates.

    It’s time for sensible people to pay attention to the vulnerabilities of the fossil fuel industries, not just the same old tried and true mediocrity.

    As for the tax-carbon crowd, you have not thought this through. Odds are you are not familiar with how tax policy gets played and thus fall neatly into the traps set by Wall Street and its allies.

  8. fj says:

    While we must immediately start reducing emissions and here’s a long list how Keystone XL approval will make things much worse and amplify climate disaster:

  9. fj says:

    This type of ambivalence is extremely dangerous like the prior administration’s ambivalence immediately before 9/11 and a large part of the American population before the 4 trillion dollar Iraq War.

  10. fj says:

    The effect of this is worse than both combined.

  11. Joan Savage says:

    ENSO-neutral conditions are favored into the Northern Hemisphere summer 2013.

    Given the trouble we’ve had in La-Niña and ENSO-neutral conditions in recent years, I am grateful for, but don’t take huge comfort in, more reprieve from El-Niño.

  12. John says:

    No, I don’t say give up. I just say look at the reality of what’s there and what is to come.
    That oil is coming out of the sand, come hell or high water. Notwithstanding, both hell and high water will result, but if in any way we can mitigate the impact by processing in America than it is the better way to go as opposed to processing where there is a smidgen less concern for the environment.
    The only way that climate change will be stopped is through rational, intelligent discussion that results in tangible reductions in our dependence on carbon. Screaming that the sky is on fire – or will be- might be correct, but scare mongering has not worked in the past and won’t work now.
    Keep the discussions real try to explain just what a 4 degree world might look like and persuade people that we need to change. Only when the people understand what is to come will they be willing to consider changing.
    And outsourcing our pollution to China by rejecting the Keystone pipeline doesn’t help.

  13. fj says:

    Wrong. Keystone XL will accelerate outsourcing our pollution to China.

    There is a long list how approval of Keystone XL will amplify climate disaster.

  14. fj says:

    Fear and anger are very rational responses to danger and which is very real in this case.

    Not alerting people to this immediate danger is not rational and amplifies the danger.

  15. fj says:

    Actually, scare mongering works very well.

    Witness what the prior administration did.

    This is not scare mongering. This is facing reality.

  16. fj says:

    Much better to explain what is happening now than what will happen in the future when it is 4 degrees C.

    Quite likely a lot more people stop smoking when they are told they are dying from lung cancer.

  17. fj says:

    Flood zones are rapidly expanding.

    Flood insurance is changing dramatically and costing a lot more.

    The exposure of people in flood zones is accelerating and is more than ever.

  18. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    When you relentlessly brainwash people, from childhood, into the habits of greedy, unquenchable, materialism, using every psychological technique developed by the MSM, advertising and entertainment Molochs, and you suppress, ridicule or vilify the faint utterances of the realists, you end up with thoroughly indoctrinated turkeys just slobbering in anticipation of Christmas.

  19. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Big Green sold out aeons ago. They are too scared to confront Big Business because their contributions will atrophy, and those lucrative ‘consultancies’ and appointments as ‘environmental advisors’ will disappear. It’s basic behaviour in materialist societies. The incorruptible are marginalised, slandered as ‘extremists’ and denied publicity, while the collaborators receive every consideration. Negative evolution, the survival of the slimiest, in action.