Many of us have held the pessimistic view that
bitumen from Canadian Athabasca oil sands will soon
flow through a pipeline (the Keystone XL pipeline)
into our area, and by doing so will provide a fuel
that produces four times as much carbon dioxide as
petroleum from most other sources. Monied interests
crying "jobs" have pushed this, even though there will be
only a few short-term jobs in Texas. Remarkably, some
labor unions have bought into this flawed viewpoint.
The intense drought in the middle of our country
last year, and the destruction caused by Hurricane
Sandy in the Northeast have brought the issue home
and changed the views of many citizens.
To his credit, President Barack Obama mentioned
climate change in his second inaugural address. He
said ".We will respond to the threat of climate change,
knowing that the failure to do so would betray our
children and future generations. Some may still deny
the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires and crippling
drought and more powerful storms. ." Does this mean
that he is about to make his rejection (on January 18,
2012) of the application for the pipeline permanent?
Of course not! But it does raise some hope that
President Obama will do something to restrict the flow
of Athabasca bitumen. At least we know that he does
recognize the problem of climate change, and he no
longer needs the support of monied interests to get
We must not be naive and think that we can relax,
however. We must keep pressure on the President
and Congress. After all, there is a great deal of money
for lobbying by those who have a vested interest in
promoting the XL pipeline and denial of climate change.
We must continue to lobby by our letters and protest
Keep hoping that we are about to see the climate
(physical and political) change for the better.