March 11 News: NY Times Editorial Makes The Climate Case Against Keystone

This morning’s editorial in the New York Times says the overriding reason President Obama should reject the Keystone XL pipeline is climate change. [New York Times]

“The State Department’s latest environmental assessment of the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline makes no recommendation about whether President Obama should approve it. Here is ours. He should say no, and for one overriding reason: A president who has repeatedly identified climate change as one of humanity’s most pressing dangers cannot in good conscience approve a project that — even by the State Department’s most cautious calculations — can only add to the problem.”

It goes on to say that the assessment

“… fails to consider the cumulative year-after-year effect of steadily increasing production from a deposit that is estimated to hold 170 billion barrels of oil that can be recovered with today’s technology and may hold 10 times that amount altogether. It is these long-term consequences that Mr. Obama should focus on. Mainstream scientists are virtually unanimous in stating that the one sure way to avert the worst consequences of climate change is to decarbonize the world economy by finding cleaner sources of energy while leaving more fossil fuels in the ground. Given its carbon content, tar sands oil should be among the first fossil fuels we decide to leave alone.”

India’s breakneck pace of industrialisation is causing a public health crisis with 80–120,000 premature deaths and 20m new asthma cases a year due to air pollution from coal power plants, a Greenpeace report warns. [UK Guardian]

API and the Chamber of Commerce will be coordinating rallies and running “grassroots” campaigns across the country following the draft State department review of Keystone. [The Hill]

A new study finds that climate change is causing seasons in the Arctic to be more like those in southern regions. [Ottawa Citizen]

Navy Admiral Samuel J. Locklear III, Chief of US Pacific forces, said significant upheaval related to the warming planet his biggest worry.[Boston Globe]

Wonkblog asks ‘Can the world fight climate change and energy poverty at the same time?’ and finds the two goals are in tension with each other, but can be done. [Washington Post]

Two years after the Fukishima accident, the Union of Concerned Scientists has issued a report saying nearly one in six U.S. nuclear reactors experienced safety breaches last year, due in part to weak oversight. [Wall Street Journal]

Global climate change means portions of the Antarctic have less ice, which in turn means there’s less food to eat for Adelie penguins. [NBC News]

A study looking into the effectiveness of different batteries has found that the environmental savings from switching over may be negligible until better storage technology is developed. [Wired.co.uk]

A report in Nature Geoscience looked at rainfall data between 1979 and 2010 and found that the wet seasons were already clearly getting wetter while the dry seasons became drier. [Climate Central]