The Wilderness Society Statement on Keystone XL Delay

Nov 10, 2011

The following statement from David Moulton, director of climate policy for The Wilderness Society, is in response to the Obama administration delaying action on the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.

“The Wilderness Society welcomes the Administration’s decision to slow down the Keystone XL pipeline juggernaut long enough to address the looming catastrophe of climate change.  While the focus of the State Department’s decision to “seek additional information” involved the impact of the route through Nebraska, the statement specifically provided that “among the relevant issues that would be considered are environmental concerns (including climate change), energy security, economic impacts, and foreign policy.

“Last week, the Department of Energy announced that in 2010 we saw the largest ever recorded year-to-year jump in the emissions of harmful carbon pollution.  This rate is above the worst case projections made by the Nobel-prize winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change when it issued its last large report on global warming in 2007.   At the time it forecast global temperatures rising between 4 and 11 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century with the best estimate at 7.5 degrees.

“Climate change is hurtling at planet earth like an asteroid.  We can see it coming, and we know it is going to be a disaster when it hits.  But with climate change, unlike asteroids, the world knows how to take evasive action – by reducing the burning of fossil fuels and increasing the use of clean renewable energy.  Keystone XL takes us in the wrong direction and would impose an environmental insult on our planet from which our children may never recover.

“Yesterday Australia, a country highly dependent on coal and with some of the highest per capital emissions of any developed country, voted both to cap its emissions and tax carbon.  Today the White House announced that Keystone XL will not receive any early approval.  The climate asteroid is still moving towards us very fast, but at least some people in power are beginning to think about how to avoid it.”