It's been one month since the climate movement won a significant delay on the Keystone XL pipeline. Since then, the oil industry and their political and media backers have gotten increasingly desperate:
- Oil companies tried to ram a vote on Keystone through the U.S. Senate. Last week, that effort collapsed in disarray and finger-pointing among the fossil fuel industry's biggest political boosters.
- TransCanada, the Canadian company behind Keystone, even resorted to threats to sue the U.S. government under NAFTA. Early this month, they were forced to disavow that outrageous tactic.
- Pro-Keystone commentators are truly grasping at straws, including claiming that President Obama is delaying a decision to pave the way for a government takeover of the energy sector,1 and arguing that it's the poor, under-resourced oil industry—and not the environmental movement—that’s the real underdog in the fight over the pipeline.2
These bottom-of-the-barrel tactics signal that fossil fuel corporations will do anything to avoid facing up to the view that one prominent analyst voiced this month: "We have been of the opinion for nearly a year now that Keystone XL is dead."3This delay means another year that tar sands oil stays in the ground, instead of flowing through the pipeline. This delay is another nail in the coffin of this disastrous project. And you—the incredible grassroots tide of resolve and determination—are the ones who made this happen.
Keystone would have been just another routine dirty energy infrastructure project if not for public pressure—like the unprecedented 2.5 million public comments submitted into the approvals process. People all along the pipeline route, from Alberta to the Gulf Coast—especially Indigenous communities and farming communities—mobilized against the project.
Another key factor has been the threat of massive civil disobedience if President Obama approves the pipeline—one veteran environmental campaigner called it the "sharpest arrow in the quiver" of the Keystone opposition movement. Almost 100,000 people signed Keystone XL Pledge of Resistance, committing to take direct action if the administration lights the fuse of the continent’s biggest carbon bomb.
So while we're proud that the movement won a major delay, the struggle is far from over. Here at Rainforest Action Network, we're staying vigilant on Keystone. We're continuing to hone the cutting edge of the climate movement by training committed activists. And we're taking fast, strategic action to block dirty energy deals.
Thank you for all you've done.
1. “Obama Blocks Keystone To Start Energy Takeover,” Investor’s Business Daily, May 13, 2014 (http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials-perspective/051314-700702-obama-wants-energy-markets-fossil-fuels-under-government-heel.htm)
2. “Mainstream media don't know Big Green has deeper pockets than Big Oil,” Washington Examiner, May 13, 2014 (http://washingtonexaminer.com/mainstream-media-dont-know-big-green-has-deeper-pockets-than-big-oil/article/2548405)
3. “The Keystone Pipeline is Quickly Becoming Obsolete,” Business Insider, May 7, 2014 (http://www.businessinsider.com/the-keystone-pipeline-is-quickly-becoming-obsolete-2014-5)
Overall, there is strong evidence that populations can acclimatize to warmer climates via a range of behavioral, physiological, and technological adaptations.I'm sure the folks in Texas suffering from the historic drought will be happy to hear that. If you need further evidence of whom the Chamber works for, consider this: It sided with Chevron in the Amazon pollution lawsuit. While international law experts criticized a U.S. federal judge for barring the enforcement of the $18 billion verdict against Chevron, the Chamber had this to say about the oil giant's appeal:
At bottom, this appeal involves a carefully tailored solution in a case containing extraordinary, unrebutted evidence of a plan to shake down a United States corporation.More recently, the Chamber has taken a stand in favor of smog, aka ground level ozone, by opposing tighter pollution standards. Having beaten down climate and clean energy bills, the Chamber is now working with its friends in Congress to blanket-bomb decades of green achievements, from the Clean Air Act to the EPA itself. The Partnership to
I don’t even really know what that means, alter your physiology. Grow gills? I don’t know. But I can tell you this. I am too old to change my physiology and you all are too good looking. But I will adapt my behavior. Every day now I will roll out of bed and go to work fighting [the Chamber's agenda].... We’re going to adapt our behavior all right. We’re going to adapt our behavior now to fight on every front. I’m sorry if that sounds aggressive, but there we are.Do you want to join the fight against the Chamber's agenda? If so, here are some ways to take action:
- Sign the petition asking President Obama to block the Keystone XL pipeline expansion. Although the State Department is ready to give the project a green light, the President has the final word; he can approve or stop the pipeline with a signature.
- Support and spread the word about the Tar Sands Action. For two weeks (until September 2), over 2,000 activists will gather in Washington, D.C. to protest the Keystone XL. The event began on August 20 with 70 arrests in front of the White House (but you don't have to get arrested to participate).
- Own a business, or know someone who does? Tell America that the U.S. Chamber doesn't speak for you. We can't take away the Chamber's money, but we can undermine its credibility. So far, over 6,000 businesses have signed 350.org's statement opposing the Chamber.
Tell President Obama to keep the Keystone XL oil pipeline out of our backyards. Everyone in North America needs to be aware of this dangerous pipeline proposal, so please share this petition with your friends and family. Make sure they know that the opportunity to stop Keystone XL is right now.
you can register to join the action at tarsandsaction.org.
The Kampar is among the deepest and most valuable peat forest ecosystems in the world. Not only does it provide carbon storage, it is customary land that supports the livelihoods of local communities and it serves as critical habitat for endangered Sumatran tigers and many other species. Although RAN hasn’t seen the details behind this announcement, it’s likely that the area in question should be illegal to clear in the first place. Any further development in this or other parts of the Kampar and neighboring peatlands and natural forests should certainly be subject to the moratorium on new licenses due to be adopted in January as part of the agreement on reducing deforestation and forest degradation between the Governments of Indonesia and Norway. While we support the conservation of the Kampar, this project in no way makes up for the tremendous amount of damage that APP and its affiliates are having on communities rainforests and peatlands across Indonesia. This area represents a small proportion of the remaining natural forests and peatlands in their land bank and without action to protect other threatened areas in the Kampar and elsewhere, the area’s values could be lost and any emissions reductions rendered meaningless due to leakage. APP’s conservation efforts are a drop in the bucket compared to the destruction that their standard business practices are causing across Indonesia. Under no circumstances should APP be praised or compensated for doing something that they should have been doing in the first place. A critical question that needs to be answered in this situation, is whether or not local communities and governments know that this is happening and have a meaningful role in decision-making. If we don’t know that, it’s unclear where benefits will flow from this deal and how durable it will be. RAN maintains that if these types of conservation projects are to be successful, they must have the free, prior and informed consent of local communities and these communities must participate and receive an equitable share of the benefits. What’s really good here is that the Ministry of Forests is stepping up to change the designation of this land use from “clear and convert” to “restore and protect.” If it’s done in the right way, involving communities and avoiding leakage, it could be an important precedent for Indonesia’s government. If Indonesia is going to live up to their agreement with Norway, the government must re-designate licenses somehow and APP holds a lot of concessions with peat and natural forests. We urge the government to involve local communities, settle land claims and, as they appear to be doing with this agreement, and to reallocate all remaining undeveloped peatlands and natural forests to restoration/conservation areas. Finally, this project is a great example of why, before they package carbon as a commodity, private carbon traders should adopt fundamental social and environmental safeguards and require their clients to verify that they’re not involved in the destruction of peatlands and natural forests across all their land holdings.Thought the jury's still out on how this project will land- given APP's track record of deception, corruption and destruction- don't hold your breath.