Speaking on Keith Olbermann’s Countdown, environmental writer and activist McKibben called the Keystone XL Pipeline protests “the largest civil disobedience action in the environmental movement in decades.”
Indeed, since the protests against the Keystone XL Pipeline in front of the White House began last week, 220 people have been arrested. And as the action continues this week, major news outlets are picking up on the story: CBS, The New Yorker, Reuters, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, Politico and numerous others have all run stories on the civil disobedience against the tar sands pipeline.
And as McKibben and others sat in jail, The New York Times also published an op-ed on Sunday against the proposed 1,700 mile Keystone XL pipeline that would bring carbon-intensive, environmentally-disastrous tar sands crude from Canada to the Gulf Coast:
It projects that Canada will double its current tar sands production over the next decade to more than 1.8 million barrels a day. That rate will mean cutting down some 740,000 acres of boreal forest — a natural carbon reservoir. Extracting oil from tar sands is also much more complicated than pumping conventional crude oil out of the ground. It requires steam-heating the sands to produce a petroleum slurry, then further dilution.
One result of this process, the ministry says, is that greenhouse gas emissions from the oil and gas sector as a whole will rise by nearly one-third from 2005 to 2020 — even as other sectors are reducing emissions. Canada still hopes to meet the overall target it agreed to at Copenhagen in 2009 — a 17 percent reduction from 2005 levels by 2020. If it falls short, as seems likely, tar sands extraction will bear much of the blame.
The protests continue today, with many more expected to be arrested.
Here’s the story of another concerned citizen — Tyson from the University of Nebraska, who came to DC to “stand with Randy,” a mid-western farmer who raised concerns about the environmental impact of the Keystone pipeline from the beginning:
You can find more stories about the protesters here.
Below are old comments from the earlier Facebook commenting system:
Thanks for pointing out the destruction of boreal forest in the Tar Sands area, an impact not even calculated in the enormous Tar Sands emissions burden (it’s in a separate land use category per IPCC protocols). Environment Canada keeps fudging the data by revising their forestry emissions downward, now less than 200 million tons of CO2 a year (still a big number).
The 74,000 acres of clearcut forest a year from expanding the Tar Sands is bad enough, but how about this: 1.9 million acres a year are logged in the Canadian Boreal, 90% by clearcutting them. This is a tragedy for wildlife, weather stabilization, and long term sequestration capacity. Northern forests regrow very slowly, and will never regain their current level of diversity and carbon content after logging. Most of the trees are consumed in the US for paper towels, catalogs, packaging, and two by fours. All of these products are unnecessary. A carbon price that also applies to industrial forestry caused emissions is badly needed. Pressure on Canada has to come from the outside- as in the US, timber interests have purchased provincial and national legislators.
Leif Erik Knutsen · Top Commenter
The NW has lost all but a small fraction of its virgin forests and the majority of that is in National Parks. These magnificent forests will never be seen by man again. Think not? Keystone Species that make these forests possible become extinct. It take upward of a thousand years to grow a mature spruce, ceder or fir tree. Probably 10 times that to grow a mature forest. With climate changing on the order of decades forests fit for today’s local climate must travel many km for appropriate conditions even within a century.
It is all very sad… Very sad…
A movement that will grow and grow. I hope Mc Kibben is right about Obama however- deciding not to allow the pipeline to be built. Obama has disappointed so many of us. If he does put his signature to this- then it means the climate is now signed, sealed- and gone.
My most recent article on the proposed pipeline:
“Keystone XL: A Pipeline to Europe?”
The Times ran a good op-ed, but on the news side the Times is not covering the protests.
Thank goodness this finally broke! Vindication for heroes!
Jeffrey Davis · Top Commenter
Thank you, Protestors.