Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Dalai Lama, and seven other Nobel Peace Prize laureates have written to President Obama to stop the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Obama was awarded the prize in 2009, in part for playing a “more constructive role in meeting the great climatic challenges the world is confronting.” In their letter, the humanitarian leaders from around the globe challenged Obama to live up to his promises and prevent the climate pollution that would come with the construction of a pipeline to feed Canada’s tar sands to Texas refineries:
The night you were nominated for president, you told the world that under your leadership — and working together — the rise of the oceans will begin to slow and the planet will begin to heal. You spoke of creating a clean energy economy. This is a critical moment to make good on that pledge, and make a lasting contribution to the health and well being of everyone of this planet.
The letter was signed by nine Nobel Peace Prize laureates: Mairead Maguire and Betty Williams of Ireland, who shared the prize in 1976, Adolfo Pérez Esquivel of Argentina (1980), Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa (1984), His Holiness the Dalai Lama (1989), Rigoberta Menchú Tum of Guatemala (1992), José Ramos-Horta of East Timor (1996), Jody Williams of the United States (1997), and Shirin Ebadi of Iran (2003).
“We cannot accept the growing threat posed by climate change, which could forever damage the world that we pass on to our children — sowing conflict and famine, destroying coastlines and emptying cities,” Obama said when he received the Nobal Peace Prize. “And that’s why all nations must now accept their share of responsibility for transforming the way that we use energy.”